Bonoff to play favorites, new songsWritten by Vicki L. Kroll | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Karla Bonoff was fine-tuning her craft at the Troubadour in Los Angeles more than four decades ago alongside James Taylor, Elton John and Jackson Browne.
“It was an incredible time in music for songwriting, singers and songwriters writing new kinds of songs. It was pretty much an open field,” she said. “It wasn’t like there were millions of people doing it; it seemed that there was just this small group of us doing it. It was very exciting and very inspiring for me.”
At the famed nightclub, Bonoff forged friendships with musicians Wendy Waldman, Andrew Gold and Kenny Edwards, who had started the Stone Poneys with Linda Ronstadt.
Through that connection, Ronstadt heard some of Bonoff’s songs and recorded them. “Lose Again,” “If He’s Ever Near” and “Someone to Lay Down Beside Me” were on Ronstadt’s 1976 album “Hasten Down the Wind.”
One year later, Bonoff’s self-titled debut was released and featured the hit “I Can’t Hold On.” She was on the charts again with “Personally” from 1982’s “Wild Heart of the Young,” and her version of “The Water Is Wide” was featured on TV’s “thirtysomething.”
“Joni Mitchell, Carole King, Laura Nyro were big influences,” Bonoff said. “[My music] was kind of a mixture of that combined with a lot of the pop music I grew up listening to on the radio — The Beatles and Motown, which formed a huge part of my early teenage years.”
Ronstadt recorded three more Bonoff songs for 1989’s “Cry Like a Rainstorm, Howl Like the Wind.” Her duet with Aaron Neville on “All My Life” topped the charts and won the Grammy for Best Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group.
And in 1993, Wynonna Judd had a hit with Bonoff’s “Tell Me Why.”
“Songs, for me, kind of come out of a deeper, more subconscious place. I’m not one of those people who decide to write about something and sit in a room with two other people. Mine seem to come from some mysterious place,” Bonoff said. “I rely on being able to kind of get into that particular groove that allows me to write music. For me, it’s something that you hear and it kind of gets you at your gut, and if you’re lucky, you’re able to write a song that does that for other people as well.”
During a call from her Santa Barbara, Calif., home, the singer-songwriter said she is working on new material.
“We’ll probably play at least one [new song] at the show at The Ark,” she said.
Bonoff will perform at 8 p.m. April 15 at The Ark in Ann Arbor. Tickets are $25. Doors open at 7:30 p.m.
“I think people come to the shows at this point to hear stuff they really love and are familiar with,” she said. “I know for people [my music] brings up a lot of good memories, and people tell me it’s the soundtrack to their life.”
Tags: Aaron Neville, Andrew Gold, Carole King, Elton John, Jackson Browne, James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, Karla Bonoff, Kenny Edwards, Laura Nyro, Linda Ronstadt, Motown, Stone Poneys, The Ark, The Beatles, Wendy Waldman, Wynonna Judd