Interview with Bonnie Whitmore
By Harriet Kaplan
Bonnie Whitmore isn’t afraid to express herself and share her opinions. Whitmore admires and appreciates female artists that sing and play in their own way with an emphasis on the music “not focusing on their looks or becoming mainstream.” The Austin, Texas-based Americana-rock group, Bonnie Whitmore and Her Band’s latest album, “F*ck with Sad Girls,” is characterized songs that “boldly address the stigma placed on “imperfect women. “F*ck with Sad Girls” includes the talents of guitarist Scott Davis (Band of Heathens, Hayes Carll), drummer Craig Bagby (Sherman, Colin Herring) and keyboardist Jared Hall (Velvet Underground, Colin Gilmore).
BoC recently spoke to Bonnie Whitmore via email interview to discuss what venues she frequents in Texas and the cool things to do there, artists she would collaborate with and why, female artists that inspired her point of view and more.
What type of venues do you frequent?
Any venue that will have me and take care of me really. I have my favorites like The Continental Club in Austin, Callaghan’s Irish Social Club in Mobile, Blue Door in Oklahoma City, Mucky Duck in Houston, Dan’s Silverleaf in Denton, White Water Tavern in Little Rock…. The list is long and cultivated.
What artists would you collaborate with if you could and why?
I’ve had been blessed with opportunity to collaborate with some great artist so far: George Reiff, Steve Christensen, Will Johnson, Aaron Lee Tasjan, The Mastersons, Jon Dee Graham and more. I pretty much like collaborating with like-minded people who want to make something beautiful. I like bringing people together to make something special and good. So as long as that’s the end goal, I’d work with anyone.
What are the cool things to see and do in Texas?
Literally the coolest thing is to go swim in Barton Springs or float the river in New Braunfels. To be honest, the best thing about Texas to me is being able to get a fantastic tacos 24/7. The food in Texas is by far my favorite things.
Did certain female artists inspired your strong, independent point of view?
My mom certainly did. She encouraged and campaigned us to be that way. The 80’s were a weird time to grow up with music. It was in so many directions, but I will say there was something extra special about Bonnie Raitt and Chrissie Hynde. Both ladies just like to play and sing their own way. It was always about the music, not about how you looked or becoming mainstream. Blondie and Pat Benatar were fierce and ballsy in their delivery. Tracy Chapman was one, too. She was sort of unintentionally androgynous with the amazing sad folk songs. I am inspired by the Dixie Chicks and Beyonce, too. Both have messages they want to impart and are not afraid to express their opinions even if it ruffles feathers. I like music that makes you think.
What are your all-time favorite albums?
Bonnie Raitt – Nick Of Time, Nick Lowe – Convincer/All of the rest, Aaron Lee Tasjan – Silver Tears/Crooked River Burning, Beyonce – Lemonade, Nada Surf – Let Go, Prince – Dirty Talk/Purple Rain, Big Star – Radio City/ #1 Record, The Beatles – Let It Be, Drivin’ N Cryin’ – Fly Me Courageous, Centro-Matic – Love You Just The Same, Lisa Loeb – Tails.