Photograph by Pooneh Ghana

“SONG FOR EWE” is the feature where artists & music people beloved by VELVET SHEEP choose an obscure song they’ve been listening to that day. Today’s guest is the singer/leader of a band from Austin. The music loving collegiate city in Texas hasn’t had much to celebrate lately what with the recent inevitable cancellation of SXSW and the unfortunate story of recklessly hedonistic students heading from its environs to a Miami Spring Break into the eye of a Covid-19 storm they could neither deny nor defy. However there is always light at the end of the tunnel, and although we can’t quite squint it yet, we can hear bright shoots of respite from a new group of daydream believers known as Why Bonnie. Their music is both like  enveloping syrup and soothing emollient – wilfully escapist and best enjoyed loud, with FX pedal to the metal. With a new EP called “Voice Box” ready to be released to this uncertain World on 10 April via the reliably exceptional Fat Possum Records (home to my beloved Royal Trux and also you’d guess kindred spirits to Why Bonnie in Jason Pierce’s Spiritualized), we welcome to these pages your potential new shoegaze hero, Blair Howerton!

First up, from the aforementioned “Voice Box” EP, “Athlete” a promo filmed on VHS to give it that 90s post-grunge, Blockbuster video vibe which is kind of Jay & Silent Bob plays sport…

Blair Howerton had been composing Lush-like dream pop for some time at college but after graduating and returning home to her native Texas she formed Why Bonnie with friend since pre-school Kendall Powell who swapped classical piano for synth and co-opting local Austin playing likely lads Sam Houdek and Chance Williams. A first EP called “In Water” emerged in 2018 on boutique indie label Sports Day Records and was an elegiac paean to her older brother who’d tragically passed away some years earlier. Follow-up “Nightgown” was more expansive and extended the Mazzy Star meets Throwing Muses via MBV palette, and the new one “Voice Box” is another step up – blissfully woozy, full of heart and perfect for summer even if on Lockdown and confined to a hazy backyard suntrap.

But what song has found a place in Blair’s heart lately? Without further ado, this Blair Howerton’s “song for ewe” – a deep cut from a deeply affective and popular artiste on these pages…

“The song “Something On Your Mind” by Karen Dalton was released in 1971 but it’s sound has always felt timeless to me.

Her voice is so heartbreakingly soulful, unique, and almost conversational. It feels so effortless and it’s imperfection is what makes it stand out.

Not only is her voice iconic, but the instrumentation in this song swells into this really beautiful folk orchestra that makes you nostalgic for a time you never lived in.”


The “Voice Box” EP is out on Fat Possum Records and available via this pre-order link:

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