Heartless Bastards perform in The Current studio

Heartless Bastards perform an acoustic version of "Gates of Dawn" live in studio at The Current. (MPR Video / Nate Ryan)
Heartless Bastards perform in The Current studio (full session + interview)
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| 00:21:45
  • Heartless Bastards perform in The Current studio (full session + interview) 21:45
  • Heartless Bastards - Gates of Dawn (Live on 89.3 The Current) 03:30
  • Heartless Bastards - The Fool (Live on 89.3 The Current) 04:10
  • Heartless Bastards - Hi-Line (Live on 89.3 The Current) 04:39

People getting married sometimes talk of a "destination wedding," but Heartless Bastards have elevated the idea to something much more creative: a destination recording. "Sonic Ranch, it's about 30 minutes outside of El Paso, [Texas], it's a little town called Tornillo, it's right there on the Rio Grande River, so we were right on the border with Mexico," says Heartless Bastards frontwoman Erika Wennerstrom. "There's five studios there, so there were bands from all around. It was a real special place to make a record."

The resulting album, Restless Ones, features the track "Gates of Dawn," which has received a lot of airplay on The Current. Today, Heartless Bastards stopped in to The Current's studio to chat with Mark Wheat and to play a stripped-down, acoustic set before their show tonight at First Avenue in Minneapolis with opener Craig Finn.

Having had the same lineup since 2008, Wennerstrom says the band members have really grown to respect and trust one another. "I think at this point we all know each other so well, we're like family," she says.

One of the band's collective ideas resulted in this much-buzzed-about video for the track, "Hi-Line," which features an appearance by Bushwick Bill and the band members decked out in, among other costumes, death-metal makeup:

Wennerstrom also shares a little-known fact about the Sonic Ranch. "It's on the largest pecan farm in the world. There's just miles and miles of these pecan-tree orchards," she explains.

So if people are nuts about the new album, perhaps that's something to do with it.

Songs Performed

"Gates of Dawn"
"The Fool"
All songs are on Heartless Bastards album, Restless Ones, available on Partisan Records.

Hosted by Mark Wheat
Produced by Derrick Stevens
Engineered by Michael DeMark
Web feature by Luke Taylor

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  • Heartless Bastards performs in The Current studio Heartless Bastards encapsulates that all too classic story of the small Midwest band who quickly found an audience and rose to prominence. In their case, it was a hard-hitting approach to blues rock and frontwoman Erika Wennerstrom's lyricism which got them their accolades. The niche in music they helped to fill in the early aughts hasn't lost its importance - Heartless Bastards is still on the forefront of a scene which seems to be exploding in popularity.
  • Heartless Bastards perform in The Current studios Heartless Bastards originally started as a duo in Cincinnati, featuring Erika Wennerstrom and Mike Lamping. They soon added Kevin Vaughn on drums and eventually signed with Fat Possum Records, releasing their 2005 debut CD "Stairs and Elevators" and the follow-up "All This Time" in 2006.

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