P. D. Kelley
On Sunday, April 7th, the steady rain may have kept some folks home but those of us who braved the downpour were treated to an elegant, intelligent performance by singer-songwriter Karla Bonoff. She’s been in the music world since the sixties which now matches her age. She looks youthful and her voice is still vibrant. She is a solid guitarist, and an even better pianist. In between her songs, a mix of folk, country and pop, she tells the crowd the story of her career, which seems to be a mix of happy collaborations as well as missed opportunities. She’s written hits for everyone from Linda Ronstadt to Wynonna Judd to Bonnie Raitt but never for herself. Her band, Bryndle, she recalls fondly and yet the big record deals and fame were elusive. Her albums are legendary, not just to her fans but to other musicians like Jackson Browne and James Taylor, who have played with her and admire her work. I appreciated not only her musicianship but her wry humor and easy style on stage. Her one top twenty hit, “Personally”, she did not write and although it is a catchy tune, I prefer her lyrics: usually thoughtful and compelling. Accompanying her on the stage was the amazing Nina Gerber, within the industry a well-known and revered composer, arranger, and guitarist extraordinaire. Gerber backed up Bonoff mostly on a strat but also on an acoustic that she and Bonoff traded playing. These two really had the measure of each other and it was a true pleasure to experience.
Bonoff said she enjoyed the wet weather as it was good for the singing voice. Well, Karla, come back soon. It’s Oregon – we got rain!
Catch you on the flip side. . .