Practice Session

Great practice session today. Ran straight through my folk/singer-songwriter set from memory… 21 tunes (14 originals and 7 covers). About an hour and twenty-one minutes in length… Or roughly half the length of a single Rush tune : ). I may add in a few more songs, but I’m getting close to my goal of becoming a wandering troubadour.

Shelly and Kelly | Race Day

Just released the brand new Shelly and Kelly | “Race Day” video! I’ve had so much fun mixing and writing songs for the Shelly and Kelly cartoons. We have two of my friends singing on “Race Day”. It’s Wendy Irvine‘s stellar vocals on the theme song and Ron “Tommy The Tuna” Scott does the singing on “Awesome Day!”. Somehow I don’t think Ron would have guessed he’d end up as a singing tuna when we met 20 plus years ago : )

New Acoustic Pedalboard

Jamie Bonk - Acoustic Pedalboard - 2016

Yesterday I put together a new acoustic pedalboard.  I was hoping to keep my gear to an absolute minimum and just have a Radial PZ-Deluxe on the floor, but I found I needed a few extra pieces of the puzzle.  The only real effect on the board is the TC Electronic Hall Of Fame Reverb and I’m going to use that mainly as a way to compensate for room acoustics.  Right now, I’m into playing pretty much as effect free as I can be.

There were a few “challenges” putting together this board.  The first one is size.  It was tough getting everything to fit on the Pedaltrain Nano +, but I wanted the board to be as compact as possible.  The second one was powering the PZ Deluxe.  I’m a huge fan of Radial gear — it’s built like a tank and sounds absolutely first rate.  But I’m not a fan of their 15v 400mA power requirements.  Tough to find a power supply that can meet their needs.  Thankfully, Radial came out with the StageBug, which is a signal buffer and 9v to 15 v converter.  Basically, I’m taking one 9v 400mA and one 9v 100mA from the Pedal Power ISO 5 and feeding those into the StageBug.  The StageBug then powers the PZ Deluxe.  Works perfectly and keeps the board neat and clean.

The third challenge was learning about true bypass pedals.  I was surprised to find that having a true bypass pedal first in the signal chain would cause a level increase when I engaged the pedal.  When I use the StageBug to buffer the signal there is no level change. I’m also not really into the “pop” you get when you engage a true bypass pedal.  This is not going to affect me as I’m going to either have the pedal on or off for entire gigs.  The Hall Of Fame lets you switch the pedal from true bypass to buffered via a DIP switch inside the pedal.  I think my board sounded and felt better with the Hall Of Fame left in true bypass, so that’s how I’m using it.

The TC Electronic PolyTune Mini 2 is great for my needs — small, bright and most importantly accurate.  I’ve used the PolyTune app on my phone for years now and love it, so it made sense to get the pedal for this board.

This is best pedalboard I’ve ever had/made. Truly sounds incredible!

All We Can Be

Here’s another tune (“All We Can Be”) from my upcoming album. I’ve always loved writing tender, quiet ballads — songs that are fragile. This is one of those songs. I hope you like the music.

—–

“All We Can Be” — Words & Music by Jamie Bonk

Verse

Hold you close
Lightly with love
Whispers of hope
Fall from my breath

Nothing between us
I touch you softly
With dreams of a life
Always beside you

Chorus

I’ll give all to you
And you all to me
Together we will see
All we can be

Verse

Yours and mine
Words no more
Here as one
In love we are

Chorus

I’ll give all to you
And you all to me
Together we will see
All we can be

I’ll give all to you
And you all to me
Together we will see
All we can be

© 2015 Bonk Productions

Me and You

Here’s another tune (“Me And You”) that’s going to be on my upcoming album. I think most of us have had to deal with relationships that didn’t work out for one reason or another. “Me And You” is about that friction, but it’s also about loss. How someone is no longer in your life the way they used to be. I hope you like the song.

——-

“Me And You” – Words & Music by Jamie Bonk

Verse

The trouble with
What you say is
I know
It’s true

You can play this game
And I can too

I guess that’s the way it has to be
At least
At least for

Chorus

Me and you
For me and you

Verse

We can fight about this
Morning and night

In the end
Neither of us
Will be right

And all I really want to know is
What
What about

Chorus

Me and you
About
Me and you

Bridge

It’s the way we walk
The way we talk
The way we
Are

And who we are together
I see I still care for

Chorus

Me and you
For
Me and you

Verse

The easiest lie I can tell
Is the one to myself

It can feel good
But you’re fooling no one else

But the truth will always be that
I miss

Chorus

Me and you
Miss
Me and you

© 2015 Bonk Productions

Bob Dylan – “Chronicles (Volume One)”

Chronicles (Volume One)

Sometimes your expectations can play with you.  That certainly was the case when I started reading Bob Dylan’s Chronicles (Volume One).  I figured with the book titled Chronicles I would be reading a mostly point A to point B, story of my life biography.  Well, I figured wrong.

