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Bonny Doon

Creating an amiable mixture of folk-rock, alt-country, indie pop, and pastoral psychedelia, Bonny Doon are a band who defy nearly all expectations of how a group from Detroit should sound. Their music is laid-back but not lazy, with a graceful melodic sense and an instrumental blend influenced by 1970s soft rock, infused with a focus and insistence that keeps their work engaging. An understated garage rock accent was audible on early, lo-fi-oriented efforts like 2017's Bonny Doon and 2018's Longwave, while a more polished approach came together on 2023's Let There Be Music. Formed in Detroit in 2014 by Bill Lennox (vocals, guitar), Bobby Colombo (vocals, guitar), Josh Brooks (bass), and Jake Kmiecik (drums), Bonny Doon introduced itself with a four-song 7" EP released by Detroit label Salinas Records later that year. A second EP, this time a five-song cassette called Classical Days and Jazzy Nights, appeared in early 2015 on Fred Thomas' Life Like label. The band would later reconvene with Thomas to record their self-titled full-length debut. A mix of wry and thoughtful introspection and spontaneous guitar pop, Bonny Doon was released by Salinas in March 2017. The album drew the attention of the Woodsist label, which signed the band for their second LP. Built from improvisations during a weeklong stay at remote Mystic Lake in Michigan, 2018's Longwave settled into a more stripped-down, languid version of their sound. It was recorded at Benton Harbor's Key Club Recording with Bill Skibbe and Shelley Salant. Bonny Doon toured extensively in support, sharing stages with Snail Mail, Band of Horses, and Waxahatchee, as well as headlining club shows; six songs from an April 2018 performance at Detroit's Third Man Records were recorded direct to acetate for the 2020 EP Blue Stage Sessions. The group proved simpatico with Waxahatchee, and leader Katie Crutchfield invited Bill Lennox and Bobby Colombo to take part in the sessions that produced the 2020 album Saint Cloud. The members of Bonny Doon also joined Waxahatchee for subsequent live work, but health problems took their toll on the group; Colombo suffered a brain injury and was diagnosed with Lyme disease, while Kmiecik struggled with Crohn's disease. As Colombo and Kmiecik looked after their health, Josh Brooks dropped out of Bonny Doon, and they continued on as a trio. The group struck a deal with noted indie label Anti- Records, which released their third full-length album, 2023's Let There Be Music. The set was their most polished and pop-oriented release to date, though still rooted in the pleasantly relaxed sound that was their trademark.
© Timothy Monger & Marcy Donelson & Mark Deming /TiVo


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