Female country artists have already given us some particularly hard hitting songs this year… just think of recent releases from Mickey Guyton and Lindsay Ell for example… and we are about to get some more very thought-provoking material from Austin’s Bonnie Whitmore when her fourth studio album “Last Will and Testament” is released on October 2nd via her own label Aviatrix Records, the title track written after she heard about a fellow musician’s suicide. She is an artist we have yet to feature on the site, but with this upcoming new music now is the perfect time to help bring her to the attention of those who may be unfamiliar with her intelligent songwriting, which she often uses to pose questions about an array of issues in society today and expresses via her soulful, powerhouse vocals.
Not afraid to mince her words, be provocative and tell things how they are, her last album released to great critical acclaim was 2016’s F**k With Sad Girls ” and she considers this new release as its sequel partly as both see her working with many of the same musicians. Its tracks tackle subjects including gun culture (“Time To Shoot” was inspired by the 2016 Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida while “None Of My Business” was written after the Paris terror attacks) and rape (“Asked For It”), the latter exploring what society can do to support victims of sexual abuse rather than try to judge them and apportion blame. It was written back in 2012, Bonnie enraged by the term “legitimate rape” being used by Missouri representative Todd Akin, and sadly the song is still relevant today.
I am in awe of artists who also get involved on the more technical side of things, and also who choose to record live (I love the raw energy that results!) both of which is the case with this album. Bonnie co-produced the new project with Austin’s Scott Davis (who co-wrote for the album and plays electric guitar ) and its core was recorded live in Austin in just five days… multi instrumentalist Bonnie playing bass, acoustic guitar and cello as well as of course providing lead vocals. The fabulous strings and horns you can hear were added afterwards.
Growing up in a musical family (her mother is a classically trained opera singer and vocal coach ) one of her first experiences of performing was touring with the folk/country inspired family band “Daddy and the Divas” along with her parents and older sister Eleanor who plays fiddle and is now one-half of alt-country outfit The Mastersons with husband Chris Masterson. A professional pilot, her father Alex Whitmore would fly the family to gigs at remote Texas bars and crowded festivals… another way Bonnie follows in her family footsteps is by being a licensed pilot herself.
Apart from a short time living in Nashville, Bonnie has been Texas based for the last 15 years and as well as spending the last two decades playing bass and singing with with some of the biggest Americana artists out there (including Hayes Carll, John Moreland, Eliza Gilkyson and Sunny Sweeney) she’s also maintained a weekly residency at the legendary Continental Club Gallery in Austin alongside her band “The Sad Girls” …and of course has been busy writing and recording her own music.
The most recent single to be released from “Last Will And Testament” is “Fine”, an all-female co-write with Jaimee Harris which looks at an evolving relationship from those first heady days of falling in lust to trying to decide whether it’s time to call it a day… emphasising the importance of communication within that relationship. I really love the accompanying video to this infectious song too.