Black Bone Child
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Black Bone Child

Austin, Texas, United States

Austin, Texas, United States
Band Alternative Rock


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Three-Bean Salad Blues"

A frosty-haired woman resembling the one who taunted Henry Chinaski in Barfly stares at the band, barely moving her hips. Friends and family crowd the stage, tapping on cameras. Black Bone Child's trek from Austin — a homecoming for two members — feels triumphant. Bookings are solid, and the band's releases have been lauded by blogs and journals. Women who can probably mix a mean three-bean salad approach the stage in shorts, heels, and other rock 'n' roll duds. As a Bo Diddley riff opens sinewy stomper "Be Your Man," I flash on blues purist Seymour's reaction to the bar band in Ghost World. Seymour would undoubtedly be dismayed by BBC's unflagging supply of the kind of bump-and-grind to which I'm hesitant to react — hey, I don't want to be mistaken for a pole dancer.

Beer slopping from the tanker in his hand, a guy in a tie-dye tee shouts, "Yeah! Yeaah! THAT's what I'm talkin' about." Although everything's intense, songs like "Light Up the Sky" invite even more screams from the audience. "Light Up" has the kind of delayed shuffle propelling Human League's "Rock 'n' Roll" into reptilian splendor. Mostly, BBC burns too urgently for delays. Like a passel of hot-blooded southerners, it makes a good case for honorary induction — if not into Mississippi citizenship, at least unto the arms of Fat Possum. Kenneth's machine-gun harp and Donny's manic electric slide would sit well next to R.L. Burnside (effects version) or Jon Spencer. Hell, I wouldn't be surprised to see BBC give ZZ Top a run for its money.
- Mary Leary - The San Diego Reader

"Black Bone Child Alligator"

Releasing two albums on the same day is usually the preserve of either the megastar (Bruce Springsteen, Kiss), or the slightly misguided (ehhh...Bruce Springsteen, Kiss), however Austin Texas duo come four piece Black Bone Child have taken this feat upon themselves. Having completely missed out on BBC's debut release, my first instinct was to be wary of any band willing to add their name to that list. However with Alligator and Take You Blind (reviewed elsewhere), the reasons behind the dual release become completely clear and, it has to be said, fully merited. Whilst Alligator is BBC in full flow racing through some tremendous bluesy inspired rock and roll, Take You Blind is the main duo in the group Donny James and Kenneth M. Stripped back to an acoustic twosome.

So concentrating on Alligator: what you get here is eleven tracks of high energy, raucous and roll that shakes, rattles and steamrolls you into a quick submission and before you know where you are, you'll be hollering along to the hand clapping, foot stomp of "True Love Too Late" or scowling your way through the menacing march of "This Disease". "Turn It Up" makes it time to break out the air harmonica, and hand slap the table within an inch of its life as your bass drum foot comes dangerously close to pounding a hole through the floorboards.
The more this Alligator spins, the catchier and more infectious it becomes and within the space of three or four listens the whole album has a warmth that makes listening to the songs more like welcoming old friends round for a rabble rousing blues infused jam session where the drink flows freely.
I've only picked out three tracks, however in truth any of the songs included here are worthy of praise and the good time, yet remarkably non-throwaway rock that Black Bone Child throw out with ease, must be stunning to witness live. Time to seek out that debut album I think, as I want to get me more Black Bone Child!

Track Listing
1. Run Away
2. Be Your Man
3. You Oughta Know
4. Baby Baby
5. Little Bird
6. True Love Too Late
7. Turn It Up
8. Flames Are Warm
9. What I Know Ain't Right
10. This Disease
11. Devil's Teeth - Steven Reid -

"Black Bone Child To Release Two CD's Simultaneously"

Austin's most talked about music duo Black Bone Child, whose debut album from last year garnered rave reviews worldwide from fans and critics alike, are back with not one but two new CDs scheduled for release on March 9th.
The partnership of Donny James and Kenneth M has yielded a fusion of styles that has been captivating audiences across the US. Between an exciting fresh take on slide guitar and driving distorted bass lines, this energetic and rhythmically based rock is sure to keep the dance floors packed and listeners hanging on every note. And now Black Bone Child has done it again with their two new albums.

The first of the two entitled 'Alligator,' is a swampy, sweaty, and sexy celebration of rock as it should be. Fully electric and ready to party, 'Alligator' delivers the same carefree vibe as the debut, but with a higher dose of energy. The other half of BBC's two disc release entitled 'Take You Blind,' is a complete departure from the fully electric sound. Stripped down to just acoustic, harmonica, percussion, and vocals 'Take You Blind' is sparse sonicly, but hardly lacking. Songs like "Baby Baby" and "By My Hand" exemplify the vibe of this stripped down fun and groove oriented album. The albums together, although very different from each other, maintain a cohesive sound that is undeniably Black Bone Child.

"Our first of the two records 'Take You Blind' is bit of a departure from our regular rock-n-roll electric sound," says Kenneth M. "It's stripped down but still full. We wanted to capture the 'porch' sound of us just sitting outside playing these songs acoustically to just bring a whole new perspective on what it is that we do. Our biggest fear in doing this was that it would turn out to be just a boring album of acoustic versions done poorly, but the new format has breathed a fresh air onto some older songs as well as fresh interpretations of songs from our other new record 'Alligator.' On the contrary to 'Take You Blind,' 'Alligator' is a fully electric album more from the vain of our first album, but more guitar driven and 'rocked out.' We tried to capture the more live element of the band with this record. We tracked the album live in the studio with our live band, which didn't exist during the sessions for our first album. The result has been a more explosive, energized performance which translated to the other side of the microphone and into the final product. People should look for a no holds, electric, enegized, example of rock and roll in its purest form. We are pretty proud of both, and to present them together shows a diversity in us that many bands today haven't shown yet. It's an exciting release for us." "We spent the majority of the winter in the studio," adds Donny James. "The two records were recorded pretty much during the month of November. The goal was to have a recording that represented what the live band sounds like and have one that went into other areas that we hadn't touched on before."

