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Lyrics came better late than never for Heartless Bastards' new album

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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Heartless Bastards followed the Boy Scouts' motto to Be Prepared for its just-released fifth studio album, "Restless Ones."

To a degree.

Frontman Erika Wennerstrom says the rootsy rock quartet did a good deal of pre-production with producer John Congleton before heading to Sonic Ranch Studios in El Paso to record the 10-song set. Wennerstrom's lyrics were another story, however.

"I always do a little bit (of procrastinating)," she says by phone from her home in Austin, Texas, "but on this record in particular I was trying to stay on schedule. But things still went down to the wire, and we were trying to figure out whether to postpone it or if I could pull of finishing the lyrics in time. I literally went right down to the wire. It was high stress, for sure."

But she feels that brought a different quality to the album.

"I think there's an immediacy on the record," Wennerstrom explains. "There's this sense of a different approach, of creating something and letting go and letting them be out there, because I usually have a little more time to sort of absorb it and evaluate it and see how I feel about it before I consider something to be complete. So there's also a sense of fear in how I would feel looking back on it.

"I had to trust myself; we all had to sort of trust what we created in those moments. I did take some time away, and when I went back to it I hoped I would still feel good about it, which I did."

Wennerstrom credits Flint's Whitey Morgan, who was recording at Sonic Ranch around the same time, as helping her through the process, too.

"We showed up there a couple of days early and I mentioned I was struggling with the (lyrics)," Wennerstrom recalls. "His manager Arthur (Penhallow Jr.) was there for the mixing of that record, and between working on my lyrics I would hang out with those guys and they were really nice and we'd talk and it kind of helped me relax a little. Then I'd go back to writing. So they kinda helped, without really knowing it."

Heartless Bastards and Craig Finn

Sunday, June 21. Doors open at 8 p.m.

Saint Andrews Hall, 431 E. Congress St., Detroit.

Tickets are $29.

Call 313-961-6358 or visit www.saintandrewsdetroit.com.

Web Site: www.saintandrewsdetroit.com

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