Home EntertainmentMusicConcert Announcement Heartless Bastards’ first album in 5 years out today; tour begins Sept 16

Heartless Bastards’ first album in 5 years out today; tour begins Sept 16

by Mick Lite
Acclaimed rock ’n’ roll band Heartless Bastards release A Beautiful Life today. The band’s sixth studio album and first new music in more than half a decade, A Beautiful Life arrives via Sweet Unknown Records/Thirty Tigers at all DSPs and as a limited edition hand-poured double LP and special merchandise available exclusively from the Sweet Unknown Records Official Store.
Heartless Bastards founder Erika Wennerstrom, elated to share the new record, says, “I’m so happy to finally share ‘A Beautiful Life’ with the world. I’m so proud of it. I worked with so many lovely and talented folks making this record. What an honor and privilege it is to have the opportunity to share it with everyone. The album for me is a reminder to stay grateful, and as I type this I’m just sitting here thinking how truly lucky I am.”
Drawing special attention to the newest single, “Went Around The World,” a very near and dear track, Wennerstrom says, “I have had this idea for years, and it finally came together. I wrote the chorus about 6 years ago the second verse 20 years ago. Each piece kind of told me when it was ready, and I was able to connect the dots over time. The chorus seems fitting. I’ve been touring all over for years, and in my off time, I’ve also traveled and backpacked around. Through all that I was really learning to understand myself, and the world around me. I’ve always loved that saying “Life begins that the edge of your comfort zone”. When I experienced new situations I was getting to know parts of myself I’d never known.
She adds, “The “light” in the song is love. We’re all connected to each other no matter what our race, religion, or the country we’re from, male or female, straight or LGBT, but also to our environment, the water that sustains our life, and the different plant and animal species. It’s all family. I care deeply about the state of our environment, but I had gotten so concerned with it that I was in my head carrying the weight of the world. Like “how can I somehow fix this problem?”. I realize I’m no good to anyone, including myself if I don’t take some time to stop and breathe and take care of myself. All we can do is our best. Worrying about things I have no power to control isn’t a good use of energy. These issues are things we have to work on collectively and perhaps to start with, aside from my own individual daily acts, my part can be adding to the conversation with this album.”
A Beautiful Life was heralded with the soulful single, “How Low,” alongside an official music video – directed by documentary filmmakers Sam Wainwright Douglas and David Hartstein. “How Low” was met by instant acclaim, with Rolling Stone declaring it to be “a satisfying summer song — with a deeper message in its lyrics,” further noting how the song’s companion video “juxtaposes the vacuous Instagram life with images of poverty, natural disaster, and ultimately acts of kindness.”
“How Low” was followed by “Photograph” and then by “You Never Know,” which was joined by a cinematic and aesthetically pleasing video, complete with a love story, a zebra, and expressive face paint. In late 2020, the band released the first song from the album, “Revolution,” alongside an official music video.
A Beautiful Life once again sees Wennerstrom alchemizing her idealism into viscerally potent rock ‘n ‘roll. Co-produced by Wennerstrom and Kevin Ratterman (Strand Of Oaks, Jim James, White Reaper), the album – which follows 2015’s Restless Ones – finds the Austin, TX-based singer-songwriter backed by a powerhouse lineup comprising guitarist Lauren Gurgiolo (Okkervil River), drummer Greggory Clifford (White Denim), multi-instrumentalist Jesse Chandler (Mercury Rev, Midlake), keyboardist Bo Koster (My Morning Jacket), guitarist David Pulkingham (Patty Griffin), and longtime Heartless Bastards bassist Jesse Ebaugh.