In the spring of 2008 Black Bone Child self-produced their eponymous debut album at White Door Studios in Austin. The result is a product that showcases not only BBC's songwriting and playing abilities, but also their talents from the other side of the microphone as engineers and producers with even their eye for graphic design. With the acquisition of Steve Hudson (live drums) and Jason King (live guitar), Black Bone Child hit the live music scene in Austin in the fall of 2008. Within 2009, the band established themselves as one of the premier Rock bands in Austin. Touring incessantly, playing over 100 dates, multiple regional tours, and two national tours has chiseled the band into a live force to be reckoned with; with 2010 showing no signs of slowing down.

"Black Bone Child is an exciting new group and one of my favorite discoveries of the summer. A little Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, a little Black Keys, a little blues, and still distinctive, dynamic, and original." - Shadoe Stevens ( - Los Angeles, CA)

"I still love the first record that we did," says Donny. "It was so exciting because it was so new. I love the fact that we didn't come out with two new albums that sound exactly the same as the first one. The thing I enjoy most about the new stuff is that it shows diversity and gives our fans something new, a fresh look at what they know as Black Bone Child. Both records are light-hearted and energetic, open up the cover to 'Alligator' and you'll get the picture." "If the first album is the toe tap, 'Alligator' is the fist pump, and 'Take You Blind' is the hand clap," adds Kenneth. "If that makes any sense at all."

In support of the two new Black Bone Child releases, Kenneth, Donny, Steve and Jason will be performing several select dates:

March 19 - Austin, TX Threadgills Opening for Bob Schneider (DURING
SXSW) 11:30PM
April 2 - Dallas, TX TBA
April 3 - San Angelo, TX The Deadhorse 9pm
April 9 - Austin, TX Encore 9pm
April 23 - Tyler, TX - Click's 9pm
April 24 - Jackson, MS - The Ole Tavern 9pm w/The Bad Reeds
April 30 - Austin, TX - Midnight after party for The Dead Weather (Jack White's new band) at Stubb's

"The live band is in top form, we are putting on our most energetic, tight shows of our career, and just having a blast," says Kenneth. "We all just love doing this and I think it shows when we play."

And what does the future hold for Black Bone Child? "We are all looking forward to getting out on the road again and representing this release in multiple cities," says Kenneth. "After all we are a band and the best thing bands do are play. It is great to be in the studio and put out a physical representation, but the band belongs on the road performing it." "We are all dying to hit the road again and deliver a good old fashion rock 'n' roll show from Austin to the rest of the Nation," Donny concludes.

Black Bone Child's 'Alligator' and 'Take You Blind' CDs are available through the band's website, iTunes, Rhapsody, Amazon MP3 and many other on and off-line vendors. -

"Black Bone Child Take You Blind"

Black Bone Child’s Alligator disc (reviewed in this same issue of Music Street Journal) showcased a blues heavy, hard rock sound that’s well rooted in the classic rock traditions. Well, in many ways this album is the same. The difference is, it’s all acoustic based. Once more, there are no molds being broken or genre being shattered, but it’s just potent music that should appeal to a wide range of people – well done!

Track by Track Review

Baby Baby
They open things up with a killer, acoustic slide blues and mouth harp type of jam. This feels a lot like some of the stuff Zeppelin used to do. They power it up and intensify it a bit, but this really seems like it could have come from Zeppelin’s third album – mind you with some different vocals.

By My Hand
More pure blues, this is even more thoroughly acoustic in delivery. The vocals are a bit on the raw side in terms of lyrics, but this is a great cut.

Tell Me I'm Wrong
Maintaining the acoustic approach, this one is more of a classic rock tune. I’m not saying that there’s no blues in it, but it’s a lot less blues oriented than the first couple tracks.

The Flames Are Warm
This reminds me a lot of Led Zeppelin’s redition of Robert Johnson’s “Traveling Riverside Blues”. It’s high energy, very blues oriented and quite acoustic.

Here’s another that has that acoustic guitar meets classic rock approach. It’s catchy and quite tasty. The vocal arrangement on this is the best part of the track.

Ask For Forgiveness
An even more stripped back acoustic blues number, this is quite compelling.

Time Pass Me By
Another energized, acoustic based classic rock sounding piece with a basis in blues, this is strong.

Dying For Your Love
Normally I don’t think keeping the slowest and mellowest piece for the last slot is a good idea. Somehow, in this instance, it works. This is an emotional acoustic rock ballad. - Gary Hill - Music Street Journal

"Black Bone Child Alligator"

These guys lay down a smoking version of killer hard rock with plenty of retro stylings. Their sound at times makes you think of different bands like Led Zeppelin, Clutch and the Black Crowes. Nothing here is earth shattering or genre bending. It’s just killer classic rock tinged hard edged rock and roll. And there’s nothing wrong with that. This is a great disc that never gets tiresome or feels redundant.

