by Dan Ferguson
It's all over her voice, the letdown, the yearning. You can't fake it. Listen to Erika Wennerstrom sing the songs embodying Heartless Bastards' potential breakthrough The Mountain and it feels like it's coming from a place way deep. Stir it all up with jagged-edged rock, roughshod Appalachian rusticity, or loping pedal steel and it becomes a soulful concoction which the more you listen, it unravels a little something different each time. Not a lot of records do that, but Heartless Bastards on The Mountain hang it out there for the taking. You won't be sorry. Visit www.heartlessbastards.com.
Last Exit to Happyland
Thought provoking in his use of imagery, intelligent in his use of metaphors, and even dark and mysterious, the songs of Gurf Morlix as found on his latest release Last Exit to Happyland are a savory, albeit deep and dark brew. Ten years removed from his role as arguably the most vital cog in Lucinda Williams' machine playing guitar, singing backup, and producing, Morlix has quietly forged a solo career marked by an impressive string of albums. Last Exit, his sixth, is no exception. Visit www.gurfmorlix.com.
(Dan Ferguson is a free-lance music writer and host of The Boudin Barndance, broadcast Thursday nights from 6 - 9 pm on WRIU-FM 90.3. He lives in Peace Dale and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)