Bonnie & the Clydes Ready New Album of All Original Songs
When singer-songwriter Bonnie Sims was three years old, she dreamed of singing American music on stage. Her dreams were etched in history when, five years later, she saw the Will Rogers Follies. “There was something beyond magical about it for me,” she explained in a recent interview. “I began to realize, I can do this. I can make this music that is being handed down from history.” She felt as though she stood in the wind of something that was sent from America’s musical past. But, it was made urgently present to her in that early childhood moment. This was when the idea evolved to form a posse of bluegrass musicians and call them Bonnie & the Clydes.
Of course, the name was a natural, considering Sims’ origins. Like the real Bonnie & Clyde, the legendary Depression-era outlaws whose film biography helped to launch bluegrass onto the national pop music charts in the 1960s, Sims was a native of Texas.
However, the most important musical headstart of all was that her father, Mike Cruciger, who was a career musician in the Lone Star state. He instilled in her a love for country, bluegrass, and folk music. “My dad is an old ’60s folkie,” she says. “He used play me toddler music when I was small. Then, he would give me music lessons. He showed me how music is handed down through family.”
Sims began playing guitar at 12 years old, and added mandolin two years later. Her reputation as an instrumentalist grew as she played local shows with her father’s band. Her voice also blossomed into an instrument in its own right, with the kind of character and quality that lends itself in equal measures to classic country, bluegrass, folk, and blues.
After she married Taylor Sims, a gifted guitarist and singer-songwriter, Bonnie found her first and most important Clyde. Even more than that, he became a partner and soulmate in her musical journey. “We’ve been writing more together,” she says. “Although our new songs are really personal, we’re beginning to see how we make a career of this. These songs are not [fictional] stories like some writers do so well. They are straightforward and tell my own story.”
With titles like “We Don’t Walk Alone” and “Stand Up and Sing,” they also carry Sims’ own personal life lessons. The latter is an inspiring homage to the power of music in our daily lives.
Bonnie & the Clydes’ albums have included a generous helping of bluegrass and country covers. But their new album, currently in the midst of the final days of a PledgeMusic campaign, consists of all original songs composed by Bonnie and Taylor Sims. If the video sessions on their website are any indication, the songs are filled with sweet and warm reflection around the theme of living creatively in the world today, especially as it relates to making the kind of music that this band has been creating for the last several years.
While there have been a few different lineups in her Clydes, this time out includes some of Colorado’s finest country and newgrass musicians, including multi-stringed-instrumentalist Glen Taylor, bass player Caleb Roberts, and drummer and percussionist Jake Coffin.