Bonnie Montgomery, Santi Elijah Holley

Bonnie Montgomery

Bonnie Montgomery, a native Arkansan, is a classically trained opera singer by day and a honky-tonk queen by night. In addition to her classic country show, Montgomery composed the modern folk opera, Billy Blythe, about Bill Clinton's childhood.
During the last year, she recorded a live set in New York City for the British radio show "Live at Old School Studios" which was released as an album entitled "Live at the Cake Shop". She also appeared on MSNBC and in the pages of The New Yorker, Huffington Post, The New York Observer, TIME and other publications. "Cruel", a 3-song EP, will be released on the Fast Weapons label out of Portland, Oregon this spring.
A Neo-Romantic Americanist composer, Montgomery is an advocate of bar-opera, where she resides in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Santi Elijah Holley

"Sometimes artists give you a bit of a break from having to decode the zeros and ones of their works. With a name like Blind Bartimaeus—in homage both to the sight-cured roadside beggar from the Gospel of Mark, as well as to sight-hampered blues musicians of the pre-war South—you'd reasonably expect gospel-tinged songs of love and faith. Well, close. Gospel Songs of God & Death, released in December, travels road-tested gospel-folk, with only acoustic guitar and violin to guide it through its dark expanses. Vocalist/guitarist Santi Elijah Holley's whiskey-whispered singing, and ghostly harmonies from Liz Chibucos prove a potent one-two, especially in more upbeat tunes (in tempo, mind you; certainly not lyrically) like "As Cold and Lonesome As the Moon," in which Holley describes a woman with a "Xanax grin and nicotine teeth" over jaunty finger-picked blues. It's a lesson in contrasts, and an easygoing one to boot."

Ryan J. Prado
The Portland Mercury



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