It's no secret that Deni Bonet can rock a violin like nobody's business. Or that she writes memorable songs that make you want to listen again and again and again. For years, Deni has been honing her craft as a violinist, singer, songwriter and performer. She is, simply, a musical total package. Her style ranges from pop to roots-rock to new folk.
Anyone who’s heard her last few albums, especially the fiery, funny and fabulous Last Girl On Earth, and 2013’s It’s All Good, knows that Ms. Bonet brings something extra special to the table. With her latest album, Bright Shiny Objects, it extends to sheer, ultra-high voltage, genre-defying brilliance, with pure classical training and precision playing.
She has performed at some of the most prestigious festivals, performing arts centers, summer concert series, colleges, clubs and house concerts throughout the US and around the world, including a recent sold-out concert at the legendary Carnegie Hall in New York City, concerts on the Great Wall of China, at the United Nations and at the White House for President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and the First Lady. Yet is still happy to play a stripped-down show in a coffeehouse.
Raised in Northern Virginia, Bonet first came to widespread attention as a founding member of National Public Radio’s premier music show, Mountain Stage, where she built a following as a member of the broadcast’s house band; singing and playing in her own right and backing up artists as diverse as the Indigo Girls, Richard Thompson and Allen Toussaint. In the nineties, Bonet relocated to London, where she worked with alternative rock legend, Robyn Hitchcock, including a series of concerts as a duo that won praise from USA Today, The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Boston Globe. She played on Hitchcock’s album Moss Elixir, and even appeared in the Jonathan Demme concert film, Storefront Hitchcock, but eventually decided it was time to go solo.
Moving to New York, Bonet released an initial EP (titled, simply, ‘EP’ ) and then her full-length debut, Bigger Is Always Better. The disc, which featured guest appearances from Hitchcock and The Soft Boys’ Kimberly Rew (writer of Katrina and the Waves' classic hit Walking On Sunshine), garnered rave reviews. The Boston Globe’s Jim Sullivan said“’Sunshine’ … may be the sexiest, sauciest, most life-affirming song of the year,” while All Music Guide gave the album a four-star review and labeled it “a glorious, intelligent hookfest.”
Bonet has hosted her own cable TV show, Duets With Deni, a combination of music and chat featuring a series of all-star guests, which was the subject of a rave Billboard feature. She has performed highly-regarded showcases at CMJ and SXSW, and took her act on the road with Lilith Fair. And she's remained one of the most in-demand session players and sidewomen around, adding her violin to albums by an impressive variety of artists -- from the introspective Sarah McLachlan to techno-metal band Gravity Kills -- and making TV appearances on The Today Show, SNL and Late Night With Conan O’Brien.
With a singular sound The Wall Street Journal calls “Sheryl Crow meets The B-52s,” it's clear why Bonet traded her black recital duds for a pair of go-go boots and an electric blue violin. Rather than ply her trade in an orchestra, she’s found a way to fit her string skills into ultra-hummable alternative pop, which the Journal noted is "catchy as any Top 40 radio song, but with occasional hints of adult depth."
As she established herself as a solo act, Bonet impressed artists like Patti Smith, Lisa Loeb, Gin Blossoms, Cracker, Midnight Oil, The Saw Doctors, Fairport Convention, Marshall Crenshaw and Kansas, all of whom have invited her to open their shows. She spent several years touring the globe as the violinist in Cyndi Lauper’s band - now, how much cooler can it get than that?
But as all good artists should do – and Deni Bonet is no exception – the idea is to grow and show a scope, broader and more expansive than the listener should expect. So it should be no surprise to anyone that Deni has taken her talent as a musician and composer to an even higher plane. One listen to Deni’s newest album, Bright Shiny Objects, and you’ll know this particular record takes on a completely different life and direction.
Recorded in NYC with the cream of New York musicians, including Liberty DeVitto (Billy Joel's drummer of 30 years), Graham Maby (Joe Jackson), Shawn Pelton (SNL, Rod Stewart), Will Lee (Letterman, Mick Jagger), Steve Holley (Paul McCartney), Ben Butler (Chris Botti) and Matt Beck (Matchbox 20), this is her first all-instrumental album and shows off Deni's skills as a virtuoso violin player, composer and arranger.
Carnegie Hall virtuosity intertwined with a rock-club vibe and intimacy. That doesn’t ring your bell? Try Yitzak Perlman playing lead for Nirvana. That should give you some notion that this artist has, indeed, brought something special to the table. Even without the vocals, you can hear the passion and emotion in Deni’s performances.
"In an age where music is coming to be more and more defined by one dimensional labels, Deni's music is timeless, genre defiant, and destined to be around for years to come".
~ All Music Guide
"…she’s a one-woman fireworks display with that instrument, exploding with amazing energy and skill in a manner that just demands you get up and dance."
~John Davy, Flyinshoes Review
"Obviously a gifted musician, Bonet also shines as an emotive singer, and a writer of thoughtful, well-crafted songs ..."
~David Malachowski, Daily Freeman
"I got a burst of sunshine in the mail last weekend from Deni Bonet. If she’s not famous in the next year, the music business is worse than I’ve imagined”
~Fran Fried, Music Editor, New Haven Register