The Heartland Roots Band

The Heartland Roots Band have been on a four-year journey that has seen them transformed from cult-favourites of the Leicester pub circuit to breakthrough artists on the national Brit-Country scene. In 2021 the band were delighted to win UK Country Group of The Year at The UK Country Music Awards, and their national and international profile has developed steadily. 

Twelve singles since 2019, appearing in not just the Country, but also rock and blues charts, have also demonstrated that the group’s eclectic appeal resonates further afield, as they cultivate a worldwide audience amongst Spotify streamers and YouTube viewers. 

The last few years have not been all plain-sailing however. A tale of personal tragedies, life-changing illnesses and upheaval within the group of six, all framed by the isolation, confusion and loss suffered by everyone during the pandemic, forms the bulk of the lyrical mood of the band’s new album ‘Something Better’, which was released at the end of July 2022. The ten tracks all hint at different emotional aspects that colour the lyrics and mood of the album.

Part of the upheaval within the band, came in the shape of a new bassist and drummer, before the recordings started last October. The transition to a new rhythm section began early in 2021 with Paul Harkins coming in on drums, with the previous incumbent’s firing from the band, providing inspiration for the album’s lead single, ‘Bullet from A Gun’, which hit Number 1 in October of that year. The smouldering blues-rock of ‘Bullet’ kicks off the album with a bang and sets a tone which suggest this band means business. Lead guitarist Callum Bishop channels Paul Kossoff and Peter Green, and lead singer Samantha Hobson, is at her best as she goes through the gears from a whisper to a scream.

‘Bad Times Good’ is HRB founder member Adrian Causier’s heartfelt tribute to the positivity of wife and bandmate Anna Causier, who had undergone the gruelling ordeal of chemotherapy and radiotherapy during lockdown. Lush pedal-steel and joyful Hammond organ underpin throughout this, most simple of sentiments.

The second personnel change in 2021, was that of Nick Plews coming in to replace Richard Daniels, who had given up playing bass in July due to the illness which tragically took his life just a few months later. Daniels had supplied the band a few lines of lyric, which hinted at the personal torment he was living with, and with some more additions, added a sombre backdrop to the album’s darkest song, ‘All That Glitters’, which debuted at number 4 in the chart back in May. In between, those two tracks, Sam Hobson’s clarion call to all her badass ladies, ‘Yell!’, loudly announced its arrival at number 3 in chart in February of this year.

The country-gospel flavoured ‘Give it Up’ sees Adrian Causier and Sam Hobson in contemplative mood, and Callum Bishop’s guitar work again come to the fore in ‘Pouring Out the Blues’ a lament on the difficulties of long-distance relationships.

‘Obsession’ sees the band wading into the water of Tarantino-esque Tex-Mex, whilst the chunky guitar-driven ‘Crash and Burn’ scratches the surface of politics and the cult of personality.

The penultimate track is the title track from the album, and Sam Hobson lays out the band’s key message: That there is a light in the distance, and ‘Something Better’ is coming soon. Anna Causier’s mellotron, and the subtle shimmer of acoustic guitars guide us through to ‘Rock to My Roll’, the final track. Paul Harkins and Nick Plews’ irresistible drum and bass shuffle provides the bookend on the album and leaves the listener in no doubt that whilst ‘Something Better’ is not a concept album per se, the songs do ebb and flow with the memories of the last three sad, bad, and mad years.

Heartland Roots Band are supported by the team at Country Music Social Media and “Christmas In Paris” appears on their “Christmas Edition” compilation album.

In 2021, The Heartland Roots Band were named UK Country Group Of The Year at The UK Country Music Awards

Spotlight UK Artist interview: October 2021