Bonnie Ward 9 December 2015 on Rocket Shop
Bonnie Ward, aka Mountain Woman
WORDS BY TOM PROCTOR, PHOTO courtesy of artist
There’s something of the mountains in Bonnie Ward, with her wild blonde hair and far away eyes, it’s not hard to imagine her on a hillside tending her land with guitar in hand. With a musical tenure spanning close to 30 years she’s traversed through several different names, styles and genres, delivering a steady stream of albums that document this remarkable career. Hitting up the Big Heavy World studio to strum a few new tracks, The Mountain Girl sat down after to spin a yarn and get us up to speed on her recent comings and goings:
TP: So you go by a lot of names; Bonnie Blue, Bonnie Ward, Bonnie Secudna, Mountain Girl, what’s the story behind the names and which do you prefer to be called?
BW: Bonnie Ward is my daughter’s name; I took it in memory of her after she passed. Most of the money made from the records under that name goes to a fund to look after her son. Bonny Blue is my alter ego, I’ve had the name for years but there’s a band down south that shares it so to avoid a legal battle I changed the “ie” to “y”. As for Mountain Woman, well, I have 1200 acres that we’ve turned into a sugar farm so you could say that I am very much a Mountain Woman. That and it was still available to copy write when I searched for a new name (Laughs.)
TP: You’ve gone through a number of genres in your 30 year history; do you feel like your gravitating towards a particular sound?
BW: I like country, its fun, but I also love alt and punk and will even give some jazzier tracks a go. I went to a conservatory school so I learned a whole host of different styles and I can write just about anything. My new record “Down to Earth” is really an eclectic mix.
TP: You’re a politically active person; do you find that activism creeps into the songs occasionally?
BW: Well Sunflower Serenade is a pro solar/anti fracking song that I co-wrote with Robbie Renyolds. Our farm is currently under threat by the fracking energy companies who wish to install a pipeline. We’ve been fighting them for the past two years so it really is an issue close to my heart. So of course there are elements of that struggle that occasionally make their way into my songs.
TP: You were here last year as a solo artist, and mentioned you were looking to get a group together. How has that process bringing the Wild Blue Thunder Band together?
BW: It’s just been amazing. First of all I met Steven Kingrier at Franny-os one night when I jumped up on stage to do a couple of songs. He’s just a magic man, he can do anything, play any instrument and we just got along so well. Then I ran into Becka Coast, whom I’d asked to play Violin a year before. I had to wait a year but it was worth it, she’s such an angel and what a beautiful player. I have AJ on bass and Eric Bellerose, from the Bobby Reed Project, offered to play drums. It really was a dream come true to finally have five people in one room excited to play one of my songs.
TP: So how close are you to releasing out this new record?
BW: Well it’s pretty much all done, I think we have two more songs to record then we’ll be finished. Three or four are still in parts, they still need to be combined, but we’re getting close to completion. I have a tour to accompany the record; The State of Affairs tour is currently being planned. We’re looking to go nationwide, fingers crossed it’s a hit.