Though Wennerstrom first considered releasing A Beautiful Life under her own name as the follow-up to her widely praised 2018 solo debut, Sweet Unknown, she ultimately came to view the new album as a continuation of the journey begun on Heartless Bastards’ milestone 2005 debut, Stairs and Elevators. Indeed, with its coalescence of so many eclectic touchstones – from French pop and Celtic folk to space rock, Disney scores, and post-punk – A Beautiful Life stands tall as Heartless Bastards’ most elaborately realized work to date. Songs such as the sprawling, psychedelic epic, “Photograph” and the rambling folk of “The River” (the latter featuring contributions from such singular musicians as Andrew Bird and Persian setar virtuoso Fared Shafinury) channel Wennerstrom’s nuanced observations into glorious music that incites contemplation, catharsis, and a joyful sense of defiance.
“For me music is a gift,” says Wennerstrom. “I do it because I love it, and because it helps me feel more connected to the world. I think we all long for a deep connection, and I hope this record adds to the conversation on how we as a species can stop seeing ourselves as separate. I hope it helps everyone to think about how we can look out for each other, take care of each other, and lift each other up.”
The passionate energy and undeniable musical chemistry of A Beautiful Life inspired Wennerstrom to personally invite a hand-picked band into the Heartless Bastards lineup for their upcoming live schedule, set to get underway September 16 at Stickyz in Little Rock, AR, and then travel through late November. Due to demand in sales, Heartless Bastards at The State Room in Salt Lake City is being moved to The Commonwealth Room. The band recently made its live debut with a sold-out two-night-stand at Austin’s beloved Mohawk Austin, hailed by the Austin Chronicle as “front-loaded with fresh, interesting material…If you didn’t know better, you’d think the improbably tight unit had been playing together for five years.” For updates and ticket availability, please visit www.theheartlessbastards.com/tour.
16 – Little Rock, AR – Stickyz
17 – Columbia, MO – The Blue Note
18 – St. Louis, MO – Off Broadway Nightclub
19– Nashville, TN – 3rd & Lindsley Lightning 100 Sunday Show
22 – Minneapolis, MN – Fine Line Music Cafe
23 – Madison, WI – Majestic Theatre
24 – Chicago, IL – Lincoln Hall
25 – Covington, KY – Madison Theater
27 – Millvale, PA – Mr. Small’s Theatre
29 – Cambridge, MA – The Sinclair
30 – New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom
1– Philadelphia, PA – World Cafe Live Downstairs
2 – Washington, DC – Union Stage
4 – Carrboro, NC – Cat’s Cradle
5 – Atlanta, GA – Smith’s Olde Bar
7 – Houston, TX – The Heights Theater
8 – Austin, TX – Austin City Limits Festival
9 – Kerrville, TX – Kerrville Folk Festival
29 – New Braunfels, TX – Gruene Hall
30 – Oklahoma City, OK – Tower Theatre
31 – Santa Fe, NM – Tumbleroot Brewery & Distillery
1 – Tucson, AZ – 191 Toole
3 – Solana Beach, CA – Belly Up Tavern
4 – West Hollywood, CA – Troubadour
5 – San Francisco, CA – The Independent
6 – Oakland, CA – Starline Social Club Ballroom
8 – Sacramento, CA – Harlow’s Restaurant & Nightclub
9 – Arcata, CA – Arcata Theatre Lounge
11 – Eugene, OR – Sessions Music Hall
12 – Portland, OR – Wonder Ballroom
13 – Seattle, WA – The Crocodile
14 – Missoula, MT – The Wilma
15 – Bozeman, MT – The ELM
17 – Salt Lake City, UT – The Commonwealth Room
19 – Fort Collins, CO – Aggie Theatre
20 – Denver, CO – Bluebird Theater
21 – Boulder, CO – Fox Theatre
24 – Dallas, TX – The Kessler Theater
# # #
24 – Cambridge, UK – Portland Arms
25 – Bristol, UK – Exchange
26 – Leeds, UK – Brudenell Social Club
27 – Glasgow, UK – Mono
28 – Newcastle, UK – Cluny 2
29 – Liverpool, UK – District
30 – Manchester, UK – Deaf Institute
1 – London, UK – Oslo
2 – Paris, FR – FGO
3 – Brussels, BE – Botanique Rotonde
4 – Amsterdam, NL – Paradiso (Upstairs)
6 – Hamburg, DE – Molotow Skybar
7 – Berlin, DE – Cassiopeia
8 – Munich, DE – Kranhalle
10 – Vienna, AT – Chelsea
(Sweet Unknown Records/Thirty Tigers)
Release Date: Friday, September 10
Photo Credit: Aaron Conway / DOWNLOAD Hi-res photo
DOWNLOAD Hi-res album art
2. How Low
3. You Never Know
4. When I Was Younger
5. The River
6. Photograph
7. A Beautiful Life
8. Dust
9. Went Around The World
10. It Doesn’t Matter Now
11. The Thinker

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