Laura Benitez & The Heartache to Release Heartless Woman – their Debut Full-Length Record
Bringing You Classic Honky-Tonk and Americana Uncensored
In a press release from August, it was announced that Laura Benitez and the Heartache will be releasing their debut full-length album titled Heartless Woman on Copperhead Records. The album was recorded at Decibelle Studios in San Francisco and features Laura Benitez (Lead Vocal, Harmony Vocal, Acoustic Guitar, Cowbell), Bob Spector (Electric, Baritone and 12-String Guitar), Ted O’Connell (Electric Bass), Ian Taylor Sutton (Pedal Steel Guitar), Michelle Kappel-Stone (Drums, Harmony Vocals, Tambourine), and Andrea Delarosa (Harmony Vocals). The master engineering was done by Piper Payne, Michael Romanowski Mastering with sound and mixing by Gabriel Shepard, Webfoot Audio.
Press Release: Ranging from sweet old-time waltzes, fiery rock ‘n’ roll numbers and honky-tonk shuffles, Heartless Woman will engage fans of classic country, rockabilly, roots and rock, alike. Benitez wrote all of the songs on the eleven-song record with the exception of the Gillian Welch tune, “Tear my Stillhouse Down.” Choosing to record with the band she plays with live, the chemistry of the group and their comfort level with the material shines through on Heartless Woman.
Benitez gives tribute to the past but with a more contemporary sound. “I’m different from others in my genre in that I’m not interested in recreating the past in a recording or at a show,’ said the artist, “I think I’m unique in that my songs are genre songs, but with a modern female perspective.”
The song “Good Love,” a country straight 8, kicks off the record. “I always heard this song as an up-tempo dance number with a straight 8 beat,” said Benitez, “but the band seemed to be fighting the tempo somehow. Finally, it clicked at a slower tempo and I realized it wasn’t a rock and roll straight 8, but a country music straight 8.” Benitez explains that a lot of songs from the album were written as she was in the process of a divorce. The song, “Worst Vacation” was inspired by the first night she spent alone in a new apartment after the separation. “I woke up and didn’t know where I was,” she said, “but I saw my suitcase and thought for a second that I was in a hotel. Then I laughed and thought if this was a vacation, it would be the worst one ever!”
The joyous tune, “Take Me Off The Shelf” changes from the feel of a straight 8 to a 2-beat between the verse and chorus, giving the song an old-time country feel. “I Know You’re Bad” is a song about lying and cheating in a classic country sense, but with a twist, “Sometimes I’m singing the song as me, and sometimes I’m singing it as the other woman,” said Benitez, “I think the point of the song is that our story is the same.”
“Imitation of You” enters and exists with a steel guitar while the title track, “Heartless Woman,” has a Waylon Jennings vibe to it. “Sweet Green Eyes” is a spacious waltz and “This Empty Bottle” recognizes that sometimes the one you love is never going to change.
The band takes its cue from Hank Williams Sr. on the arrangement of “Where You Gonna Be Tonight,” a simple sweet song that is straightforward in lyrics and chord progression. “Taking What’s Mine” is a powerful and empowering song that Benitez says they play towards the end of their live set, so the band decided to do the same on the record. Lastly, the band plays the Welch cover, “Tear My Stillhouse Down” a little looser and more rock ‘n’ roll than the original.
Speaking of covers…Benitez said that she enjoys when fans mistake her original songs for covers. “The biggest compliment is when fans tell me they love one of my songs and ask, “who’s that by?” It tickles me when people can’t tell the difference between the covers we do and the original songs I’ve written.”
Raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Benitez lived for a short time in Chicago and Los Angeles before returning back up the coast in 2004. Diving into the region’s rich Americana roots and music scenes, she first started honoring her country music chops when she joined the newly formed band The Cottonpickers with her then-husband, Mitch Polzak, in 2005. Taking inspiration from her favorite songwriters, Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn, she began writing her own material in 2008. In 2010 she released her solo first album, For Duty or For Love, on her own Copperhead Records label.
In 2012 she recruited the multi-talented singer, songwriter and drummer, Michele Kappel-Stone (Kirby Grips/Tippy Canoe) into the band and then added the talents of Bob Spector and Ted O’Connell (GoldDiggers) on twang guitar and bass. Soon after, Ian Taylor Sutton (Swinging Doors) joined on pedal steel.
After spending the last few years winning the hearts of audiences in the San Francisco Bay Area, Laura Benitez and the Heartache are branching out and touring farther afield. With the sounds of Western swing, early blues, rockabilly, roots and let’s not forget – country, Heartless Woman is a record that is ready to take the band to higher-ground. “I would love for all the country music fans in Nashville and Austin to hear what wonderful music Californians are making,” she said, “My songs come out of the classic country tradition and I take a lot of my cues from the Bakersfield sound. California really speaks to me and is home”
For more information: http://www.laurabenitezandtheheartache.com
End of Press Release
1. Good Love
2. Worst Vacation
3. Take Me Off The Shelf
4. I Know You’re Bad
5. Imitation of You
6. Heartless Woman
7. Sweet Green Eyes
8. This Empty Bottle
9. Where You Gonna Be Tonight
10. Taking What’s Mine
11. Tear My Stillhouse Down