When Los Angeles went into the lockdown, musician Bill Bonk immediately knew how to cheer on his quarantined neighbors in Laurel Canyon.
"I thought: Why not make a concert from my veranda – where all the neighbors could hear a great vintage Music with social distance? Says Bonk, 60, who has toured with artists around the world, including Grant Lee Buffalo, Aimee Mann, Susannah Hoffs, Lisa Loeb, Bonnie Raitt and his dear friend John Prine.
After all, Laurel Canyon has a rich history of music that dates back to the 1960s when Joni Mitchell, Frank Zappa, David Crosby, The Byrds and The Mamas & the Papas first settled in this green enclave in Hollywood Hills , just a few kilometers up the hill from busy Sunset Boulevard.
"It was actually my wife's idea to give these concerts," he admits a few seconds later, referring to his wife Deborah Davis-Bonk, a former marketing manager in the music industry.
"And then when all the neighbors suggested songs, we started working on it," says Bonk. He started his weekly Saturday shows at 7:00 p.m. on April 4 and played five classic songs over 25 minutes each week.
After Bill Withers died, he played his legendary song Lean on Me and after Prine's death he praised Angel From Montgomery a song he knew by heart after he was Prine and accompanied Raitt on hundreds of live shows.
“Mainly cover songs that reflect the history of Laurel Canyon. It just makes sense, ”he explains.
Although he is an accomplished singer and multi-instrumentalist (keyboards, guitar, bass, mandolin, accordion, cello, flute and harmonica), he knew that he couldn't do it alone. He hired his daughter Jas (1
“I'm trying to make it an educational moment for the local kids so they can understand what our neighborhood is about. Feature songs by Joni Mitchell, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and other classical artists who contributed to the creation of Laurel Canyon’s artistic magic.
"I have a large repertoire of my own music from my old band The Brothers Figaro, but at the veranda concerts I find songs that the children like to play and also want to hear from the neighbors."  With one a week By means of word of mouth and face book to growing audiences, Bonk's Saturday night shows have become a valued highlight in the community. A place where you can gather from a distance and maybe drink a martini in a takeaway cup while dancing with your neighbors.
"It is very emotional and heartwarming to see everyone get together and find a little joy in our lives that has been temporarily disabled," says Bonk, a music teacher at the Episcopal School in Los Angeles. His ultimate quarantine playlist? The Byrds Mr. Tambourine Man Jackson Brownes For Everyman Crosby, Stills & Nashs Our House and Joni Mitchells A Case of You .
He promises To continue his veranda concerts as long as he is needed. “I have such a longing for the people who gather here every Saturday evening and are only looking for a connection. Everyone wants to be together, even from a distance. Music is so healing and we have started a great new tradition. “
Music has long been a Canyon custom, he remembers the“ pinprick ”in the 60s and 70s, when the locals selected a new album and everyone opened their windows on Saturday at 7:00 p.m., the needle fell synchronously leave so that it can be heard on the streets. "Apparently the Rolling Stones' Sticky Fingers and Pink Floyd's dark side of the moon were big hits on the Needle Drop."
Bonk's Secret of Aging with Attitude? "Improve yourself every day, learn a new instrument and never grow up."
One of his favorite performances with his daughter Jas is California Dreamin & # 39;, recorded at https://www.youtube.com/watch? v = kiMQcztbtNI
Follow Bill Bonk's weekly Saturday shows at 6 p.m. PST in a live stream at https://www.facebook.com/laurelcanyonporchconcerts/[19659002[19459008‹PIXCREDIT:DaveRygalski