Karla Bonoff continues tradition of performing at colleges

Singer-songwriting Karla Bonoff took the stage last week in the Meridian Ballroom as part of SIUE’s Arts and Issues series, but playing at colleges is nothing new for the southern California native.

“Ever since we [began] back in the ’70s we’ve always played colleges. One of the first big tours I did with Jackson Browne was all colleges,” Bonoff said. “And at that time we were really playing to people our own age pretty much. We were in our 20s, but we continue to do that I think it’s just part of [the tours]. I never really thought why… We do clubs, colleges, theaters, just a mixture.”

Bonoff said every show – from the audience to the venue – is something “completely different.”

“Some colleges even have little cabaret rooms now. We’ve gone to colleges and played little club settings, this is more of an auditorium type thing,” Bonoff said. “But they just vary from place to place. Nothing’s ever the same.”

Bonoff pulled out a variety of tunes for her SIUE performance, including “Baja Oklahoma,” “Rose in the Garden” and “Tell Me Why,” which was recorded by country star Wynonna Judd.

Judd and other country artists such as Linda Ronstadt have recorded Bonoff’s songs. Bonoff said it is “always a little awkward” hearing someone else sing her songs.

“It never sounds like you hear it sounding, but I feel like I’ve been kind of fortunate that for the most part they’ve been done by really great artists and they’ve interpreted them really well,” Bonoff said. “… [But] there’s an odd feeling of a kind of letting it go.”

The ‘it’ moment for Bonoff – when she finally felt like she made it – came when Ronstadt recorded three songs for the 1976 album “Hasten Down the Wind.” – “Lose Again,” “If He’s Ever Near” and “Someone to Lay Down Beside Me.”

“Nobody had ever done my songs before, and I never had a record out or anything,” Bonoff said. “That was sort of me going from about 15 years old to about 24, 25 writing, working and writing and then finally having something big happen and she was kind of at a pinnacle in her career right at that time.”

Bonoff also performed “Woman to Woman,” “The Water is Wide” and “All My Life,” which is recognized as one of the top five most popular wedding songs.

When Bonoff first got into the music industry, she said she was “trying to do it all,” though she is more known today as a songwriter.

“At the same time I was learning to write and learning to sing and play and my heroes were doing it all, so I was hoping to do it all,” Bonoff said.

The next Arts and Issues event will feature La Familia Valera Miranda at 7:30 p.m. April 4 at Dunham Hall Theater.


Be Sociable, Share!

Filed Under: General CAS StoriesHappenings

Tags: , , , , ,

Comments are closed.

Switch to our mobile site