Track by Track Review

Run Away
This pounds in with a healthy dosage of near metal meets classic rock. It’s got a great retro sound, but yet still feels modern. It is a little like something from Velvet Revolver.

Be Your Man
Another smoking retro rocker, this is a killer, too. It doesn’t vary a lot in terms of powerful rock and roll, but when it’s this tasty it doesn’t matter.

You Oughta Know
The riff that drives this track is exceptional. I can hear some Yardbirds on this along with the Black Crowes and even Clutch.

Baby Baby
Again, there are no molds being broken here, but this is just plain killer retro based hard rock. The instrumental section here is an extended one and has some great ‘70’s oriented guitar soloing. It leans a bit towards space rock.

Little Bird
There’s some killer blues slide guitar on this number. It sort of makes me think of a weird combination of Led Zeppelin, Brownsville Station, Blue Cheer, Clutch and others. It’s a great tune and not a drastic alteration, but still a bit of a change. It has some harmonica built into it.

True Love Too Late
While this smoking retro rocker isn’t all that different from the rest of the music here, it still has its own unique musical identity.

Turn It Up
There’s a little bit of a punk rock rawness here, but overall it’s another scorching retro rocker. We get quite a bit of harmonica on display, too.

The Flames Are Warm
The harmonica is all over this one, too. It’s another stomper that’s tied to the bluesy end of retro hard rock.

What I Know Ain't Right
There’s a bit of that punk rock vibe on this hard rocker, too. It’s another that’s strong and has its own identity without breaking any molds. There’s some especially tasty guitar work here.

This Disease
Vocals begin this one and the vibe that makes it up has more of a soulful texture. This cut really reminds me a lot of Grand Funk Railroad. It’s got a killer vocal arrangement.

Devil's Teeth
Another bluesy grind, this is arguably the strongest cut on show here. That makes it an excellent choice to close the disc. It really feels like what you might get if you mixed Led Zeppelin with Clutch and The Black Crowes. - Gary Hill - Music Street Journal

"Black Bone Child"

These guys are one of my new favorites, If you like rock blues you need to check them out. I have to thank Racer and Pope from The Ripple Effect for introducing me to their music. Here's a bit of their review of Black Bone Child:

"In a nutshell, this is straight-on rust and whiskey, hard-core blues, kick-the-hay-outta-the-barn, bring-on-the-electric guitars-and-let's-have-a-party, rock and roll. It only takes a few seconds of the opening track "Time Pass Me By," to realize that we're tuned into something special. Kicking off with guitars and bass, the riff here positively percolates, rumbling out of the speakers in down-home, ass-kicking form."
"The men of Black Bone Child aren't reinventing rock and roll with this release. Rather, they're mining back deep into rock's roots and investing it with a freshly charged dose of modern energy. What the boys are creating is good-time rock and roll, deep and nuanced, dirty and nasty, funky and sultry. This is for when you want your backyard bar-B-Q to move beyond the gentile stage and get interesting. Dig in. Enjoy" - Layla's Classic Rock Blog

"Black Bone Child TAKE YOU BLIND"

From out of the Deep South (well, Austin TX really) comes blues-rocker band Black Bone Child. Don’t look for hard rock or classic rock – these guys are strictly old school blues and blues-rock in the style of the Black Crowes or even B.B. King. Their current release entitled Take You Blind, is an all acoustic blues-rock expo featuring 8 strong songs, brilliant engineering and fine musicianship. It is all simple and basic music with a great overall groove that will induce much toe tapping and possibly even some singing aloud.
Primarily a duo in the studio, Black Bone Child prides itself on being a one-stop shop. They handle all songwriting performing, recording and producing on their own. When they play live, founding members Donny James and Kenneth M are joined by drummer Steve Hudson and guitarist Jason King. For Take You Blind, BBC is in their two man mode, with all music being done by Donny and Kenny – and they come at the listener with everything from harmony vocals to guitars to tambourines to hand claps. They aren’t afraid to work behind the mixing board either. Without over-engineering the music, BBC manages to bring an almost power-metal precision to their work without disrupting the natural warmth and simple feel of the blues.
“Baby Baby” is a great opener and sets the tone for the balance of the disc. Filled with lush harmonicas, tons of slide guitars, great vocal harmonies and a really infectious rhythm line this track is guaranteed to bring a smile to any blues fan’s face. Almost Led Zeppelin-ish in tone, this song would get the crowd to its collective feet in any jazz or blues bar. “By My Hand” is much more somber and moodier blues track that just oozes slide guitar and solid bass. “Tell Me I’m Wrong” is a truly amazing heavy blues song – it would make an ideal soundtrack for an old Western movie. It features great harmony vocals and a simple but catchy melody and just works. “The Flames Are Warm” is a more up-tempo track, and it sounds like they had a lot of fun recording it.
“Mine” comes across as a really old-school bluesy track with some killer vocals and great lyrics. This would be another good Western movie theme song, and it features a very good acoustic guitar solo. “Ask For Forgiveness” is a very slow and simple blues track and filled with twangy guitars and simple heartfelt lyrics. BBC turns up the energy once again with the hand-clapping “Time Pass Me By” – it’s a bit of a shame that this song is only just a shade over two minutes long, but they cram a whole lot of music into such a brief time. The low key “Dying For Your Love” wraps the album in fine fashion with a heavy slow blues groove that leaves you wanting more.
Any fan of the blues or blues-rock will enjoy this disc, and anyone who has ever tried to play in this style will appreciate the massive amount of talent and technique that Black Bone Child brings to the table. This album may not have broad appeal beyond blues fans due to its acoustic and stripped down nature, but Take You Blind is modern blues-rock at its purest. If you love the blues, don’t miss it.
Genre: Blues/Blues-Rock
Donny James & Kenneth M (vocals, guitars, bass, drums, harmonicas, tambourines)
Track Listing:
1. Baby Baby
2. By My Hand
3. Tell Me I’m Wrong
4. The Flames Are Warm
5. Mine
6. Ask For Forgiveness
7. Time Pass Me By
8. Dying For Your Love
Label: Indie/Unsigned
Hardrock Haven rating: 8.5/10 - Joe Mis - Hard Rock Haven

