Erika Wennerstrom fronts Heartless Bastards at Union Stage on Oct. 2, 2021. (Photo by Casey Vock)
Erika Wennerstrom, lead singer and songwriter for the Austin-based band Heartless Bastards, may just have the perfect rock ‘n’ roll voice. It’s deep, powerful, and rich, with some similarity to another great singer originally from the Buckeye State, Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders. As one fan called out between songs, “I would listen to you read the phone book.” (I suppose this would require finding a phone book, which presents a challenge, as they’ve gone the way of the dodo.)
When Erika and the Bastards headlined at DC’s Union Stage recently, that incredible voice was on display for a meaty, two-hour set.
Asleep at the Wheel performs at The Birchmere on July 8, 2021. (Photo by Casey Vock)
For five decades, Austin’s Asleep at the Wheel has carried the torch for Western swing. Winners of 10 Grammys, they’ve collaborated with everyone from Willie Nelson to Jamey Johnson to Huey Lewis. to Old Crow Medicine Show.
Despite playing what is “hard-core country music,” the Wheel has long attracted fans who don’t normally feel drawn to country. Part of this is the great divide between country through the ’50s and the Nashville sound that succeeded it. As Tyler Mahan Coe has said on his podcast Cocaine & Rhinestones, there’s no real distinction between honky-tonk and early rock ‘n’ roll. Asleep at the Wheel may have fiddles, but they also have drums and sax, and they rock hard.
Robert Earl Keen performs at The Birchmere in Alexandria, Va., Jan. 28, 2021. (Photo by Ari Strauss)
Texas troubadour Robert Earl Keen recently put on two performances at legendary Alexandria, Virginia, music venue, The Birchmere, on Jan. 27 and 28. Traveling with a scaled down version of his usual road band, Robert performed as an acoustic trio which included himself on lead vocals and guitar, Kym Warner on mandolin and backing vocals, and Tom Van Schaik on drums and percussion.
Robert Earl Keen (Photo courtesy Richlynn Group)
Americana titan Robert Earl Keen performs two shows at The Birchmere in Alexandra, Va., on Wednesday, Jan. 27, and Thursday, Jan. 28.
Ziemba (Photo by Kathryn Vetter Miller)
Ziemba — project of songwriter René Kladzyk — releases a new single/video, “Harbor Me, from her forthcoming album, True Romantic, out Sept. 25 on Sister Polygon. Following lead singles “True Romantic” and “If I’m Being Honest,” synth-heavy “Harbor Me” was written and demoed while docked on the S.S. Vallejo, a haunted ferry in Sausalito, California. where, Timothy Leary, Alan Watts, and Allen Ginsberg used to host their “Houseboat Summit.”
LeAnn Rimes (Photo courtesy the artist)
Last year, singer-songwriter LeAnn Rimes released her first-ever live album, Rimes: Live at Gruene Hall, which she recorded at the oldest continually run dance hall in Texas.
Now like all artists, LeAnn is unable to tour due to the pandemic, so she’s trading Gruene Hall for a home performance with her Sunday Service concert via StageIt on Sunday, Sept. 6.
And You Will Know Us by the Trail of the Dead (Photo courtesy the band)
Following a successful global livestream kickoff event on July 31 and another on Aug. 7, …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead now prepare for their next highly anticipated livestream event. The final show in this series of livestreams happens on Friday, Aug. 14.
Surfaces with Elton John in the animated video (Art courtesy 10K Projects)
Texas-based duo Surfaces have released an accompanying music video for their collaborative single “Learn to Fly” with legendary multi-Grammy Award winning Elton John, out now via 10K / Homemade Projects.
Norah Jones (Photo by Dianne Russo)
Norah Jones has released her seventh solo studio album Pick Me Up Off The Floor, which is out on Blue Note Records. The album features collaborators including Jeff Tweedy and Brian Blade on a set of 11 new songs written or co-written by Norah that speak deeply to the moment.
Tune in to ABC Good Morning America on Tuesday, June 16, to hear Norah perform the uplifting “To Live,” and watch the song’s official video featuring drummer Nate Smith, bassist Jesse Murphy, trumpeter Dave Guy, and tenor saxophonist Leon Michels.
Khruangbin (Photo by Tamsin Isaacs)
Khruangbin recently released a new single, “So We Won’t Forget,” a track from their forthcoming album, Mordechai, out June 26 on Dead Oceans, in association with Night Time Stories.