About Bonnie Bishop
Bonnie Bishop grew up in suburban Houston, Texas, the daughter of native Texans who raised her to love any music with soul including artists such as Otis Redding and Aretha Franklin, Bob Seger and James Taylor. She trained in opera throughout high school and into college, but graduated from UT Austin with a degree in sociology and a plan to somehow make a living doing music her own way. With her influences ranging from classic rock to Motown, it was a rocky road to developing her own sound, but she began making her way across the state playing her original tunes for anyone who would listen and anywhere that she was able to get booked. Now with a couple years experience under her belt, a more finely-tuned focus, and a second much-anticipated album on the horizon, this young singer is poised to make a huge impact in Texas and beyond.
In the three short years that Bonnie has been on the Texas music scene, she has built a solid reputation with her band by sharing bills with such artists as Jack Ingram, Randy Rogers, and Ray Wylie Hubbard and frequenting top venues and festivals in the state including Billy Bobs Texas, Wolf Dance, Midnight Rodeo, The Mucky Duck, and most recently Willie Nelsons 4th of July Picnic. In the last year, she has almost tripled the number of dates she played, going from around 65 shows in 2005 to a whopping 150 planned in 2006! She is one of very few females to have been successful in the Texas country scene, something that most promoters and club owners would attribute to the fact that her full-band show is not only very energetic but unique as it airs more on the bluesy side than the rest of the bands. Furthermore, the band has their eyes set on breaking other boundaries and is currently touring nationally in the Midwest, Southwest, and Southeast regions with plans to continue expanding their fan base across the U.S. in the same grass roots tradition that they have in Texas: through heavy touring and concentraion on radio. The diversity of Bonnies songwriting enables her to play venues from dancehalls to rock rooms to dinner theaters, but it is the sheer power of her vocals complimented by the rich dynamics and harmonies of her band that has earned her the most respect in the music community. The music ranges in style from blues and rock to more rootsy country, and Bonnie can wail in true Janis Joplin fashion just as effectively as she can deliver a ballad with heartache and sensitivity. The band in turn reflects its lead singers versatility, easily transitioning from the powerful percussion-driven numbers to songs with a more ethereal sound, always with a heavy emphasis on guitar. In addition to her full band shows, Bonnies acoustic show is often fans favorites, where the stripped down setting allows them to better appreciate the dynamics of her voice.
In 2004 Bonnies first full length album Long Way Home was released statewide and saw great success with the hit singles “Send Me a Cowboy” and Sweet on the Down Low, both of which remained on the Texas Music Charts Top 30 throughout the year. Proving to be a dynamic and hard-working businesswoman, Bonnie says she drove over 30,000 miles visiting radio stations alone to personally promote her music and to better understand Texas radio and its fans. The CD received strong reviews from regional magazines and publications and was called nothing short of great by long time radio personality Bob Cole of KVET. In November of 2006, her second album entitled Soft to the Touch hit stores as part of Smith Music Groups elite Texas artists and helped push her to the next level in her career. Produced by Walt Wilkins and Tim Lorsch, the latest CD features Bonnies band and showcases the more blues and rock side of her music, with guest appearances by both Wilkins and guitar legend David Grissom. The songwriting expands on themes of love and longing with a frankness that is at times heartbreaking and leaves the listener with a sense of transparency between the singers life experience and her music. The albums greatest triumph is that most of the vocals were recorded live in the studio with the band, which gives the record both a raw emotional quality and a sense of genuine cohesiveness between singer and musicians that is not often found on albums today.
Being a songwriter is a title Bonnie says she values the most, as it allows her to be expressive and honest her life and her beliefs. Her writing has developed greatly over the past year as her co -writing credits have grown to include such writers as Walt Wilkins, Tim Kreckle, Jim Lauderdale, Ray Wylie Hubbard, David Grissom, and Richard Leigh. Furthermore and perhaps most impressively, she picked up the guitar for the first time in December of 2005 and taught herself to play in a matter of months in order to better herself both as a writer and a performer. She is now writing for her third album but as busy as she has become over the last several months, she still gives the credit for her music to God and believes her gifts to be not just a blessing but a responsibility as well. I love what I do and I want to be the very best I can be at it, but I constantly have to remind myself that my gifts dont really belong to me – I have to be wise with what Ive been given if I really want to make the most of my career and my life. If wisdom means seeking out the most genuine and authentic path, then Bonnie Bishop just might be on her way to becoming one of the most successful artists of her generation.
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Check out photos, video, the setlist and a recap of last night’s Mike Gordon concert at White Eagle Hall in Jersey City, New Jersey.