TJ WEST

TJ West: Bonnie Whitmore


By Kim Grant

Bonnie Whitmore once asked of the Dallas Observer “Where is the Liz Phair of today?”  The Austin-based musician answered that question with her 2016 album, Fuck With Sad Girls, her feminist album written to “get a conversation going.”  Concerned with politics of appearance, feminine independence, emotional masochism and the direction female reproduction rights were headed, Whitmore wanted to write about things that were relevant to her life.  Fuck With Sad Girls is her third solo album following 2013’s There I Go Again and 2011’s Embers to Ashes.

With deep Texas roots Whitmore began playing music at the age of 8 in Denton, with her father, Alex and older sister, Eleanor (Now one half of the Americana band, The Mastersons).  The band was called “Daddy and the Divas” and Eleanor played fiddle, while Bonnie played bass.  At the age of 15, she struck out on her own, working as a session player and joining a few bands working with such acts as Hayes Carll, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Aaron Lee Tasjan, and Sunny Sweeney, Whitmore before becoming a solo singer-songwriter.

Currently Bonnie Whitmore is working on a new album, due out this fall, and has a Thursday night residency at Austin’s Continental Club on their Gallery Stage.  Titled, “Bonnie Whitmore and Her Friends” she’s had as guests Christy Hays, Szlachetka (formerly of LA, now in Nashville), Ray Prim, and Rosie Flores.  Whitmore will soon be heading to Southern California on tour with a few shows in the Los Angeles area and including a stop at the Stagecoach music festival, where she will be playing on a Nikki Lane talent-curated stage.

Tell us about F*@k With Sad Girls—How did it come about and did you write all of the songs?

FWSG came about because I’m a songwriter that had conformed to expectations, but without any real success, and at this point in my career I’m kind of like fuck it. I want to write and sing about what’s really important and prevalent to me. So I put together songs that really touch on what I’m a product of, which deals with subjects like depression, vulnerability, masochism, experience and expectation of quality of life and importance of love. I wrote all the songs with the exception of “Ain’t Waitin On Tomorrow” – Drivin N Cryin a real rocker that expressed sentiment of living for today I needed and “I’ll Make a Livin” – which was a co-write with Aaron Lee Tasjan, Chris Porter and myself. The song “Fuck With Sad Girls” I tried to co-write, but no one was willing. It could have easily been changed to Mess or even Screw, but there something in me that need the Fuck for people to give the fuck. The first time I played that song was in front of a couple of heroes, one of which was James McMurtry. When it comes to conversation, he’s a man of few words. First he asked if I had wrote the song, which I replied yes, then he said, “That’s a damn good song.” Having his stamp of approval made me feel I’d done something really special.

How was your SXSW this year? Where’d you play?

This SXSW was mostly good.My official(showcase) was in the Victorian Room in the Driskill, which is cool.  Played a few daytime hangs like the Dogwood party on Tuesday this year, KOOP day party at Coopers BBQ, but my favorite was during my usually Thursday night residency in the Continental Club Gallery. Because of SX you can’t have non-official competing shows in the evening, so my usually Thursday song swap was turned into a benefit for a nonprofit I started a little over a year ago called Cecilia Porter Music Foundation, and I invited my friends to come and play “Songs Worth Remembering.” John Calvin Abney, Betty Soo, Mando Saenz, Colin Gilmore and many others came and shared songs and that was a much-needed healing evening. That and seeing Ezra Furman was worth braving di rty 6th at 1am on Saturday

How often do you go on tour?

I tour usually every 2 months. I like being on the road as much as possible, so always up for going out. Been lucky to go out with Jon Dee Graham this past year.

Are you with a full band this time around? Who do you usually play with?

Not this time, though I know some great people in LA that could make that happen. I do typically tour out as a duo usually with Betty Soo.  When I do play as a band I have people I love playing with like Betty Soo and Scott Davis. I have a firm belief that who ever leads the band should surround themselves with people who are better musicians then they are. Scott and Betty are some of the best musicians I get to work with and it’s my favorite fit.

What are you looking forward to doing in Los Angeles besides playing music?

Spending time with my sister and bro in law aka The Mastersons! Those two are the hardest working musicians I know, so to get some down time with them is worth the trip in of itself. I’m also excited to get to sit down with Adrienne (Isom) and KP (Hawthorn) from Rebelle Road and build new friendships. I’m hoping to be releasing a 4th album this fall, so I’d like trying to get people excited about it.

bonniewhitmore.com  |  buy

Bonnie Whitmore Austin and Los Angeles Dates:
-Thursday, April 19th residency at The Continental Club Gallery Bonnie Whitmore and Friends w/ John Evans 10:00 pm 1315 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704-2432

-Friday, April 20th at The Echo Charlie Overbey and the Broken Arrows – Record Release Party with special guests Pete Anderson, The Mastersons, PEARL, Bonnie Whitmore 8:30 pm 1822 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026 Tickets: ticketf.ly/2IVsmXg $10 advance/$12 DOS

-Sunday, April 22nd Los Angeles Showcase @ Bar 20 at the Grafton Hotel 7pm, 8462 Sunset Boulevard, West Hollywood, CA 90069

-Friday, April 27th Stagecoach Roots Music Festival 81800 Avenue 51, Indio, CA 92201 Tickets: stagecoachfestival.com

-Thursday, May 3rd residency at The Continental Club Gallery Bonnie Whitmore and Friends w/Jack Ingram 10:00 pm 1315 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704-2432

-Wednesday, May16th Opening for Jeffrey Foucault Backstage at El Mercado 7pm/$25 Advance Tickets: bit.ly/2vavJHN

 

Kim Grant

Kim Grant

After growing listening to Dolly, Merle and Willie, Kim Grant spent the 90’s immersed in the Chicago indie rock scene. Spending many nights at the famed (now-defunct) venue Lounge Ax, bands like Bad Livers, Giant Sand, Handsome Family, Palace Brothers and Wilco turned her on to what was then called Alt-Country. After moving to Los Angeles in 2000, she found this same feeling of musical community at a tiny west side bar called The Cinema Bar where she met artists, Mike Stinson, Randy Weeks, Tony Gilkyson, Ramsay Midwood, and Kip Boardman. These talented folks spurred her enthusiasm for the Southern California roots music scene and the Americana music scene as a whole. Now a music publicist, Grant (alongside Liz Garo and Pam Moore) founded the Los Angeles, weekly roots music series, The Grand Ole Echo in 2005. Also with Garo, Grant helped to curate the Roots Roadhouse American-roots music festival in both 2011 and 2012. Also in 2011 she began co-producing a SXSW day party with Julie Richmond titled, Grand Ole Austin which is still going strong. Visit TJ West on fb and kgmusicpress.com.
Kim Grant

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