Photo credit: Linda Beecroft
Erika Wennerstrom shares her new video, “Staring Out The Window,” on Relix. A contemplative, self-loving and relatable song — the lyrics say it all: “Want to be among good people that make you feel good / That don’t make you feel so misunderstood / And sometimes it’s so much easier said than done.” The new video release comes with new tour date announcements, as well, starting on the east coast, and heading down to North Carolina.
The video is from from Wennerstrom‘s debut solo record, Sweet Unknown, out now on Partisan Records. Rolling Stone considers the record one of the best of the month, and placed it as an editor’s pick of “10 Albums to Stream Now,” alongside Jack White and Neil Young. The first video from the album was also the first single from the release: “Extraordinary Love,” which TIDAL calls a “fittingly and gorgeously trippy video.”
The album, Sweet Unknown, debuted on Consequence of Sound, complete with a track-by-track description of each track. COS says, “positivity can be heard throughout the album’s nine tracks. Songs like the slow-burning, almost meditative “Be Good to Yourself” promote self-love, while “Like A Bird” advises that we “open up and let the good things come.”
First single to be released from the album, “Extraordinary Love,” debuted on Rolling Stone and established the core themes of the record. Rolling Stone writes, “After more than a decade fronting the Austin, Texas-based Heartless Bastards, Erika Wennerstrom needed a break. Not just from the band, but a spiritual break as well. Now, having spent the past couple years on a journey of self-exploration, she chronicles her discoveries on “Extraordinary Love.” Expanding on this in her own words, Wennerstrom says, “I was at a point where I was deeply unhappy, and on a whim, I decided to do an Ayahuasca retreat… Despite the idea frightening me, I felt I needed something to change within me so bad that I had nothing to lose. It really opened the door and started me on a path to many self realizations.”
Billboard premiered the album’s “driving, anthemic” second single, “Twisted Highway.” Describing the track, Wennerstrom says, “This song sort of sums up the whole album in a lot of ways,” says Wennerstrom. “‘Twisted Highway’ is the process of learning more self awareness and self acceptance. Writing songs over the years has forced me to do a lot of self-reflection, and I haven’t always liked what I see. I really needed to change my way of thinking though. I chose to focus on the negatives within myself. I really needed to stop and take a look at what’s good in my life. I have a lot of love in my life and I have had some truly beautiful experiences and opportunities. I was so focused on where I was going instead of appreciating where my life was. Going forward never stops. I don’t really have to propel myself. I need to smell the flowers, taste the food, and see the beauty around me.”
Sweet Unknown was produced by Danny Reisch in Lockhart, TX, and features contributions from My Morning Jacket’s Patrick Hallahan, Kelly Doyle, former Okkervill River member Lauren Gurgiolo, Heartless Bastards bassist Jesse Ebaugh and others. There’s something somewhat frightening, yet utterly liberating when leaving the confines of a successful band to venture solo – especially a band whose latest record was called “effortlessly brilliant” by critics. But, such is the case with Wennerstrom who is taking a break from her Austin-based rock band, Heartless Bastards, to deliver this solo debut.
On going solo, Wennerstrom reveals “it was a really freeing experience. I found my strength in my vulnerability as an artist, and really, just as a person. It kind of forced me to allow myself to be a little more exposed and stand on my own two feet.”
Sweet Unknown is still available now via all leading Digital Service Providers, and while supplies last, there is a limited edition version pressed on double white vinyl.
ERIKA WENNERSTROM 2018 TOUR DATES
Aug 1 – Washington, DC – Gypsy Sally’s
Aug 2 – Baltimore, MD – WTMD First Thursdays
Aug 3 – Philadelphia, PA – WXPN Free At Noon
Aug 4 – Philadelphia, PA – Boot & Saddle
Aug 6 – Manchester Center, VT – Billsville
Aug 7 – Woodstock, NY – Colony
Aug 8 – York, PA – Sign of the Wagon
Aug 11 – Harveysburg, OH – Bellwether Festival
Aug 12 – Nashville, TN – Basement East
Aug 14 – Pisgah Forest, NC – Bent River Farm