The woefully overlooked release “American Hearts”, by AA Bondy is a stellar piece of work, resting on a foundation of superior storytelling, sparse instrumentation, and lines that force the listener to close his eyes and be swept into a world that isn’t pretty, or most times even happy, but full of despair, pain and unreturned love. This record deserves repeated plays, as more of the story is revealed each time. Each song never rises above a whisper, yet still manages to engulf the listener in their own memories of broken hearts and homes. There are stories of bad love, “ Black Rain”, and tales of family strife, “How Will I Meet Your End”, and more ambiguous religious tomes, “ Rapture”. This record will enthrall purists interested in dark, brooding, serious singer songwriter albums. The only way I could have enjoyed this record any more is if I had first heard it on a dusty backlit jukebox in a small dark diner where you don’t order your food, the owner knows what you’re having. And exactly what you want to hear.
After playing phone tag while he worked on his car, I talked with him recently. He may be more recognizable to Birmingham fans as the leader of local favorite, Verbena, under the more accessible name Scott.
Why did you leave Birmingham?
I had to go. There were no bridges left.
What happened with Verbena?
We were caught in the waters of a big corporation. I think successful records happen because of two things, timing and people working really hard to make it successful. We had neither. Weird thing.
What was the inspiration for the opener on your new album, “How Will I Meet Your End”?
I wrote it in my driveway. It may have been influenced by a Cormac McCarthy book I was reading. You get a line, and build everything around it. I really don’t know what was at work, really.
How about Black Rain?
I don’t know. I have a hard time explaining what happens with these songs. Like, if I see a painting, I don’t want to know what context I’m supposed to use to look at it. There are really literal kinds of music, but I don’t have an affinity for it. People should make up their own minds.
Okay, that was the shortest Q & A in history. Nonetheless, I am in awe of this new album. Even thought Mr. Bondy was not exactly the most loquacious artist I’ve ever encountered, his album speaks for him. Works for me.