McDowell Mountain Music Festival

Heartless Bastards: Songwriter Erika Wennerstorm Aims for "Clint Eastwood-Meets-Nancy Sinatra" Sounds

Timberlake-style audacity aside, it takes some serious stones to open an album with a six-minute-plus slow-burning anthem. But that's what Erika Wennerstrom does with "Marathon," the opening track of her Texas-via-Ohio band Heartless Bastards' 2012 opus, Arrow.

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Jason P. Woodbury is a music and pop-culture writer based in Phoenix. He is a regular contributor to the music blog Aquarium Drunkard and co-host of the Transmissions podcast.