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Feature /// Alyssa Bonagura

L/S caught up with Alyssa Bonagura at Pilgrimage Festival to talk about her debut LP, 'Road Less Traveled' and preview her album release show at 3rd & Lindsley on September 28th.

alyssa-bonagura-pilgrimageIt’s a great time to be Alyssa Bonagura –after splitting her time cutting tracks for the likes of Steven Tyler and Jana Kramer (amongst many others), she just dropped a stellar new record, Road Less Traveled, and is coming off a fantastic Pilgrimage Festival performance, but her set wasn’t the, she was still on cloud nine after witnessing an exhilarating set from Brit-proto punk reivalists, The Struts. “They were so amazing… It was like watching the Stones meets Freddie Mercury!”

Live shows are something Bonagura draws plenty of influence from, be it from others or from herself – she looks to acts like The Struts to help further solidify her on stage confidence and persona – “Its inspiring to see somebody command stage like that… It just makes you want to do better.” When prompted about whether or not she ever finds her observational envy turning into hard-wrought imitation, she offers her some sage insight – “I think that we all [copy] each other. And I think that’s the coolest thing about music… Because if you listen to The Beatles, they were doing old doo-wop stuff, which was so cool! So I always love being inspired by a live show, and I think that sometimes it can be hard to find an actual inspiring live show. So I get a little braver when I see someone like The Struts on stage, because I’m like ‘Oh, he’s doing it, so maybe I can get the crowd to chime in like that!’”

Pilgrimage marked Bonagura’s first time performing tracks from Road Less Traveled since the album’s release, but it wasn’t the first time ever – the last time she played the album live was in December of last year for Lightning 100, but otherwise she’s been out on the road with her other project Sisterhood (which is well worth a listen) in the UK. But her upcoming CD release show at 3rd & Lindsley will be all Alyssa the entire evening, as it will mark her first time playing her record front to back in its entirety since way back in December of 2015.

While Alyssa’s live set is reason enough to come, the CD itself is a thing of beauty, as Alyssa finally gets to fulfill a long time desire of having an intricate and unique album packaging that would make even the most fanciful of artists green with envy. “When you open it up, it looks like a DVD case, but its just a CD, but with all this astrology and astrological symbols that I drew a lot of, along with cards that pull out and have different pictures of me and the song lyrics on the back. Its something interactive for people while they’re listening to the music.”

While the CD casing is certainly an enticing aspect of attending Bonagura’s CD release show at 3rd & Lindsley on Wednesday, September 27, the opportunity to see her live set in full should be more than enough reason to stay. Besides, this will be the last time for the rest of the year anyone in Nashville will be able to see Alyssa’s live solo set, as she and Sisterhood are headed back out to the UK this winter as tour support for Rod Stewart. Doors at 6, show at 7.

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