Jim Bonar returns. Jim who? And what is he about? At the wrong side of 30 he is releasing his second solo album FULL CIRCLE on his own Black Tie label, a belated follow up to 1995's BLUEBOY. With a style described by NZ author Steven J. Garland as 'an introspective mixture of Beatles influenced melodies and the classic pop song' this announces Jim's return to the public eye after an absence of nearly ten years, the last seven having been spent in London. A singer, songwriter, musician and author, Jim Bonar has been involved in many musical endeavors over the years - band membership, production, journalism and artist development. A choice vocalist, he specializes in harmonies and counts amongst his instruments the drums, guitar and piano. Jim Bonar's major influence is The Beatles, with whom he credits as shaping his outlook on music and life in general. Other artists he admires include Neil Young, AC/DC, Sheryl Crow and Neil Finn - although these are just a small sample of his many influences. Outside of the rock sphere he also has a special feeling for the sounds of the late '50's era Capital Records artists Frank Sinatra and Peggy Lee. Pre Castro Latin Cuban music also fills another groove. Jim Bonar's debut album BLUE BOY, released in 1995 disappeared largely without trace despite favourable reviews. Respected critic Nick Bollinger, writing in the NZ Listener praised his 'strong melodic skills' and a comparison to US singer Freedy Johnston (Elektra Records). Pavement Magazine noted Jim's singing: 'he has a voice you can't help but love' and 'would be worth a support billing with The Beatles circa '64'. Born and raised in Auckland, Jim Bonar grew up in a musical household, his father a piano player and his mother a singer. His friends at Dilworth School included Darryl Lovegrove (Jesus Christ Superstar) and Marshall Bird (Stereophonics/Tom Jones production). Together they formed their first band, the nucleus becoming Third Wave, which in 1984 had a regular gig at (now) Hollywood actor Russell Crowe's (then known as Russ le Roq) nightclub 'The Venue' in Symonds Street, Auckland. With a sound described by Rip it Up magazine as 'nuclear age surfing rock' the promising group effectively imploded after Crowe stole their lead guitarist Dean Cochrane. A few years later Jim Bonar had swapped his drumsticks for the guitar and was maturing into a credible singer/songwriter. From 1992 to 1996 he was front man for the popular Celtic band Twisty Willow whose album Darkness in the Sky produced by Nick Abbott at York Street's Studio 2 featured eight Bonar originals. After being elected to the Australasian Performing Rights Association (APRA) during the tumultuous Britpop summer of '96, Jim Bonar moved to London. Living in a small bed-sit in St John's Wood NW8, and armed only with his guitar and dreams, he continued down that lonely road that all unknown artists face - that of an uncertain and unknown future - but maintaining a strong self belief and perserverance. As Bonar himself reflects, 'that year was compared to 1966, the ground breaking year in swinging London. It was a truly exciting place to be.' Forming the r'n'b influenced quartet Lounge, Jim Bonar continued on his musical odyssey which had as many highs as it did lows. Unreleased recordings from that time included the all out sleazy rock attack of 'I Need You', the startling Beatlesque 'Maharashi Picture' to the beautiful poem like 'A Romeo (in a picture show)'. Lounge were unstoppable performing live, regularly playing at Rosie's Music Club on the Fulham Road and at The Bull and Gate in Kentish Town. One memorable night in some London saloon they even found themselves jamming with the Crash Test Dummies. Fortunately no recordings or recollections exist from this encounter, though apparently a good time was had by all. On a darker note however, the band were victims of a cruel record company deal hoax and this, coupled with internal tensions and increasing musical frustrations inevitably meant meltdown. Lounge for all of their personality and potential, were suffering an identity crisis and by 1999 it was all over. Taking time out to reflect, Jim Bonar, having lost the safety net of his band decided on a drastic change of life by swapping his black shirt for a black naval jacket and opting for a life on the high seas, temporarily reinventing himself as a Purser working on cruise ships. Along the way, (and with thanks to a friendly sound technician), a selection of his songs were used as in-house entertainment on board the famous cruise ship, Pacific Princess. When on leave he would return to London and record newly written songs, which still continued his basic theme - that of a continued exploration of his inner self coupled with an often simplistic yet engaging outlook on everyday life. By 2004 Bonar felt the need and desire to return to New Zealand though he was in for subtle shock when he did finally arrive. In his own words he felt 'like as a stranger in my own land. I didn't seem to know anyone anymore. Everyone had moved on, gotten older. I noticed such a change.' Little wonder when he'd been away from home for eight years. So, after four long years of frustration but continued optimism and energy the album Full Circle was finally completed. Featuring 13 brand new songs with various differing styles the recording is dedicated to Jim's hero, George Harrison. Of noted interest is the title song, 'Full Circle' which was produced by Jim's lifelong friend Marshall Bird (Stereophonics, Tom Jones). Jim Bonar continues to write and record new material and looks forward to introducing his music across the world to new fans and to anyone else who enjoys a classic style pop tune.
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