"Black Bone Child ALLIGATOR"

Smokin’ hot blues rock Texas-style! That’s the best description for Black Bone Child’s release Alligator. Hailing from Austin, the quartet known as Black Bone Child continues to impress. These guys do blues rock, blues rock, and more blues rock, so don’t expect anything but old school music with a modern twist. Alligator is a part of their latest release, a plugged-in album that is a companion to their all acoustic CD Take You Blind. Alligator is what the blues should be – simple, basic music with a great overall groove that will get you moving.
Black Bone Child plugged in and recorded Alligator as if they were playing a live show – as a result there is a great deal of natural warmth and liveliness to the music. There is no hint of electronic trickery or studio induced sterility, just the basics – a little raw at times but that suits the music pefectly. These guys play from the heart and obviously love doing it. Masterminded by Donny James and Kenneth M. (who teamed up to do all the songwriting, producing and engineering as well as playing lead guitar, bass and doing vocals), BBC’s “live” configuration is completed by rhythm guitarist Jason king and drummer Steve Hudson.
“Run Away” opens the disc in fine blues-rock style with a thick, heavy groove, fine guitar work and a chorus that will have you singing along before the song plays out the first time through. “Be Your Man” pounds at you with some solid drumming, killer vocals and biting guitars. “You Oughta Know” keeps the energy up, but this track is more of a vocal showpiece, giving the boys a chance to really stretch their vocal chords and grind one out. The infectious kicky groove of “Baby Baby” thickens the BBC sound with the additions of great blues harmonica and a smokin’ hot guitar solo (BBC did an all acoustic version of this track on Take You Blind, and that one seems to come across a little better as a pure acoustic). “Little Bird” is the blues and nothing but the blues – great vocals, rough and gritty guitars and a hooky rhythm line – perfectly engineered and executed. “True Love Too Late” is a great bouncy track with a great sing-along chorus that will have any old school rocker stomping his/her feet and clapping hands to the beat (this track is the epitome of dance-able rock without being the least bit “pop” or commercial).
“Turn It Up” is simply a lively celebration of music – almost has a Rolling Stones feel to it. “The Flames Are Warm” is another track that BBC also put on Take You Blind, but in this case the “plugged-in” version of the song seems to work better than the acoustic. Gritty guitars and great harmonica highlight this somewhat slower track, but the intensity is high throughout. “What I Know Ain’t Right” is mixed tempo rocker with strong vocals, while “This Disease” slows everything down, broods a bit and provides some of the slickest guitar work on the album. The CD finishes with “Devil’s Teeth,” a funky-grooved track with an amazing rhythm line and a solid solo.
On the whole, Alligator is a blues-rock dream. Thick guitars, smokey bar room sound, and foot-stomping grooves make this a joy to hear. The performances are top-notch and enthusiastic across the board, the songwriting is tight and the intensity is high, a real barn-burner.
Any fan of the blues or old school blues-rock will love this disc. Black Bone Child’s music is pure, simple and direct – just the way it is supposed to be. While this album may not have huge appeal beyond blues fans, there is no doubt that the members of BBC are talented and enthusiastic. When you consider that BBC also did their own production and engineering, the pairing of Alligator and Take You Blind provides a devastating one-two punch that these proves these guys to be truly up-and-coming.
The only downside of Alligator is that it ends way too soon…
Genre: Blues Rock
Donny James (lead vocals, guitar)
Kenneth M (vocals, bass)
Steve Hudson (drums)
Jason King (guitar)
Track Listing:
1. Run Away
2. Be Your Man
3. You Oughta Know
4. Baby Baby
5. Little Bird
6. True Love Too Late
7. Turn It Up
8. The Flames Are Warm
9. What I Know Ain’t Right
10. This Disease
11. Devil’s Teeth
Label: Indie/Unsigned
Hardrock Haven rating: 9/10 - Joe Mis - Hard Rock Haven

"Texas Platters - Black Bone Child - Alligator - Take You Blind"

Black Bone Child's barreling, black-denim blues-rock boasts a full tank in the wake of the band's eponymous debut in 2008, and the local quartet's pair of simultaneous new releases is as ambitious as the Black Crowes' complementary releases last year, Before the Frost ... and ... Until the Freeze. Alligator's steel, wood, and high watts hit a fifth gear that BBC engages effortlessly live on second cut "Be Your Man," while the fiery harp licking at "Baby Baby" crackles Memphis Minnie by way of Led Zeppelin and the arc light slide pouring kerosene on "Little Bird" lets fly like a bar fight. Equally, the blacktop roar of "Turn It Up" gets undercut by a car ad chorus, and "This Disease" panders to the worst of modern rock radio, but mostly, Alligator simply can't deliver the band's live roundhouse on disc. Better is EP-length acoustic addendum Take You Blind, which manages an Alice in Chains Jar of Flies-like reveal. Stripped of stomp, the swamp emerges good and thick, as on the heavy, slide-slicked "By My Hand." Especially Jerry Cantrell is "Tell Me I'm Wrong," a strummed lap slap inlaid with harp and leaning toward a dirge. "The Flames Are Warm," the only song on both CDs, generates more conviction by being less plugged. Donny James' rawhide vocals on "Mine" and "Ask for Forgiveness" are a step up from the usual house whiskey; spare closing plea "Dying for Your Love" shoots a perfect end note. Just under an hour combined, Alligator and Take You Blind are symbiotic enough to have been mixed, matched, and edited into one 40-minute road hog.
- Raoul Hernandez - The Austin Chronicle