Chronicles certainly has its fair share of “and then and then and then”.  Most biographies have at least some degree of that sort of thing.  But Dylan also leaves significant gaps in his story line.  Gaps big and odd enough that I actually went back and looked to see if I had missed something.  Or whether there were missing pages. The book also follows a circular structure – early life/career – middle life/career – early life/career.  Couldn’t help but think of Pulp Fiction and how the film used a similar method to tell a story.  Maybe Dylan was thinking about that too.  Or maybe not.

It’s no secret that Dylan is a good songwriter and musician.  Chronicles gives us a glimpse into just how well studied he was.  He read, listened to and watched just about everything.  He learned song after song after song.  Played loads of gigs.  He worked hard.

I learned a lot from reading Chronicles.  Dylan has a brilliant way of looking at something and shifting perspective.  Quite a few times I was left thinking, “Now that’s a unique way to think about that.”

Happy I read Chronicles (Volume One) and hoping for Chronicles (Volume Two).

God’s Counting On Me, God’s Counting On You

I saw a video of Pete Seeger singing this song (“God’s Counting On Me, God’s Counting On You”) four or five years ago and it knocked my socks off. The way he was able to connect with the audience was absolutely amazing. It’s exactly what good folk music should be and should do. It’s also somewhat rare to find a positive protest song. A song that acknowledges there are huge problems in the world and still believes in hope. If you like the song, go and check out the version Seeger and Lorre Wyatt recorded with Bruce Springsteen — it’s great!

———–

GOD’S COUNTING ON ME, GOD’S COUNTING ON YOU
(Pete Seeger & Lorre Wyatt)

Verse
When we look and we see
Things are not what they should be
God’s counting on me
God’s counting on you

It’s time to turn things around
Trickle up, not trickle down
God’s counting on me
God’s counting on you

Chorus
Hoping we’ll all pull through
Hoping we’ll all pull through
Hoping we’ll all pull through
Me and you

Verse
And when drill, baby, drill
Leads to spill, baby, spill
God’s counting on me
God’s counting on you

Yes, there’s big problems to be solved
Let’s get everyone involved
God’s counting on me
God’s counting on you

Chorus
Hoping we’ll all pull through
Hoping we’ll all pull through
Hoping we’ll all pull through
Me and you

Verse
Now don’t give up, don’t give in
Workin’ together we all can win
God’s counting on me
God’s counting on you

What we do now, you and me
Will affect eternity
God’s counting on me
God’s counting on you

Chorus
Hoping we’ll all pull through
Hoping we’ll all pull through
Hoping we’ll all pull through
Me and you

Verse
When we sing with younger folks
We can never give up hope
God’s counting on me
God’s counting on you

Chorus
Hoping we’ll all pull through
Hoping we’ll all pull through
Hoping we’ll all pull through
Me and you

Chorus
Hoping we’ll all pull through
Hoping we’ll all pull through
Hoping we’ll all pull through
Me and you

Who Said It Was Easy?

Here’s another tune (“Who Said It Was Easy?”) from my upcoming album and a part of an ongoing series of videos I’m calling The Sofa Sessions. The lyrics are below…. I hope you like the tune!!

“Who Said It Was Easy?” – Words & Music by Jamie Bonk

Who said it was easy?
Cause it sure wasn’t me
Give what you can
And still you see

That’s just the way it goes for some
It can make you feel like an unlucky one

Who said it was fair?
Cause it sure wasn’t me
Back of the line
Is a tough place to be

That’s just the way it goes for some
It can make you feel like an unlucky one

Instrumental Bridge

It can be better
That’s what I know
All comes down to whether
You can let go

Sometimes you just have to trust
And know that you are a lucky one

© 2015 Bonk Productions

New Pedalboards

Over the last 35 or so years, I’ve gone through quite a few pedalboards.  From literally having pedals velcroed to a piece of plywood in the 70’s/early 80s to a rack of gear with MIDI switching in the 80’s/90’s to having four different pedalboards until recently.  I lost those four boards this summer.  The upside (if there ever is an upside to getting robbed) is that you are forced to look at what you need.  And right now, I need less.  My two new “pedalboards” in the photo below (acoustic on the left and electric on the right) are pretty darn minimalistic and I’m going to try to keep them (mostly) that way.

New Acoustic and Electric Pedalboards