Taking the name “Heartless Bastards” from an incorrect answer on a multiple-choice trivia game (the question: what is the name of Tom Petty’s backing band), Wennerstrom founded the band in 2003 in Cincinnati. It started as a recording project and evolved into a live band with a revolving cast of musicians, and they began playing regularly throughout the Midwest. When Patrick Carney of the Black Keys saw the band, he liked what he heard and passed along a copy of their demo to his label at the time, Fat Possum Records. Heartless Bastards signed with Fat Possum, releasing their first 3 albums, Stairs and Elevators (2005), All this Time (2006), and The Mountain (2009).
In 2007 Wennerstrom relocated to Austin, TX, and recorded The Mountain. A new touring lineup formed including David Colvin on drums and Jesse Ebaugh on bass, bringing the project in full circle as both Colvin and Ebaugh had played on the original Heartless Bastards demos 6 years earlier. Mark Nathan joined on guitar in 2009, and the band became a 4-piece. They signed to Partisan records and released 2 critically acclaimed records, Arrow (2012) and Restless Ones (2015).
After more than a decade fronting the band, Wennerstrom released the album Sweet Unknown under her own given name in 2018. “It was a deeply personal album and it just felt fitting to use my name. It kind of forced me to allow myself to be a little more exposed, and stand on my own two feet. I feel like I’ve grown so much creatively and personally through this process.”
Now some good news for fans of Heartless Bastards — which has released five critically- acclaimed albums since their 2003 inception, appeared on many late night television shows, and has drawn praise from Rolling Stone, Time, New York Times — in early 2020, Wennerstrom returned to the studio with producer Kevin Ratterman (Strand of Oaks, Jim James, White Reaper), and a new album is in the works.
Fans can also rest assured that what they’ve grown to love about Heartless Bastards is still front-and-center. Wennerstrom’s trademark vocals that NPR so aptly calls “warm yet gritty, throaty yet sweet, gigantic, yet intimate” are that… times 10. And the bluesy, rock vibes that Relix describes as “smoky, late night [rock] that exists somewhere between Royal Trux and the Rolling Stones” has only gotten smokier and bluesier.
Video & Press
Heartless Bastards Get Us Ready for the Election with New Video for ‘Revolution’
[mxdwn.com] By KRISTA MARPLE Heartless Bastards newest video for track “Revolution,” which is their first new music release in five years, is a soulful yet honest view of the current political situation within the United States. The Texas-based group released “Revolution” digitally for the first time in early July of this year while the music video […]