Reviewed by Harry Kaplan
Soulful, funky and totally groovy. Yes, I said groovy. That’s because this album grooves and rocks. All of the songs have this very understated vibe with comforting sounds. Either it’s the funky back beat, the totally sublime spacey guitar fills, or the heavenly Wurly-esque organ fills, all of these elements compliment Bonnie’s voice like a hand in a tight fitting glove.
It is no secret that Bonnie Raitt is Bonnie Bishop’s idol and it is evident throughout the album. No, this is not a copy or aping of Raitt. This is the highest form of compliment where Bishop incorporates some of Raitt’s good stuff and really puts her own signature on it. This will not be confused with anything recorded by Raitt, but instead the listener will be able to clearly identify the influence.
Bonnie Bishop is no stranger to the music biz, with The Walk being her ninth studio album in a career that spans almost 20 years. The Texas native graduated from UT Austin in 2001 and swiftly began focusing on her music, and had her first release under her belt in 2002. So 18 years and nine albums later, here we are. There are only seven tracks on this 41 minute release which means the songs are a little more lengthy than the standard three and a half minute usual pop entries. The singing, musicianship, and professional recording employed make these song seem short. I just listened to the entire album and I am left wanting more.
Let’s begin at the end and explore the final track, Song Don’t Fail Me Now (Track 7). This song is an epic in the making with some incredible vocal work and lovely instrumentation that keeps the listener’s attention for the entire seven and a half minutes. The song commences with an incredible 60 second piano solo in the jazzy style of Ray Charles. Absolutely beautiful. And the solo culminated with Miss Bishop’s singing and it flows so well. This song will be around for a long time.
I mentioned understated and funky in my intro and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Keep On Moving (Track 2), which is the total embodiment of funky and understated. Those guitar and organ fills take me to a happy place. The words are completely inspirational and explore that fact that life is difficult with plenty of ups and downs. The key to success in life is to “love yourself” and “Keep on Moving”.
Self reflection is peppered all over this fine release. Honesty is paramount on this album. Bonnie really exposes her demons and her soul on I Don’t Like To Be Alone (Track 5). As a writer myself, I respect and admire someone that can put it all out there “warts and all”. Bonnie not only does this, but she does it smartly employing her exceptional writing skills, elegance, and sophistication. The lines, “You used to help me to forget, Things that I lived to regret, Now I got a lot to get over, It’s so much harder sober, I don’t like to be alone”, will stay with me for a long time.
This isn’t just an album. This is therapy. Listening to these songs are better than a $150 an hour session with a psychotherapist. Trust me on this, this album will be my spiritual guide for quite a while. I really recommend that you all follow suit. You will thank Ms. Bishop for your improved state of mind and general well being. It’s a no brainer. Get yer’ copy now.