Pretend, for a minute, that I am Alex Trebek. The answer is:
A) Pretty good, I need to check out more.
B) Not bad, I don’t need to fill my ears with sculpting clay.
C) Wow, I’m not sure we can still be friends.
D) Holy crap, I am so incredibly cool how could I not have known about this artist before!
The question is, “What are the possible responses when a friend shares music with you?”
I’d say most of the time my reaction falls into A. However, last year The Heartless Bastards captured the elusive D response. That is when Erika Wennerstrom and her cohorts came into my life riding on a flashdrive containing The Mountain record.
Erika has an extremely unique vocal style that I imagine is like listening to Chrissie Hynde while tripping on acid. For some of you it will be a mind-expanding experience while others may consider it a bad trip. But judging from the last two sold-out shows I attended, there are enough of us who dig putting a little tab of Heartless Bastards on our tongue for a couple hours.
Besides also hailing from the musical hotbed of Ohio, the comparisons to Chrissie don’t end there. The songwriting is solid and she’s not afraid to plug in her guitar and hit you in the face instead trying to strum you into submission with an acoustic.
On top of the irony of going to a Heartless Bastards show on Valentine’s Day, it was also the same day their new Arrow record was released. I supposed I should say “dropped” but that seems pretentious to me. If anyone “dropped” one of my records, CD’s or MP3 players I’d kick their ass. Unless they were bigger than I, in which case I’d still probably shake my head in disgust at their carelessness. Because the record is pretty damn good, and the new songs fit right in with the old favorites at Lincoln Hall that night. With four releases under their utility belts they put together a nearly two-hour set that never lagged or made me wonder if I was missing any Mercedes Ruehl original Lifetime movies on cable. I was completely engaged, riding the riffs and soaking in the vocals and planning a camping trip with Erika in my head. She can even bring the other Bastards, as long as they supply the marshmallows for the campfire.
By the way, I hope you remembered to stop pretending I’m Alex Trebek. Crack Approved.
Happy Belated Valentine's Day, you bastards.