"Black Bone Child - Alligator"

If you were a casual reader of the Ripple Effect, you might think that we were members of Black Bone Child. I mean, simply search the archives and you’ll find more column inches devoted to this band than any other that has ever graced the Ripple pages. If we were any less confident in the rollicking, barnstorming brand of modern rock, swampy blues that these cats churn out, we may even begin to wonder if you waveriders could get tired of reading about them.

Fortunately, we don’t think about it that hard. And just as fortunately, the industrious Donny James and Kenneth M. just keep on cranking out one glorious burner after another.

Now these cats went ahead and took the D.I.Y. ethic of hard work and diligence just one step beyond, releasing two CD’s of new material on the same day. My Ripple brethren, The Pope, already reviewed the jaw-dropping, stunning acoustic affair that was Take You Blind. Now it’s my turn to try and find the words to summarize the total victory of groove and glory that is Alligator.

Joined in their home, White Door Studio, by guitarist, Jason King and drummer Steve Hudson, Alligator finds a band building off the momentum they created with their gobsmacker of a debut and upping the intensity to a whole new level. That’s not to say that Alligator is an entirely new musical beast. It’s not. Rather, Alligator follows right on the heels of the debut, building on the strengths of their performance and upping the ante big time for what’s to follow.

“Run Away,” kicks us off right off the get-go, thunderously loud and heavy, as the band jump right into a monstrous riff. Present is that definitive Black Bone Child, subterranean low and heavy bass tone of Kenny M. Present is the throaty soulful vocals of Donny James, more confident and engaging than ever. And present is the battering assault on the drums that is “Tucky” Steve and the added intensity of “Whiskey” Jason ripping the frets off his six-string. This is a full-on, dropped-into-the-swamp, rock and roll event. Listen to the flourishes of muddy guitar at the end of each stanza. My God, listen to that bass tone when it gets the time to shine alone. Feel the percussive force of the drums. Don’t listen to it, feel it I say! This is about as intense an opening song as I’ve heard in a while.

I don’t normally talk about production in a review, but since this whole thing is a studio-in-the-backyard, D.I.Y. effort I gotta say that the boys have grown in the studio as well as in the performance. This is an album that rewards deep listening, paying attention to the recording, mixing and production. On “Run Away” alone we get a perfect mix that just blasts the funk of the bass right into the front of the sound without drowning the vocals or guitars. Subtle guitar ticks and flourishes abound. The drumming and percussion are impeccably tight, in your face when it’s supposed to be, and lurking in the background when it serves the song. Everything just sounds bigger on this album. The bass is bigger, the guitars, the drums. And when I say bigger, I mean huge—like ten foot tall Gibsons with telephone lines for strings.

Black Bone Child always had their own sound, more than a fusion of their influences. If “Run Away,” attacked like the best White Stripes song you’ve always wanted to hear, the guitar tone of “Be Your Man,” brings on visions of the more bluesier Zeppelin. Another terror of a song, this sums up all that Black Bone Child is. Following an attention-grabbing drum intro, the guitars layer on, open-bodied and full. The band launches into a melody that instantly grabs my inner ear before the whole thing stops on a dime and a blazing guitar slices through the mix, shooting the song off like some swamp, mud-beast rising from the murky water. What we got now is a foot-stomping, ass-shaking, bring-on-the-sweat, groover. Having seen this song performed live, I can tell you that none of its passion got lost in the studio. The boys play it as if they were on stage performing to 10,000 fans. I can almost imagine Kenny’s right foot in constant motion, stomping out the beat.

In fact, that can be said of the whole album. Nothing got lost from the stage to the studio here, every song brings that packed-club intensity. And best of all, despite its bracing attack, Alligator still maintains all the warmth and intimacy of the best of Black Bone Child. “You Oughta Know,” unleashes another wave of escaped-from-the-marshy-bog rock and roll. Donny’s voice is in fine form as the band bash out another bluesy, garage monster, with a vocal/guitar chorus sure to convert the uninitiated.

No review of this album could exist without special mention of “Baby Baby.” Yeah, I know it’s self-serving, but when the band debut’s a song on our very own radio show, playing it live acoustic on-the-air just one day after writing it, well, fuck it, that’s special. Turns out that “Baby Baby” is one hell of a song, Ripple involvement or not. With Kenny blowing his lungs out on harmonica, Donny soulfully rasping over some scratching guitar and handclaps, “Baby Baby” is enough to cause the whole damn barn to ignite. Throw in some serious string-bending guitar breaks, killer harmony vocals from Kenny, and a verse that just begs for audience screaming, and we may have the definitive Black Bone Child statement. The encapsulation of all that the band brings in a two minutes and forty-four seconds of driving intensity.

