Photos credited to Ian Morrall
We asked Steve if he would grant us an interview and this is what he had to say.....
Q - How did you all meet and decide that you wanted to form a band?
A - I (Steve Bonham) have been writing songs for decades and have released 10 albums either solo or as a member of a band, the latest being The Long Road. Since the 1990’s I have been working on various projects with my friend Chris ‘The Bishop’ Lydon a brilliant musician who has worked as an arranger with, amongst others, Beth Chapin Carpenter and Liz Green. John Humphreys joined about 5 years ago, a veteran bluegrass musician who has played all over the UK and also a 28 date residency as the only bearded member of an all-girl country band in Las Vegas. Kev Moore is an old school friend who has been a professional bass player with bands like Saxon, Christie and BC Sweet since he was 17. He met up again with me a few years ago through Facebook and the rest they say is history...
Q - How did you come up with the name of your band?
A - Well the Steve Bonham, is obvious ... The Long Road ? `Well we’ve been travelling along for a long time !
Q - How long have you been writing and performing country music?
A - Well to be honest I don’t know ! My music has been described as Americana, Country, Folk, Roots - and I am quite happy for it to be all those things. What it’s not is English Traditional Folk. I’ve never been whaling, ploughing or transported to Australia so it doesn’t really work for me.
Q - If you could invite the people who have influenced you in your music career to a dinner party, who would you invite?
A - Can I have people who are dead? I mean imagining they were alive, undoubtedly Woody Guthrie. Not a country artist but the early songs of Peter Green such as ‘Man of The World’ have always haunted me, he would have to be there. Johnny Cash and any of the Highwaymen, hey that would be a lively corner of the table! Guy Clark - he was a big hearted man and fabulous songwriter. My friend, the artist Dinny Pocock introduced me to Townes Van Zandt, a piercingly truthful songwriter, he would have to come. Wouldn’t want this meal to get too blokey so Rosanne Cash, her album the River and the Thread got me back into thinking about narrative style songs again, Emmylou of course. Alison Krauss, her album with Robert Plant was a knock out and I saw her at the Ryman Auditorium a couple of years back. And I suspect Bob D would be somewhere in the corner wondering whether to join or not.
Q - If you were to take one well known song and put your own country twist on it, which song would you choose?
A - Blimey this is hard. ( what is a ‘well known’ song!) Do you mean as an existing country song but my version - if so on our last album I loved doing ‘Wayfaring Stranger’ and used to enjoy singing “Till The Rivers All Run Dry. If you mean a non country song in a country style guess I would go with ‘Smoke on The Water’ bluegrass style - John keeps trying to persuade me to have go !
Q - If you had the chance of performing anywhere in the world, Where would your dream venue be?
A - The Ryman Auditorium
Q - What excites you about the British country scene?
A - The sense it is self-propelled. Supposedly supportive institutions like the BBC especially ‘BBC introducing’ don’t know what to do about it ! Country / Americana / and to be fair folk, are patted on the head by the establishment and ignored. I love the fact this music is homemade, culturally subversive and art of ordinary folks.
Q - The British country music scene is growing fast. Each artist having their own take on what country music is to them. How do feel that our music stands up against the music coming out of America at the moment?
A - I don’t think we should see it like this. We are all trying to make great music ‘Americana’ (and I guess country) is a state of mind not a place.
Q - Where do you see British country music in 5 years time?
A - I think there’s is going to be a growing interest in all acoustic music and hopefully less of an ageist spin on things that says young equals new and better ! Musicians and songwriters are like wine the magic takes time to happen and you cant rush it !! I believe country music, Americana, roots etc., will tap into the wider ‘artisan’ movement. People care who played the banjo, the fiddle, the slide - they don’t give a stuff who programmed the computer and turned the drum loop on.
Q - Do you think you will be more accepted in 5 years, when you say you are a British country music artist?
A - Me? No! I am just a grumpy old warrior trying to kick door open and let in a little light!
Where can we find you on social media?
As Steve Bonham on Facebook, twitter and Instagram (usual handle stevebonham01) and my gorgeous website is www.artisan-creative.com