Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Country Artist Bonnie Bishop Revives Her Musical Career through Soul

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Country Artist Bonnie Bishop Revives Her Musical Career through Soul

Article excerpt

In September, when Bonnie Bishop played an acoustic set at LouFest, things were going swimmingly until the last 10 minutes or so, when a band across the festival grounds cranked up its instruments, nearly drowning out Bishop and guitarist Ford Thurston.

"That's the kind of thing that seems to happen to me a lot," Bishop says with a laugh by phone from Nashville, Tenn. "Everything is fine, and then suddenly I'm thrown into these Larry David moments."

At LouFest, Bishop hung in there and sang over the distant din, leading her performance to become more than merely a fine introduction to her excellent, soul-drenched album "Ain't Who I Was." It turned into a metaphor for her revived musical career, which itself is a study in resilience and grace.

Before the album got made, Bishop had spent years playing dance halls in her home state of Texas and criss-crossing the country in a van she drove herself. Then there was another eight years of beating her head against the wall in Nashville.

She had a few things to show for the effort, including a handful of albums that aimed for, but fell short of, success in the world of country music.

And she did catch lightning in a bottle once or twice. Her hero, Bonnie Raitt, recorded "Not 'Cause I Wanted To," a ballad full of hard truths that Bishop wrote with former NRBQ guitarist Al Anderson. The song appeared on Raitt's Grammy-winning 2012 album "Slipstream."

"When I got my publishing deal, I said my No. 1 goal was to have Bonnie Raitt cut one of my songs," Bishop says.

Bishop also placed another tune, "The Best Songs Come From Broken Hearts," on the TV show "Nashville." But such moments were too few and far between, and her career as a performer had stagnated as well.

Burned out and fed up there was a failed marriage in there somewhere, too Bishop enrolled in a master's program in creative writing at Sewanee The University of the South. …

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