|evil creatures of the south
Erin OíKeefe - December 28, 2009
“I was born on False River in Louisiana. Moved around
a lot. Joined the merchant marine. Fell off a boat and was rescued by a magical
sea turtle. Worked at a Jello factory. Was followed home by a bear cub who I
raised and taught how to skydive. His chute failed to open one day and the hole
must go all the way to China. After that I moved to New York.”
This could be A.A. Bondy’s way of ensuring that his music
remains alone in the spotlight. Perhaps it’s nothing more than shyness.
Maybe it’s just plain amusing to inject Jello-factory fantasy like a shot
of Botox into the thin, dry lips of banality…and even if it’s all
true and we could plummet through that skydiving bear-hole to China tomorrow,
Bondy’s story is worth reading and his music is more than worth your attention.
On his sophomore record, “When The Devil’s Loose,”
A.A. Bondy sings of pain and vulnerability—of those who “easily
bruise.” He sings like a man who’s been broken more times than he
thought possible—like a man who sings when he knows nothing else to do
but try to make sense of the world in song. There’s a great deal of strength
to be found in these songs, too. “When The Devil’s Loose”
exudes a therapeutic sort of authentic Southern swagger that befits the material.
The album resonates like the blues, soothes like sunlight on an otherwise cloudy
day, and like any great work of art, provides a new perspective of the weary
and familiar. Bondy croons with a soft, melodic young rasp of the whiskey and
cigarettes to come atop folky acoustic ballads with sparse but pertinent string
and piano accompaniments as well as a perfectly placed bass and distant rolling
snare. There is timelessness here. “To me,” Bondy writes of his
new album, “it sounds like a radio washed ashore after a shipwreck.”
Regarding his tangible influences, Bondy cites, “People
that play bowed saws, the band on the Titanic, Prince, Trains, some birds sound
good, Neil Young’s [sic] gee tar, The Dirty Three, John Fahey's right
hand, James Jamerson's pointer finger.” If he resembles Dylan in any way,
as I heard someone whisper to a friend at one of Bondy’s recent shows,
I’d say Dylan and Bondy’s sense of humor coincide before anything
else—and the delight in pairing absolute truths with utter absurdities.
The rambling storytelling, folky harmonica, and shyness from public attention
fuel that likeness as well. And then there’s the sense of community (unusual,
these days) at Bondy’s live performances which is reason enough in itself
to make it out to see him someday.
Bondy is currently on a tour around the U.S. (with October
dedicated to European tour dates) which ends in late November. Since Bondy can
seem a bit shy on stage, I asked him how he felt about being on the road. “I
like getting to a place, and I like watching a place shrink behind me”
he said, “…sometimes being out on the road late at night you see
things some of them are wonderful.”
“When The Devil’s Loose” is available for
purchase in CD or LP format via Fat Possum Records (http://www.fatpossum.com.)
A handful of streaming tracks are available at http://www.myspace.com/aabondy.
"Sometimes being out on the road late at night you see things some of them are wonderful."
"When The Devilís Loose"
listen to "
Sweet Southern lush acoustic folk/soul for fans of Bob Dylan, Bill Callahan, Ryan Adams, Josh Rouse