Michael Buckner | Frazer Harrison, Getty Images Now this is a collaboration that…
- Posted on Dec 10th 2009 12:00PM by Kenneth Partridge
He was kidding about Springsteen, but the ramblin' Alabama-bred singer-songwriter did get some help from his friends, two members of similarly plaintive strummer Elvis Perkins' backing band. Those players, a trombonist and bass-drum whacker -- both bearded, naturally -- fueled the wooly freak-out that was 'Killed Myself When I Was Young,' a distortion-heavy departure from Bondy's usual moody-troubadour fare.
Generally, Bondy is in thrall to Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan, and even if at one point he mocked Springsteen, joking about the rocker's overuse of such words as "Mary," "Wendy" and "work" -- "His last album was called 'Working on Some Work,' Bondy quipped -- his style of harmonica playing betrays a familiarity with 'Thunder Road.'
"We've been talking mad s--- all over the place," Bondy admitted earlier in the evening, reflecting on a run of shows that began in Berlin, Germany. While out of the country, he managed to keep up with college football, and he praised the University of Alabama for capturing this year's NCAA Southeastern Conference title. Not that he watched the games too closely.
"I don't even care about football," the singer said, his snug work shirt cuffed at the elbows, revealing thin, sinewy arms that might qualify him for punting, though not much else. "I just like their colors."
Alabama, of course, is famous for wearing crimson, the same color Bondy uses to describe the swimming "angels" in 'Mightiest of Guns,' the tune that opens his latest album, 'When the Devil's Loose,' and that started Wednesday's show. Bondy sang the song as he did most others in his set, with a stoic drawl capable of rising from low mumble to clarion bellow.
Such a delivery is just right for songs about highways and trains, and he even did right by Hank Williams' 'I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry,' a country classic that, thanks to this tour, may no longer apply to Bondy's life.
"We're starting to feel there's some nice people in the world," Bondy said at the end of the night, soaking in the Bowery love.