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Bonerama

Hard Times

(Highsteppin' Productions; US: 29 Sep 2009; UK: 29 Sep 2009)

The decade-old Bonerama is the brainchild of Craig Klein and Mark Mullins, both of whom used to play in Harry Connick’s band. A weekly side residence at Tipitina’s turned into a gathering of trombones, which in turn became the four trombone-strong Bonerama (with one channeled through a guitar amp and wah-wah pedal for good measure). Not surprisingly, its sound is huge, a veritable wall of sound, and the band puts it to good use, mixing a blend of funk, rock, and jazz that rolls right over you. Bonerama also knows how to grab one’s attention with covers like the Edgar Winter Group’s “Frankenstein”, the Beatles’ “Helter Skelter”, Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs”, and Led Zeppelin’s “The Ocean”.


The five-song Hard Times EP marks the band’s first studio effort (the only live track being a closing version of Bobby “Blue” Bland’s “Turn on Your Love Light”), and it doesn’t disappoint. This time, the band covers Zeppelin’s version of “When the Levee Breaks” and gets quite a bit of steam going in the process. “Lost My House”, co-written with the Radiators’ Dave Malone, addresses the state of New Orleans after the levees broke, and “Folly” lets the band stretch out for a good instrumental run.

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Andrew Gilstrap is a freelance writer living in South Carolina, where he's able to endure the few weeks each year that it's actually freezing (swearing a vow that if he ever moves, it'll be even farther south). Aging into a fine curmudgeon whose idea of heaven is 40 tree-covered acres away from the world, he increasingly wishes he were part of a pair of twins, just so he could try being the kinda evil one on for size. Musically, he's always scouring records for that one moment that makes him feel like he's never heard music before, but he long ago realized he needs to keep his copies of John Prine, Crowded House, the Replacements, Kate Bush, and Tom Waits within easy reach.


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Bonerama, "When the Levee Breaks" (live)
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