Photo by Emily Sevin
About the Band
Laura Benitez and the Heartache use the three chord tools of country music to tell the simple, unvarnished truth about love, too much whiskey, and the call of the road. On their new album, "With All Its Thorns," they delve deeper into country music's tradition of storytelling with songs about betrayal ("Secrets"), murder ("In Red"), and grief ("Ghostship"), with a whole lot of heartbreak in between. Their twangy honesty shines through in straightforward arrangements, crystalline harmonies, and spare instrumentation. Beware their catchy hooks and sweet melodies - these stray puppy tunes will follow you home and become your most steadfast companions.
Laura Benitez, songwriter, lead singer and founder of Laura Benitez and the Heartache, has been making her mark on stage and screen since 2000. She spent several years appearing in soap operas and commercials in Los Angeles before moving to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2004, diving into the region’s rich Americana and Roots music scenes. Taking her musical cues from the heavily rock influenced Bakersfield sound, and her lyric inspiration from her favorite songwriters Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn, Laura began writing songs in 2008. She released her first album, "For Duty or for Love" on her own Copperhead Records label in 2010.
In 2012 she recruited the multi-talented singer, songwriter, and drummer Michele Kappel-Stone (Kirby Grips/Tippy Canoe/Heartache Sisters) into the band, and was lucky enough to secure the talents of Bob Spector (The Spectones) and Ted O'Connell (The GoldDiggers, Moonshine Maybelline) on twang guitar and bass. These four joined together with Ian Taylor Sutton (The Walcotts, Misisipi Mike, Secret Town) on pedal steel to record their critically acclaimed full length album, "Heartless Woman," which was released in 2014.
2015 saw the band touring to festivals in Southern California and Nashville, but also saw some changes in personnel, with Michele Kappel-Stone and Ted O'Connell turning their full-time attention to other projects. New members of The Heartache include Steve Pearson (Secret Town), Mike Anderson (77 El Deora), Jim Goodkind (Whiskey Pass), Patti Maxine (Island Breeze, Henhouse), and Chris Weinress (Mojo Mix).
Benitez won an honorable mention for her as yet unpublished song, "Our Remember Whens" in American Songwriter Magazine's lyric contest for January of 2016. LB&H's much praised new album, "With All Its Thorns" is now available!
Laura Benitez & the Heartache
"With All Its Thorns shows Benitez and company claiming their place in a competitive genre in which success is often secured by those who can best reconcile emulation and originality; i.e., 'making it new,' but not too new. This has been the golden formula for Alison Krauss, Jamey Johnson, Sturgill Simpson, and Margo Price, among others. Benitez and the Heartache strike their own persuasive balance, offering songs that will engage conventionalists and hybridists alike; in the process, honing an undeniable presence that, with time, will only grow more finely tuned."
- John Amen, No Depression
"Laura Benitez hit the nail on the head with With All Its Thorns. She and the band are tight, sound relaxed, and ooze authenticity. You can’t go wrong with this record." - Shawn Underwood, Twangville
"What a lovely sense of ease Benitez has. She makes familiar form sound fresh, no mean achievement at this point in the so-called roots movement."
- Lloyd Sachs, author of T Bone Burnett: A Life in Pursuit
"I raved about her last album, Heartless Woman, partially because it brought back memories of what I call West Coast country--- music just slightly different than that of Nashville back in the day. I will be raving about 'With All Its Thorns' too. It is straight out of my growing up period. A large part of my introduction to music as life. This could well be a jukebox to my youth.
I smell cigarette smoke and stale beer every time I hear this. It was a strange but wondrous world. And this album captures it beautifully."
- Frank Gutch Jr., No Depression
"A breath of fresh air kind of record that makes a new sound out of a collection of the tried and true. Rollicking Americana/country with traces of Tex-Mex and gulf coast in the mix, Benitez has simple songs that are appreciated for their directness that cuts to the chase. And the band cooks right along in the groove. Sweet stuff that we need more of. Well done. "
- Chris Spector, Midwest Record
"The latest project by Laura Benitez and the Heartache entitled 'With All Its Thorns' is old time country music the way it should be played. Her vocal ability is unsurpassed and she yells out to you, 'Listen to me, I have something important to say' and she gets her message across. Her original material and the superb musicianship of her band takes you back to the 50's. This project will not disappoint you! A must have for your musical library. On a scale of 1 to 10 this is definitely a 10!"
- Al Shusterman, "Backroads Bluegrass" KUBU Radio
"Laura Benitez And The Heartache’s follow up to Heartless Woman is extraordinarily strong, dominating, persuasive and superbly captured..."
- Ian D. Hall, Liverpool Sound and Vision
"[The] brand new album by Bay area Country artist Laura Benitez delivers home run after home run! With a voice
filled with sunshine she takes a bad break-up and molds it into 10 new Country classics dripping with heartache... Her 4 piece band the Heartache is always right on the money with warm, twangy guitar and steel guitar sound, scaled back drums, bass and never gets in the way of her wonderful voice that fills and brightens every room. "
- Gaby Maag-Bristol, Blue Suede News
"Her tight and focused band play country music with a view to the past and an ear for the future. This is identifiably country music and not some pop crossover. There’s twang, there is steel guitar and there’s an understated but entirely effective rhythm section pushing things along. Then there are Benitez’s songs and her clear and concise delivery. All of this makes this a very good album... Her songs are both catchy and captivating and show that she has a full understanding of life, love and leaving. "
- Stephen Rapid, Lonesome Highway