I said earlier that Alligator was released at the same time as Take You Blind, so you may wonder why it’s taken us so long to review it. Simply put, having both Black Bone Child albums come to our door on the same day was just too much. Both Pope and I blew a mass of brain cells as our steamy man-love affair for these guys went into overdrive. Take You Blind, was such a passionate, intense album that neither of us could imagine anything ever standing next to it. Finally, with the passage of time, I could get Alligator into the CD drive and give it a fair listen. And I’m happy to say, that Take You Blind has a worthy companion. An album that gets fuller and more addictive with each listen.

Gents, I raise my glass to you. Next whiskey’s on me.

- Racer - The Ripple Effect

"Ripple Field Report - Black Bone Child Lights Up The Sky In Austin"

We knew full well on our arrival in Austin that the city’s second largest music festival of the year, Austin City Limits, was in full swing and truthfully, we couldn’t care less.

We weren’t there to see Dave Mathews Band or Mos Def or any number of indy hipsters. No, our several thousand mile journey from California had one goal, one destination, one target in mind. Only a drink from one well was going to quench our thirst. A sip from the dirty swamp water that is Black Bone Child.

The Saxon Pub is a long way from the manufactured-to-please-the-tourists, blues sound of the Stevie Ray cover bands on 6th street. It’s warm and airy, even if a touch small, with a card room in back headed by a gun packing 55 year-old red headed mama who looked like she’d clean out my wallet, claim my mortgage, and steal my record collection all in a single hand. Nicotine yellow stained her fingers as she doled out the cards to the hardened faithful, turning a sly, I’m-gonna-take-you-blind eye my way. Being a rather big and burly guy, I did what any macho, red-blooded American male would do when his masculinity was challenged by a lipstick wearing hellcat gambler--- I turned tail and ran as fast as I could towards the bar.

Finding relative safety in a glass of Lone Star beer, the Pope and I settled in to wait for our boys. Arriving late, we missed most of the set of the Stephen Bruton Tribute Band. Unfortunately, neither Pope nor I knew who Stephen was, but we garnered a couple of things; he created some amazingly soulful, melodically tasty blues tunes, and he was incredibly well loved by the Austin locals. The standing room only crowd threw themselves into their applause with full body and heart for the three songs we heard, and deservedly so. Sung by a grey-haired bluesman with a voice so warm it could melt the polar ice caps, these songs were amazingly crafted, incredibly tuneful numbers with a gentle bluesy swing. We’ll definitely be looking up this cat’s back catalog, and wish Stephen good rocking in heaven.

Having said that, a crowd gathered to pay respects to their lost hero isn’t necessarily the best crowd to follow when you’re a new and relatively unknown band. And that’s what faced Black Bone Child that night. This was made abundantly clear as vocalist/guitarist Donny James and vocalist/bassist Kenny M. were setting up their gear and the two 50’ish women sitting at our table rose to their feet, saying “think we’ll move to the back. They seem kinda loud.” Pope and I cast a concerned look each other’s way, worrying about the mountain the Black Bone Children had to climb to convert this crowd. We knew for a fact that they were gonna be “kinda loud.” It’s a testament to how well they rocked the joint that those same two ladies came back, dancing, by set’s end, but we’ll save that story for later.

Fully tuned, with the crowd claiming indifference, Donny took to the stage, alone with his slide, hollow-body guitar, and filled the pub with what can only be described as a heart-rending treat of swamp gospel. What balls does it take to introduce yourself to the crowd, near acapella? Donny’s soulful voice resonated off the wooden walls and rafters, filling the space with his plaintive tone. Man, that struck straight to the solar plexus. And if wasn’t just me. Let’s forget the Pope for a while, who was a raving, whiskey-drinking, applauding, damn-appreciative, whooping maniac the entire show. With that one number, the crowd took notice, taking their first tentative steps towards the stage, heads bobbing in the universal music-appreciation nod of approval. As the last note was resonating from Donny’s hollow body, BBC took the stage, guitarist Jason King and drummer Steve Hudson rounding out the band, and exploded in a full-on freight train of thundering swamp-filled stomp rock.

Now, let’s uncover my bias right away. Anyone who’s read my review of the Black Bone Child album knows how I feel about these guys. But seeing em live was something else. They unearthed a powerplant of energy and intensity in their performance, from the very first number, that could fuel the electric needs of several small nations. Ripping through album standards like “Ha Ha, Hey Hey”, “Light up the Sky,” and “Mine,” these cats mine deep into a song, finding it’s inherent groove like a pack of ‘49ers digging for a vein of gold in the motherlode. Once discovered, stripped down to it’s most basic, elemental essence, BBC lock onto that groove and ride it like it’s their own stairway to heaven. Nothing you’ll ever hear rocks and grooves so hard all at the same time. And they don’t overdo it. The band knows dynamics, dropping out the bass, riding the drums, inserting a vocal harmony out of nowhere, or lighting a bonfire of harmonica. They mix things up enough, often enough, to keep the song fresh and alive. Then the groove comes back, sounding meaner the next time, like a snarling bull released from the pen, and all hell rises to the dancefloor. This is danceable rock. Rather, this is rock that makes it impossible to sit on your ass.

