Roots music may feel quintessentially “American”, but it’s really a state of mind, often rooted in long restless days spent in wide open spaces, steeped in nature and endless horizons.
Simon Bonney was a 31-year-old native Australian when he transitioned from Crime and the City Solution, his post-punk band with Rowland S. Howard and Mick Harvey of the Birthday Party, known for their haunting guitars and lyrics steeped in “post-blues anomie and meta-blues mythology…. At the time he had already traveled from the rural landscape of his childhood to the dankest corners of Berlin’s avant-garde underground and then to a new life in the American West,” noted the New York Times in 1993. “During these restless years, his music has shifted from brutal, metallic noise to pastoral song craft.”
Collaborations with the German film director Wim Wenders, including an on-camera feature in “Wings of Desire,” also affected Bonney’s songwriting, and soon he was building a musical bridge between his Australian upbringing and his growing interest in Americana.
Bonney’s turn towards Americana can be heard in his last two albums, Forever (1992) and Everyman (1994), which blended elements of the genre with the brooding sound of the post-punk ballad. Forever lead the way, both expansive and sultry, like night in unlit territory. J. D. Foster, an American guitarist who has worked with Dwight Yoakam and Lucinda Williams, helped Bonney chart his course.
Fast forward 25 years… Simon Bonney has returned. He will release a catalog primer, Past, Present, Future, via MUTE in May 2019, containing select cuts from Everyman and Forever, along with 3 never released tracks. This will be followed by a new studio album to be recorded this winter in Nashville.