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Heartless Bastards stay on target with 'Arrow'

Heartless Bastards

Heartless Bastards Credit: handout

Austin, Texas's Heartless Bastards is a throwback both in their sound and their work ethic.

In an era in which bands can blow up overnight on the Internet, the blues-rock quartet has turned people on to its loud guitar riffs and massive vocals the old-fashioned way: through relentless touring.

amNewYork spoke with singer Erika Wennerstrom as the band got ready to hit the road yet again in support of their new album, "Arrow."

Your last album, "The Mountain," was about the end of a long relationship. What's the theme for "Arrow"?
A lot of "Arrow" is about getting back in touch with myself after a relationship. I wrote it over a three-year period where I found a lot of comfort in being on my own.

You traveled a lot before recording the album. What did you get out of that?
It just helped me create my art. Writing songs isn't easy at all. I tend to wear heart on my sleeve, and it can be difficult to express my emotions for the public's ear. Those trips helped me focus and find direction and what I wanted to say in the songs.

What music influenced "Arrow"?
When I used to bartend in Cincinnati, Thin Lizzy's "Whiskey in the Jar" used to come on the jukebox all the time, and I never got tired of it. Bands like Thin Lizzy and T-Rex have a lot of acoustic guitar, but are still really rocking. I play a lot of acoustic guitar like that on the album. Another big inspiration was Curtis Mayfield, because I love the way he sings.

You're known for having a big, booming voice. Where did you develop your style?
I like so many different artists that in the process of wanting to sound like 30 or 40 different people, I found my own voice. I want to imagine myself singing like Curtis Mayfield, but I know I won't sound like him no matter how hard I try.

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