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Just when she thought it was all over, Texan singer-songwriter Bonnie Bishop found herself rising from the rubble again. Ain’t Who I Was, released on May 27, is Bishop’s latest album and a departure from the country-rock career that had left her looking for a considerable shift in her sound. Bishop stopped by the Paste Studio to perform four tracks off the LP, as well as a cover of John Prine’s “Angel from Montgomery.”
Bishop considers herself a storyteller above all else, and her new songs truly attest to that sentiment. With the help of Grammy award-winning producer, Dave Cobb, Bishop resurfaces from her hiatus and delivers the stories behind her transformational arc with a Memphis-soul flourish.
Bishop accesses the choir girl vocals from her days in Mississippi, seamlessly assimilating into soul with the spiritual sway and blues rhythms of “Mercy.” Her rendition of a song by bluesman Boyd Rivers, “Done Died,” encapsulates her Lady Lazarus moment as she croons, “I done died one time / Ain’t gonna die no more.” In her milestone track, “Ain’t Who I Was,” she recalls the exhaustive measures she had taken to to make her prolific stretch as a country performer last and the bouts of hopelessness that she faced on the road.
Luckily, all of her efforts were not done to no avail. Bishop is back and as she reconciles with her past and envisions her return as a full-time musician, she leaves us dewy-eyed and longing for what’s to come.