“There to Now” – Artisan Music Reviews

“There to Now” – Artisan Music Reviews by R J Lannan

I have always known Jamie Bonk to be a brilliant guitarist. I haven’t heard his music for a while now and here he comes with a new album that is so far afield from what I am used to that I had to check the label twice. Now the new album’s title makes so much sense. There to Now. This ten track album is an intoxicating mix of vocals and instrumentals that range from contemporary to jazz to the fringes of New Age, but just barely. What intrigued me was the finely crafted ballads that were intermingled with the instrumental arrangements.  

Last Thing First opens the album and sets the tone. The instrumental music is complex using a lot of tools and voices. It is an animated song with a lot of quick interludes by other instruments. The background is full of swaying vocalise. It is the gathering of energies. Good Start.

The next song is a vocal featuring singer Wendy Irvine called Hopefully Me. The song has this quirky intro that is part banjo and part electric guitar. (No banjos were injured during the making of this album). The song is about second chances. Bonk’s well-rounded composition could be an intro to any modern day rom-com on the box. 

“This time I’m bound to find a way back to the start

This time you’ll see hopefully me right side up”.

Here Is turned out to be a slow, descending instrumental with Henrik Bridger on bass answering to Jamie’s bright, seductive fret work. It is the kind of tune that will have you close your eyes and begin the fantasy. Lot of that lucid dreaming going on in this album.

Get ready for some great jazz-flavored flute on the tune Inlet. The song is dynamic and well-tooled and it sounded as if it was an improvised thing. The band has a good time on this one as you can hear the energies floating around in the air just like Bill McBirnie’s flute notes. Everything is alive. One of the best cuts on There to Now

Jamie’s polished guitar plays friendly ally to a possible pop/country song called It Always Will. The tune, full of regret and angst, features the gravelly voice of well-known song writer Ron Scott. The midtempo, expressive ballad would be comfortable on any stage where story songs and good music mix to give the weekend some purpose. 

Look Closer is another instrumental that blurs the lines of specific genres, but it grabs and pulls you along. Bonk’s fret work really stands out on this one as its sets the tempo and timbre on a song describing the journey more than the destination. This is another favorite.

The final track is called So Now I Know and the fluid, provocative jazz theme just drips off the tune like candle wax at the end of the evening. Bonk uses the surreptitious interchange between Bridger’s bass and his sultry guitar like a hushed conversation of late night lovers. You are going to want to play that one again.

Other tracks include Anything At All, Pull You Up, and On the Line

There to Now is an album you play when friends are over and they say, “Who’s that?” and you get to tell them about the artist and the pleasure his music gives you. The heads nod and they make the promise to explore more later on. This is Bonk’s seventh album and I hope he creates more. His music is a refreshing break from the FM radio claptrap that we are subjected to these days. It is a Play and Repeat album for just about any time. Highly listenable. 

– R J Lannan, Artisan Music Reviews

Spiral Path (Live in the Studio)

Took a bit of a break from getting the word out about my new album, There To Now to shoot another live in the studio video. This tune, “Spiral Path”, I released back in 1997 on my self-titled debut album (“Jamie Bonk”) and have loved playing it live ever since. I stayed pretty close to the album version of “Spiral Path” for the melody sections, but the solo definitely takes a bit of a different road. Hope you like the video!

“There To Now” – One World Music Radio

Thanks to Chrissie and Steve at One World Music Radio for all their help in spreading the word about my new album, There To Now! They set up a terrific artist page for me on their website along with an audio interview. Also on the page is a very sweet mini playlist that includes music from Mick Overmere, Steve Hewitt, Timea Göghova & Caro D’lirium, Thermo and Fiona Joy Hawkins as well as a couple tracks from my new record. So nice to be on a playlist with these talented artists — definitely going to be digging deeper into their new music. And lastly, Steve Sheppard’s review of There To Now beautifully encapsulates the album — very much appreciated!

“There To Now” – New Album

Just released my new album, There To Now!  I truly feel this album (my seventh full length release) is some of the best music I’ve ever made. The record has ten tracks (five guitar-based instrumentals and five vocal tunes) and it draws on a fairly wide range of styles (mainly Jazz, Pop and Folk with a little bit of Classical and Rock as well). In the past, I’ve made music where it’s just me and myself alone in the studio, but There To Now absolutely could not have been made without the help of all those who worked on it. So a big thanks to Henrik Bridger (bass), Dave Patel (drums), Wendy Irvine (vocals), Bill McBirnie (alto flute and flute) and Ron Scott (vocals). And also thanks to my wife, Sonya, for the cover photography – never would have been able to compose the shot and definitely wouldn’t have been awake (and functioning) at the break of dawn!

If you’d like to check out the album, you can stream/download it here: There To Now

Boundless (Live in the Studio)

Here’s a live in the studio video of “Boundless”.  This tune was originally released on my 2007 EP “5” and it featured the incredible Jeff Oster on flugelhorn.  Hope you like this version of “Boundless” and the video!

If You Only Knew (Live in the Studio)

In many ways, “If You Only Knew” was one of the songs that helped me become the artist I am today. I had done quite a bit of music before releasing this track on my debut album — New Wave, Free Jazz, Classical, etc. But “If You Only Knew” and other tracks on my debut pushed me to focus on what was important (at least to me) — melody being front and centre. This Live in the Studio video of “If You Only Knew” is pretty much like the album track. As always, thanks for listening and I hope you like the music!

Tanzen (Live in the Studio)

I’ve always liked music that draws on a variety of sources — tracks that blend styles in a seamless way. And that’s exactly what I tried to do with “Tanzen”. All of the tunes on my 1997 self-titled debut album had some combination of styles and production techniques, but one of them, “Tanzen”, stands out to me. I think (hope!) I achieved a seamless blend of electronic and acoustic textures on the track. Here’s a live in the studio version of “Tanzen”. Thanks for taking the time to listen!

“Petty: The Biography” by Warren Zanes

Over the last couple of years, I found myself not reading the way I normally would. I was still reading the news and magazines, and all of the social media type of stuff, but not much in the way of anything longer format (i.e. books). I suppose I could finger point and blame COVID, as it’s certainly changed many other things in our daily lives, but I just didn’t like this new pattern. So I basically forced myself to get back on track. Every night I would read, starting with a few pages and then the next night a chapter and then, after a while, many chapters.

What made this getting back on track easier was Warren Zanes’s “Petty: The Biography”. A skillful writer doesn’t pull you along so much as ask you to join. Zanes does this exactly in this book — tells you the Tom Petty story while offering all kinds of insights. Zanes made me think about how I could use Petty’s approach to music and business in my own creative endeavours.

Now every biography is at best an incomplete picture and that’s part of the deal we, as readers, make with a book. There are things in “Petty: The Biography” that I wish Zanes had delved deeper into and there were other things that I felt had too much detail. I’m sure someone else reading the book may have the exact opposite reaction. In the end though, all of my armchair quarterbacking doesn’t change the fact that “Petty: The Biography” is easily one of the better music biographies I’ve read. It is, as the cliché goes, a good read and I’m thankful it helped get me out of my reading rut.