I wondered about the title of Tracy Bonham's new album "Masts Of Manhatta". Intriguing, strong, mysterious. Come to find out that it's taken from a phrase from Walt Whitman's poem "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry." "Cross from shore to shore, countless crowds of passengers. Stand up, tall masts of Manhattan! Stand up, beautiful hills of Brooklyn." One of the many unexpected pleasures of encountering Tracy Bonham again -going back to read Walt Whitman again!
It's been five years and a lot of life changes since Bonham's last CD. She got married, got certified as a yoga teacher, moved to Woodstock and now splits her time between her home there and Brooklyn.
Smokey Hormel from Brooklyn's Smokey's Roundup is on guitars with his bass player, Tim Luntsel and drummer Andy Borger, providing the roots backbone to the album. Tchad Blake mixed it.
The record holds together beautifully, with Bonham's sense of humor and strength as a singer and player (violins, Fender Rhodes, guitar, piano, claves, spaghetti pot, cardboard box) filling the tracks. All the years of playing -her early classical training in her native Eugene, Oregon, her time in the early '90's at Berklee and playing in Boston, and her subsequent, short-lived dominance on the alternative scene in the mid 90's all serve her well and make the release one of the best of the late summer, early fall season.