The Heartlanders

The Heartlanders

 Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

The Heartlanders play thoughtful and uplifting folk songs - full of soaring harmonies, classic hooks and a range of Americana instrumentation. Their songs are woven with sincere narrative stories and delivered with foot-stomping intensity.


It's in rural southwestern Ohio where THE HEARTLANDERS make their own kind of folk tunes. Uplifting and thoughtful, they call their music 'panoramic’ because of its big-sky vocal melodies and wide range of instrumentation. Although they employ the sounds of everything from pianos and cellos to pipe organs and banjos, the staple behind their sound is a folk guitar and a moving lyric. With a subtle throwback to Johnny Cash or John Prine -- their music often has a sincere narrative and a heartfelt delivery. They twist that all up into an eclectic array of Americana songs with classic hooks and foot-stomping energy.

'The Austinist' writes this about their songwriting, "Their sound is expansive, almost to the brink of epic, and the song writing is accessible in a way that defines fall weather; colorful and different".

At the root, THE HEARTLANDERS are two fellas - Chris Sutton & Christman Hersha. Both long-time song-smiths and singers, they’ve had their share of dusty road tours & musical experiences. Sutton, living in rural Washington, performed his brand of ballads from the Cascades all the way down to Mexico where he set up musical residency. Hersha, starting out in Appalachia made his way to the southern town of Austin, Texas. There, he toured and performed nationally with an established indie rock outfit called ‘The Story Of’. It wasn’t until 2009 when the two returned to the heartland and met on a kind fall day in southwest Ohio. Not long after, they discovered a kindred spirit and shared love for tall-tales and musical storytelling. Soon albums began to take shape, including their 3rd and most recent work - an inspired full-length called ‘ON THE ROAM’.

They have since garnered a reputation for their captivating performances and entertaining stage shows. This has landed them spots on national indie and folk festivals (SXSW, CMJ, Midpoint) Their sets range from the intimate & mellow, to the raucous & rowdy. The constant, however, is their obvious stage chemistry and whimsical way of singing their tales. The boys have had their tunes placed with MTV2, Discovery Channel, NPR, New Belgium Brewery, and two independent films.

Among their influences are: The Avett Brothers, Josh Ritter, My Morning Jacket, The Beatles, Johnny Cash, Band of Horses, Ray LaMontagne, Iron & Wine, Mumford & Sons, Sufjan Stevens...


No Bettin' Man

Written By: Christman Hersha & Chris Sutton

So take me home, Oh Sierra
the cavalcades are trampoline though
they break the rocks, and steal your branches
and must be taught to see who you are

or its gone, gone, gone

and you may not ever know or understand, that i'm a lot of things
but no bettin' man
and you may not ever know or understand, that i'm a lot of things
but no beaten' man

So take me home, my sierra
the only somewhere I can belong
I won't let arms, turn names into scars
and I won't wait for my cathedral to fall

or you'll be gone, gone, gone

and you may not ever know or understand, that i'm a lot of things
but no bettin' man

How It Is

Written By: Christman Hersha

How it Is

Here we are in a troubled winter time
Its been a hard year to be alive
The rains came late and our mouths are dry
Prices inflate as worlds collide

Hold me up, hold me up
I’m broke and beaten down
Hold me up, hold me up
Till I figure things out…

I know you hurt. we’re both afraid
But please help me to hold the weight
Cause if I sink if candles wear,
If darkness creeps I’ll need you there
To be our resolve to be our fight
To lace our boots, synch them up tight…

Hold me up, hold me up
I cant go it alone
Hold me up, hold me up
This life is all I know!

So Don’t stop living, don’t you stop living, don’t

So I’m gonna do what I gotta do to get by,
To mend my soul and to provide.
Cause if its good, then its just enough,
to remind us what were holding up

On The Roam

Written By: Christman Hersha

I got a lot of people pissed off when I left town
had an awful fever, I had to just get out
gonna go where I gotta go to get by, learn how to wonder away

gonna stay 'til Easter, let all my bad blood out
stand beside the river, wait for the world to down

gonna find the secret of something and shout it out
when i'm on the roam
gonna be some people talking, some angry mouths
but there's peace on the roam

had to leave the streets and begin my long walk south
take my ok reasons, take off, i'm ok now

let the summer season, creep in and slow me down
all the dogwood trees in bloom on the scarlet ground

gonna preach the beauty in psalms that I've since found out
when I go on the roam
you gotta leave your ears wide open, and shut your mouth
cause its all, all around

I'm going back where I belong, and thats on the roam
goodbye, goodbye
I'll put my heart back where it goes, and get my old clothes
goodbye, goodbye

gonna stay 'til easter, let all my bad blood out
stand beside the river, wait for the world to drown, now


Written By: Christman Hersha

Well I don't like Linden's alliance
I feel bad for Charlie
For my first great act of defiance
i'll destroy the Chicago piece

(these days rage)

the crowd's speak out in defiance
they say love is all we need
but the world learns only from violence
these kids are so naive

I guess that we're the only ones to bring the war home
played with their conditions and shoved them down their throat
We're using our own methods, we've done it before
worked alright in Washington, but not really in New York

Standing high's my middle finger
step aside, i'll not be hindered

and things I masterminded
they weren't enough to change a thing
and I'm guilty of my Defiance
so their after me, and Bernadine

so maybe we'll get on a freight train,
maybe we'll get on a freeway
so maybe we'll get on a freight train,
maybe we'll get on a freeway
or maybe we'll get on a seaplane,
maybe we'll get on a seaplane
maybe we'll get on a seaplane to somewhere nice
yeah, somewhere nice


"Gentleman Cowboy" [Summer 2012]
"Rumble Under My Feet Single" [2011]
"Theotokos Single" [2010]
"On The Roam" [2010]
"The Cattywompus EP" [2009]

Set List

Sets range from energetic and exciting to intimate and charming. With enough original material to play for a couple hours, set times vary depending on the venue and occasion. The band typically plays only originals, but will occasionally pepper in a cover.