Why Bonnie is an indie rock quintet from Texas. To celebrate the release of their debut record 90 in November — out this Friday on Keeled Scales — each of them have shared with us a couple songs that make them proud to be from the Lone Star State. Check out the record later this week, and until then, enjoy their playlist below!
— Annie Fell, Editor-in-chief, Talkhouse Music
Blair Howerton (vocals, guitar)
Selena — “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom”
If you’re from Texas, you know Selena — her music and her story. Known as the “Queen of Tejano music,” she built so many bridges within the industry during the early ‘90s, both musically and culturally. She played with her family band, which consisted of her siblings and husband. They incorporated elements of traditional Tejano music, pop, and reggae to create a sound that was truly unique and loved by millions. She was an icon taken far too soon, but her legacy still lives on. Especially in Texas.
Kacey Musgraves — “Oh, What a World”
I will never get over this album. It scratches every pop country itch while still being hard to pin down. The production is top notch and the songwriting is simple yet so sincere. It’s pretty impossible for me to pick a favorite song from the album, but I do love that Kacey wrote this one after taking mushrooms at Bonnaroo. No other modern country artist would boldly admit that, which I find very badass.
Kendall Powell (keys)
13th Floor Elevators — “Livin’ On”
Growing up, my sisters and I loved the Nuggets compilation albums, which was definitely my lifeline to the 13th Floor Elevators, Captain Beefheart, et. al., and later influenced my love for Patti Smith. In high school, I would blast this song and “Barnyard Blues” with the windows down as I left the school parking lot (I thought I was so cool). To this day, Bull of the Woods is probably one of my most played albums in my house, which I proudly got autographed by Roky Erickson at Waterloo Records in my early college days. Having lived in Austin for so long, I’ve been fortunate enough to see both Roky perform solo and with the 13th Floor Elevators — memories I won’t soon forget.
St. Vincent — “Strange Mercy”
St. Vincent has always been an influence of mine, in her aesthetic, her distorted jazz guitar, and ability to apply order to truly wild musical arrangements. It’s hard to choose any one song, since there probably isn’t another artist I sing more loudly to in my car. In fact, the first time I ever took a voice lesson, I used this song to help build my confidence singing live. Listening to her now to find a few words to write, I feel the urge to get to work on my synth, haha.
Sam Houdek (guitar)
“Calling Thermatico”— Centro-Matic
Centro-Matic are a North Texas gem. Will Johnson (a fellow Keeled Scales-er) is a true poet, but his verses are buried inside these massive Americana ballads. Everything about Centro-Matic sounds LOUD, while maintaining a beauty and twang that is really uniquely Texan. The way Centro-Matic wrangle massive drums, wall of sound guitars, and tender songwriting into cohesive, beautiful recordings is immensely inspiring. This track (and entire record) is “shoegazeicana” at its finest.
“Courage” — Charlie Martin
I’ve probably listened to his record more than any other in the last year. It came out not too long after I’d moved to Brooklyn, and any time I’m feeling homesick I throw it on. Charlie is a dear friend and an incredible songwriter with a knack for big time hooks. I feel like I perpetually have a song from this record stuck in my head. This song does such a good job of capturing the confusion, abandon, and courage (haha) it takes to try to make a living out of your art; and always reminds me that, at the end of the day we’re doin it for ourselves and the people we love, and any other success is just an added bonus.
Chance Williams (bass)
At the Drive-In — “Pickpocket”
My first introduction to At the Drive-In was a Lettermen set my Dad showed me. I got extremely hooked, but it took me a second to realize they were from El Paso. Once that clicked it all flowed: They referenced Austin in lyrics, they had endless bootleg YouTube videos of them playing Dallas in the ‘90s. They constantly talked in interviews of how they were discounted because of where they came from, but also how Texas gave them everything in terms of a cultural identity and DIY ethos. My first tours ever were ones I booked just through Texas at 19, and it 100% was because of this band. At the Drive-In were a turning point for me, a band that made me realize you don’t have to be a rockstar — being an artist is enough.
Crisman — “Ocean”
Crisman is easily one of my favorite bands in Texas right now. Maddie’s songs walk a perfect line of playful but super thoughtful, and live they just hit in a way that gets me stoked every time I see it. When I moved to Austin after high school, I didn’t think Dallas had a lot going on in terms of music I was actually interested in. Crisman was a part of a Denton-Dallas conversational scene that felt super invigorating every time I came home. Every time I saw them, I got more excited about what was going on back home. They’re a band that makes me proud to be from Texas.
Josh Malett (drums)
Lomelda — “Columbia River”
This song really reminds me of my time living in Texas. I used to listen to it a lot while driving on the highway and just getting lost in my thoughts. Hannah manages to condense these heady ideas of loneliness and longing in concise images that consistently bring me to tears. She’s one of the strongest songwriters in Texas, and I’d say in the country at this point. It’s extra special since we recorded at Lazy Bones Studio out in Silsbee with Hannah’s brother, Tommy Read. So this song will always have a special place in my heart and remind me of making our record.
Power Trip — “Executioner’s Tax (Swing of the Axe)”
I’ve always loved heavy music. I’m inspired by the energy and rawness that bands like Power Trip put into their live shows and I try to let that energy influence how I play drums, if not in style but in approach. This song is pure energy and has a simplicity to it that you just can’t help but bang your head along to. This is another band that I had the good fortune of catching a few times while I lived in Texas and I’ll always remember seeing Power Trip just kill it on their home turf. (RIP Riley)