Black Bone Child play it incredibly loose and tight all at the same time. Watching these cats, each member is going off like jazz musicians lost in their own musical nirvanas, then they bring it all back together effortlessly, never losing sight of that all-prevalent groove. Donny breaks from the intense soulfulness of his voice to fly off into the netherworld on his hollow body, telecaster, or Les Paul. Kenny is a human perpetual motion machine, feet always stomping, hair flying as he works that bass, sings, and wails on the harmonica. “Whiskey” Jason attacks his guitar like a man pissed off at his ex-wife, while “Tucky” Steve drives the whole creation from the back of the bus. To call it breathless is an insult to breathing. This is sultry and sweet-like-molasses, sweaty, fully-humid rock and roll.

As those two previously mentioned ladies came racing back towards the stage, hands clapping above their heads and asses swinging, we all knew we were watching something special. This is a band on the verge, rockets primed, countdown on. It’s impossible to conceive the entire city of Austin not taking notice every time Black Bone Child plays. As the cats ended their set with the gotta-be-a-hit “Baby, Baby,” and into the absolute swamp stomp of “Watch it Burn,” we knew. We all fucking knew.

In a city dominated by music, Black Bone Child will dominate this city.

Hanging out with Donny and Kenny in the parking lot, long after closing time, the sky flashed in a coordinated display of lightning without thunder. A light show from above, as if even the very air around us knew that Black Bone Child needed a bigger stage. Their chance to light up the sky.

To hear what all the fuss is about, tune in tonight to the Ripple Radio Show on blogtalkradio. Donny and Kenny (and perhaps Jason and Steve) will be joining us live, acoustics in hands, stories in mind, sparkling merman at at the ready, and fresh music loaded and ready to tear through this wireless thing we call an internet.

Just hit that funny looking blogtalkradio button to the right, 8 pm Pacific Time, and listen as Black Bone Child burns it down.

--Racer - Racer - The Ripple Effect

"Black Bone Child - Take You Blind"

When a band kicks out an acoustic album, the immediate reaction from the masses is that the songs are going to be softer, slower, more ambient pieces of music that would suit itself better played in front of a campfire than a bar filled with whiskey chugging patrons. Well, that’s not the way Black Bone Child see things, and I expect that most who lend ears to this disc will feel the same way. Take You Blind is the duo’s second album and yes, it’s all acoustic. Donny and Kenny holed up by their lonesome’s, strumming the six strings, clapping hands, shaking tambourines, and singing their asses off . . . and amazingly, stripped down in this oh-so-natural blues-y form, the boys haven’t lost any of the heavy elements that made their self titled debut sound so ominous.

Made up of pieces of the debut album, the follow up heavy electric album, Alligator, and a few songs that live as acoustic entities only, Take You Blind is everything that I love about the blues and blues-based rock. This disc has got groove, soul, an earthy richness to it, catchy lyrics and melody lines, and the music is flat out heavy. There are only a handful of acoustic albums that have struck such a dense chord for me, for instance, Zeppelin III and Jar of Flies, and even those had more studio trickery to them to be truly acoustic albums. Take You Blind may have one plugged in bass line through the entire half hour set, is stripped down to the music’s most organic elements, yet has layers to it helping the production quality be more than a truly old school Robert Johnson-esque recording.

Black Bone Child revisits a few songs from the self titled album, stripping the songs down while retaining everything that made the songs infectious in the first place. “Mine” has that same swagger as the electrified version, gritty with a touch of class, and still catchy as all hell. The song would make a great theme song for any silver screen scene of a cocky cowboy strutting into a bar, a hush falling on everyone in the establishment, every woman’s head turning in unison, and you can imagine the rest. This is a song with some serious attitude, kinda’ touching on that loose Texas boogie that ZZ Top played to perfection. “Time Pass Me By” follows along the same line . . . upbeat and grooving, also with a hefty amount of swagger, and all condensed into a song that barely exceeds two minutes. Gotta’ love that! No superfluous lines of lyric need to be added, no extended guitar jam, just a short and concise exercise of musical brilliance.

“Baby Baby” opens the disc with a barn burner of a song. The duo is clicking in a perfect harmonization of musical souls. There are a number of elements that make this song so damn compelling, and it starts with the melody . . . nothing fancy, just straight forward and infectious, so much damn hook that you’ll invariably find your golf ball stuck in the brush amidst all who have listened to this song before you. The vocal harmonies are fantastic as the boys feed off of each other and the fun that they had making this recording are capture in full effect. Listen to all of the subtle things going on in here . . . a little break where the guitars drop out and we’re left listening to the vocals, a dying harmonica note, and shimmering tambourine. Then, through all of the hoots and howls, you’ll note a laugh or two. This is one of those songs that, in time, will be a standard tune played at many a ho-down.

“Tell Me I’m Wrong” is as epic as I’ve ever heard this band come across in song. The tune is Zeppelin-esque in a “When the Levee Breaks” kinda’ way. Heavy blues, but not your standard blues . . . more ominous and dark, full of loneliness and suffering, filled with interesting changes and beautiful vocal harmonies. It’s a song dripping with emotion and one that goes well with a smooth shot of whiskey. The wail of the harmonica sounds like a passing train whistle as we sitting in a box car riding the rail back to wherever we left our hearts. Though not electrically heavy, this song has a serious emotional weight to it that would make some of the finest singer/songwriters want to break their gear in frustration. It’s definitely may favorite song on the album and one I can listen to over and over again . . . this may actually be in my top ten of songs.

