Grammy-winning Bonnie Bishop had left music behind when she got a call from Americana producer Dave Cobb (Chris Stapleton, Sturgill Simpson, Jason Isbell). After 13 years in the music business, Bishop had an awakening one night at 3rd and Lindsley in Nashville as she realized all of her long hard work had been for naught, slowly going broke with no manager or agent. So she headed home to Texas to reassess and ended up applying and getting accepted into the prestigious the University of the South creative writing graduate program. It was while focusing on her writing that Cobb made that fateful calling, praising her for the honesty in her music. Cobb was intrigued and wanted to make an album with Bishop.
Of course, she couldn’t refuse and the result is her sixth album, Ain’t Who I Was, which will release May 27th via Thirty Tigers. Bishop will also be back at 3rd and Lindsley for album release show on May 29th. We’re grateful for Cobb’s intervention as Bishop was a musical talent worth saving with her plainspoken, direct songs of the heart and a warm, deep soulful voice that registers all the pain of a life spent striving through hard times. The gentle grooves of her music and those gorgeous vocals remind one of Dusty Springfield at her best as you’ll hear on the new single “Mercy”.
Bishop tells PopMatters that, “One night we stayed late in the studio—me, Dave, and Matt the engineer—listening to this stack of mix CDs that Paul Kennerly had made for Cobb. We must have listened to a verse and a chorus of about 300 songs before we came across this old Ann Sexton tune called “Have a Little Mercy” that none of us had ever heard. Dave thought my voice would sound killer on it, but I argued with him at first. I thought the song was too easy. That’s when he told me, ‘Music is supposed to be fun, Bonnie.’ After we recorded the song, I was standing there listening to my voice coming back over the studio speakers and I realized Dave Cobb had found the sound I’d been searching for all these years. He just walked in the studio and pulled the soul right outta me.”