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Bonnie Bishop Bonnie Bishop
Album: The Walk
Label: Plan BB
Tracks: 7

Bonnie Bishop started playing live in dives and honky tonks across her native Texas, before moving to Nashville to sharpen her songwriting, with Bonnie Raitt recording a song they both wrote on her Grammy winning Slipstream album. THE WALK, recorded after Bonnie's return to Texas, follows 2016 AIN'T WHO I WAS and continues her exploration of her soulful side, with producer Steve Jordan helping her work outside her comfort zone and push into the unknown.

'Love Revolution' has the sensuous groove and soulful rasp of an electric Bonnie Raitt. At over seven minutes long the track leisurely and languidly builds to a rumbling finish. Love the fact too that it decays into the next track. 'Keep On Moving' marries Bonnie's superb bluesy vocal to a shimmering Jack Johnson skank. Steve Jordan's groove laden production and Bishop's music create that soupy shuffle that you have to dance to with a glass of red wine in your hand. With fine call and response backing vocals it all slithers between Soul, Blues and Reggae. 'The Walk' again has captivating vocals and a New Orleans Gris Gris, electric piano groove that suggests Nora Jones channelling Dr John. This is another track at over 5 minutes, building an atmosphere that slowly draws you in with a 'hairs on the back of neck' vocal. Three songs in and I'm in love, this album is definitely heading for my best of the year list. 'Every Happiness Under The Sun' opens with a grainy groove loop The Neville Brothers would be proud of. The affirming lyric becomes trance like over the circling percussion. 'I Don't Like To Be Alone' is a lights down low brooding ballad, burning like 80s Raitt. The arrangement is stripped back, electronics, tight rhythm section and an eyes closed smooth blues guitar solo that really hits the spot and carries you away.

'Women At The Well' has a fine gospel vibe, singers twine and spark off each other, testifying over the beat, a fine blues piano and gloriously dirty guitar. Final song 'Song Don't Fail Me Now' might have the albums funky swagger dialled down, but the title brings to mind 1974 Little Feat and FEATS DON'T FAIL ME Now that thoughts there you can hear that Little Feat, soupy, 'smile on the face' rich, music around a groove feel that both share. Perhaps Bishop will do her take on Rock and Roll Doctor next album. 'Song Don't Fail Me Now' opens with some piano and organ swirls that takes us back to 60s Folk Rock Soul music like The Band. Bonnie Bishop's vocal on this track is taut, sophisticated and delivered with restraint. Very much the quiet storm after the earlier tempest, building slowly, so slowly to a final reveal. Lovers of Bonnie Raitt, Joan Osborne, Dusty in Memphis, early Jazz soul Roberta Flack and a million Muscle Shoals albums will loose themselves in these seven tracks. Rarely has an album managed to sound so lo-fi, so now and like it's a treasured Gatefold heavy pressed Atlantic obscure classic from that late 60s early 70s rich seam of sonic gold, at the same time. Bishop herself says "This soundtrack is dedicated to all who wander. May it help you on the walk to wherever you are going. "

Definitely walks the walk.

Marc Higgins