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. Their songs range from honky-tonk shuffles to rock 'n' roll numbers to sweet old time waltzes, and cover everything from unwed motherhood ("Me or the Baby") to mean drunks ("Don't Wake the Devil"), 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, she first started honing her country music chops when she joined the newly formed Cottonpickers in 2005. 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Benitez won an honorable mention for her as yet unpublished song, "Our Remember Whens" in American Songwriter Magazine's lyric contest for January of 2016.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 are hard at work on new music, and look forward to many new musical adventures!
Laura Benitez & the Heartache
"Benitez conjures up visions of the past, from the hip, two-stepping beat of “Good Love” and “Heartless Woman” to the smooth, fox-trotting rhythm of the semi-'50s and '60s-sounding “I Know You're Bad,” to the waltzing beauty of “Sweet Green Eyes.” They channel the best of that which made the old hometown tick musically back then. Before you say it must be rehash, let me assure you that it is not. It is original, as good as it got and as good as it gets."
- Frank Gutch Jr., No Depression
"[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
"Heartless Woman is an Americana/Country classic in the making."
- Ian D. Hall, Liverpool Sound and Vision
"Superb vocals and a great backup sound. If I closed my eyes, it was very easy to smell the cigarette smoke, the clink of long neck bottles, & hear the scraping of the boots on wooden floors. This is "real country" with no frills. "
- Al Shusterman, "Backroads Bluegrass" KUBU Radio
"So what happens when Shelby Lynne and Lucinda Williams are busy being perfectionists? Laura Benitez comes along, takes advantage of the void and ups the game so that her fore mothers are going to have to really work it to keep up. A tasty bit of insurgent country that finds it's inspiration in Bakersfield and honky tonks, Benitez takes the California country sound and gives it some new zip for nu times."
- Midwest Record
"Heartless Woman, the debut full-length CD from Laura Benitez And The Heartache, is an album of seriously good country music, with a vibe like that of a bar band led by a strong female presence. The songs are a mix of classic sounds with timeless concerns....when she sings of woes and troubles, the resulting songs will make you feel better about your own personal troubles. Perhaps that’s in part because there is no agony or despair in her voice – it’s a lively voice, and a lively overall sound, of someone with hope and energy." Michael Doherty, Michael Doherty's Music Log