Reprinted from Performing Songwriter magazine
It’s not everyday that you find a record from a road-hardened tour dog with one track sung in Japanese, guest appearances from Grant Lee Buffalo’s Grant Lee Phillips and Joey Peters, and an overall sound that’s as reminiscent of Lennon and McCartney as it is of Cheap Trick and Ben Folds. Bill Bonk delivers on his second solo release as he sings and plays guitar, bass, harmonica, flute, mandolin, keyboard, and short-wave radio.
Bonk, a veteran of tours with John Prine, Ron Sexsmith, Aimee Mann, and Shawn Mullins, to name a few, plays just about everything you can imagine and plays it well, at that. His songs are slick, dreamy, power-pop constructions that pound and jerk, hum sweetly, and enchant. Whether it’s the twang-tinged "Rings a Bell" that stalks slowly under a Radiohead-like melody, or the tire-screeching, groovy opener "Everybody," Bonk demonstrates what an accomplished musician who’s spent years with great artists can do when left alone to write. Bonk is impressive musically and lyrically—witty, accessible, and unswervingly cool.
Performing Songwriter magazine
Second Solo Outing For Bonk Soulful Mix Of Folk/Rock|
Bill Bonk - Eveningshade
Reprinted from The Lee County Courier
I knew I'd heard of Bill Bonk before but just couldn't grasp the connection with my few useable brain cells. A gifted multi-instrumentalist, Bill has played along with some of my personal favorites, John Prine, Shawn Mullins, Grant Lee Buffalo, and Randy Newman.
The opening cut, "Everybody," starts out with a soulful groove composed of bass, guitar and drum programming. But by the middle of the song breaks out into a free-form jam with harmonica, flute, clavinet and trumpet. It's kind of Crowded House meets Boz Scaggs. From there Bill moves into R&B with "Halfway Home," reminiscent of the sound Kool & The Gang had so much success with, pure soul with lots of horns. The third cut, "Heartbroken Man," reaches towards early Faces, Ronnie Lane and Rod Stewart territory.
What I'm trying to tell you is that Bill is not only an exceptional musician, and a creative writer, but also has the ability to switch styles as naturally as seasons change.
Probably the best place to get hold of this killer album, Eveningshade, is straight from his website, www.billbonk.com. Give him a shot. I know I'm going to search out his first solo project, Spaghetti Western.
The Lee County Courier
Reprinted from Revolver magazine
You may be familiar with Bill Bonk through his involvements with musicians such as Shawn Mullins or Susanna Hoffs or perhaps Ron Sexsmith or Aimee Mann. Maybe you were first acquainted with him from his partnership wtih Phil Parlapiano in the brilliant yet criminally neglected Brothers Figaro? But you will definitely know him from the time that he spent as the bassist with Grant Lee Phillips in the legendary Los Angeles outfit Grant Lee Buffalo.
Following on from the 1996 release of Bill Bonk's first solo venture Spaghetti Western, comes a second solo endeavour Eveningshade. Co-produced by Bonk and Parlapiano under their Brothers Figaro guise and available through CDBaby, Eveningshade is a wonderful collection of considered and enchanting songs.
"Halfway Home" is a captivating exploration of time and place, one that roams the pathways fo the heart as much as it does the streets and roads of America. "Back of My Mind" bounces along on the calls of an electronic harpsichord and "Troubled Times" stomps and slaps its ways into throws of optimism. "Rings a Bell" is sweet and seductive, beautifully examining the intricacies of life after love. Much in the same vein as its predecessor, there is much to like about Eveningshade -- insightful songwriting, Bill Bonk's considerable musical empathy and of course his heartfelt vocalising. Regardless of where you may first become acquainted with Bill Bonk, Eveningshade is -- without question -- the perfect opportunity to re-acquaint yourselves.
Reprinted from BAM magazine
Honest, simple, and to the point, Bill Bonk's low-key pop songs are heartfelt and ultra-compelling. Close your eyes, and you'd swear the second offering on Bonk's dozen-cut Spaghetti Western CD, "Merchant of Venice", was a Squeeze song, and a cool one at that! Lyrically, he's intelligent, clever (and unpretentious), and in the case of "Winston Churchill", historical as well. There are many winners on this CD, produced by Dan Fredman, including the classic and poignant "World Gone Mad" and the '50s-style bop and Dylan vocalizing of "Teen Canteen."
The singer/songwriter/guitarist already has a long list of musical accomplishments: He was in the critically acclaimed Geffen Records group, The Brothers Figaro, before joining John Prine's band -- and indeed, there are traces of Prine's timeless folk in Bonk's own approach. His clear, strong voice, keen sense of melody, and wonderful lyrics place him in the ballpark of something like an American version of Crowded Holuse, although Bonk -- born in Kansas to a Polish dad and Japanese mom -- certainly has his own, sometimes quirky sound, and notes that all his songs are true stories.
Bonk, a Hollywood dweller, says he survived the recent LA earthquake admirably, although his cat, Rex, is still suspicious of the kitchen and wary of flying stemware. Is there a song there? In any case, from his bio it appears that Bonk has played with some cool people (including a track on a recent Saints tribute record), but has never before ventured out in a solo context such as this. All I can say is, it's about time! More, more, more!
Reprinted from no cover magazine
This solo CD from one-half of the L.A.-based Brothers Figaro features strong production and sparkling instrumentation. Bonk has a distinctive pop flair for melody and song construction that harks back to classic acts like the Byrds and Beatles, but also more recent musical architects such as Crowded House and Counting Crows.
The catchy "Calico" is representative of Bonk's natural gift of song, as is the beautiful "Merchant of Venice," the swaying pop of "Samson and Delilah" and the wry, roadhouse flavor of "Winston Churchill." Bonk's cool, expressive voice hovers nicely over the rich mix underneath, which features many gifted L.A. musicians including guitarist Duane Jarvis, drummer Scott Babcock, cellist Richard Dodd, upright bassist Kyle Eastwood (yes, son of that Eastwood), vocalists Dan Navarro (of Lowen & Navarro), Jon Heintz and Shelly O'Neill, and Patrick Warren on Chamberlin. Bonk himself can play many instruments including guitar, bass, piano, harmonica, and even flute. Good stuff. A fresh, rich folk-flavored rock record.
Roger Len Smith
no cover magazine
Reprinted from Caffeine magazine
Can't tell you if the title has anything to do with Kyle Eastwood playing acoustic bass. Bill Bonk is a veteran LA performer, known for his work with John Prine, in addition to his own Geffen project, Gypsy Beat, with the Brothers Figaro. Bonk's tone/persona is a cross between Tom Petty and Michael Penn, a take-your-time energy with a musical message worth slowing down for a listen. Enroute to a better place, "Calico" supports the theory of life (yes, there is) beyond Sprawl Angeles and "World Gone Mad" made me want to get a tattoo with the lyric "Drunken sailors all of us, we do the things we think we must" to wear to my next Writer's Anonymous meeting. Spaghetti Western and Bonk's recent projects with Murray Attaway (ex-Guadalcanal Diary) and Susanna Hoffs (ex-Bangles) are harbingers of an acoustic high tide. You might not recognize Bonk's soul at first, but after a careful listen, don't be surprised if you hear a familiar piece of yourself in the harmonic overtones. And in the city of fractured angels, that's called a good sign.