Bonnie Montgomery is a creative nomad, lauded as enthusiastically for her polished parlor songs as she is for her lawless country barnburners — or for the classical opera arias she’s penned at the piano.
With roots in White County, Arkansas and a firm foothold on forward-thinking audiences in Texas and around the world, Montgomery is armed with a poet’s phrasing, a soprano’s crystalline timbre and a revolutionary’s spirit, and her repertoire ranges wherever it damn well pleases — from high romantic ballads swaddled in violins to fiery anthems of dissent to spaghetti western-inspired vignettes.
Dale Watson called her “a sophisticated badass who was born to sing.” Counterpunch Magazine hailed her operatic compositions as “white trash arias, soaked in alcohol and sex.”
Her 2016 short-length opera about Bill Clinton’s youth in Hot Springs has earned accolades from The New Yorker and Huffington Post, and her second full-length album “Forever” drew praise from Paste magazine for its “timeless songwriting.”
Montgomery secured the title of 2020 Entertainer of the Year with the Arkansas Country Music Awards, ACMA 2019 Americana/Roots Artist of the Year, the title of Outlaw Female at the 2016 Ameripolitan Awards and the titles of Best Americana Artist and Best Female Vocalist at the 2018 Arkansas Country Music Awards.
As a classical composer, her opera, Billy Blythe, about the teenage years of Bill Clinton growing up in Arkansas, took the classical world by storm, getting worldwide coverage from dozens of networks and news sources from the BBC to CNN. The opera had its world premiere at Opera Ithaca after developmental workshop performances in Arkansas and New York City and has gone on to be performed by opera companies and colleges and universities around the country.
Her vocal work for two voices, piano and steel guitar, “Song Beyond Words: A Vocalise”, was commissioned for Carnegie Hall in 2019 and has gone on to be recorded and released as a music video which has played film festivals around the world. It is featured on the virtual album CALL OUT, a celebration of female composers originally scheduled for Carnegie Hall by celebrated Broadway and Metropolitan Opera star Zachary James. The composition is the first to use steel guitar in an operatic medium.
Montgomery has supported major acts in the US and abroad, including The Gossip, Billy Jo Shaver, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Ramblin Jack Elliot, Hayes Carll, Sturgill Simpson, Chris Stapleton, Shovels and Rope, Joe Ely, and many more.
And, with two singles produced by rockabilly legend Rosie Flores with debuts on Sirius XM’s Outlaw Country, and a touring collaboration with Texas troubadour Ray Wylie Hubbard in her rearview mirror, Montgomery’s leaving little doubt that she’s a master in the making — a charismatic collaborator, a commanding bandleader and a prolific, sensitive conduit for big ideas about beauty, defiance and power.
With a new album ready for release and a new catalogue of classical music soon to be premiered, Montgomery continues on – with effortless diversity – to pioneer a modern, post-genre world, while staying firmly grounded in the New South.