If you’re heard the first Black Bone Child disc then it shouldn’t come as any surprise that the songs on Take You Blind are catchy and well crafted tunes. The biggest surprise certainly has to come with the immense heaviness that an acoustic set can carry. Is it the tuning? Is it the gear? I’m willing to bet it’s in the hands of the musicians themselves. There’s certainly something magical in the way these two guys can sit down and hammer out a song, and make it sound as intense as they do. Every song on here is solid if not great. The reconfigured songs from the debut add a new wrinkle to the already familiar; the Alligator songs are fresh and give the listener an idea of what’s to come, while a song like“Tell Me I’m Wrong” was meant solely for the acoustic medium. To add electrified anything to these latter songs would ruin the organic mystery of them and hats off to the boys for recognizing that and leaving them in the state that they’re in. And, as if all of this wasn’t enough, the album gets better and better with every listen. At no point will you want to stop playing this CD as you’re traveling around town, and you may not even get out of your car once you get to your destination. - Pope JTE - Pope - The Ripple Effect

"Austin’s Black Bone Child Release Two Albums Of Great Blues-laced Rock And Roll"

March 24, 2010
Hard on the heels of the critically received eponymous Indie debut, Austin-based Black Bone Child roars back with, not one, but two new albums in 2010. Alligator shows BBC at their best with edgy blues-based rock and roll once more. Take You Blind pulls the plug, but not the energy, with blistering acoustic performance. Releasing two discs is ambitious, yet Black Bone Child delivers on both.

On Alligator, BBC attempts to invigorate their studio recording with the raw energy of live performance. They succeed quite well from beginning to end. This is rough and ready mix of blues-based rock with a steady groove which will often move you from tapping your feet or clapping your hands to working up a sweat on the dance floor. Black Bone Child has a singular ability to marry rugged catchy lyrics with amounts of grit and groove in their arrangements. Be Your Man, You Oughta Know, Turn It Up, and Devil’s Teeth are a short list of rocking BBC numbers on Alligator.
Take You Blind is a departure from Alligator, but the apple does not fall far from the tree. If anything the enthusiasm and energy of Take You Blind has BBC putting the knobs to eleven. Without the electric benefits, these acoustic versions with guitar, Dobro, bass, drums and more bristle with sizzling energy in their deft hands. The songs are equally soulful and bluesy, ripping and melancholy, with moments of shear brilliance on songs Dying for Your Love, Baby Baby, Mine, and The Flames are Warm. Take You Blind is genuinely inspired stuff, quite moving, and possibly even better than the Alligator disc. The good news: BBC will be performing their repertoire both ways in their future live shows as well. Bottom line: Black Bone Child’s electric, and hard rocking, Alligator and the energetic acoustic set Take
You Blind prove their ambition, talent and vision for great blues-based rock and roll. Very recommended!
- Craig Hartranft

"Music Emissions - Album Review"

“Bubbling up from the southern reaches of Austin, Texas come Black Bone Child, a young collaboration of well-seasoned local musicians. First good thing to say about the band is that they're not trying to fit into any specific niche, that much is clear just from reading into their influences and sampling a track or two. But when you dig into their self-titled debut, you find that their main influence is quite contradictory to some of the old-timey southern blues gears they switch to throughout. Mostly, though, utilizing the D-I-Y attitude, vocal nuances (whichever of the two in this duo do the singing sounds almost EXACTLY like him) and production flair of Trent Reznor is a worthwhile endeavor. BBC keep it fresh enough to avoid any calls of dullness on their part.
What these jaunting rockers signify mostly is the melding of classic blues-based rock'n'roll in the vein of Muddy Waters and the like, with the modern groove-oriented (and perhaps a direct descendant of original rock) radio-friendly rock ala Nine Inch Nails and Queens of the Stone Age. The guys know how to hit the grooves with confidence and the upmost attention to ear-catching bass rhythms. Songs early on have more in common with their roots, most notable being"Time Pass Me By" and twangy "Watch it Burn", which sounds like George Thouroughood possessed with the spirit of Rob Zombie. Later on, tracks like "Fill Me Up" and "You're Gonna See" scream of the sort of industrial-pop making acts like Black Light Burns and NiN intensely relevant. The cross-stitching of influences is seamless and, by all apparent factors, something that comes together nicely as the sounds connect throughout time, from one generation to the next.
All sorts of props to these two relative unknown guys and their Black Bone Child project. For at least one album's worth of songs, a listener can at once be treated to head-bobbing grooves, passionate vocals, sharp guitar and a musical history lesson to boot. You'll come for the catchiness and stay for the deep nature of these bluesy, ballsy numbers. The only thing it's really missing is that "it" factor, and I think that might be more a matter of how close they play it by ear in regards to their influences and their songwriting. But this record oozes not only solid music, but a real promise for a future head-turning release.” - Kevin Seller

"Junior’s Cave - Interview w/ BBC"

With a nicely blend of the old and new, founding members of the group, Black Bone Child, Donny James and Kenneth M., are certainly making music that matters. What really draws fans to their music is the uniqueness of the band. The band delivers their music through a mixture of electrifying guitar playing, fun lyrics, and out of this world bass. Recently, we caught up with the band in this online feature. Enjoy!

Isaac: Elaborate on who you are and your upbringing.

KM: I am a six foot two, one hundred eighty pound, twenty three year old, Capricorn, right handed, dirty blonde, drummer, bassist, harmonica player, with an unhealthy love for music and sandwiches. I love long walks on the beach and puppies.

DJ: Who I am? Um... I am not sure how to answer that. I am someone who loves art and especially loves music. I am me. I am originally from San Francisco which is where I got my first taste. I started playing drums when I was five and then lost interest for a while. After about six years, I started picking up various instruments and ended with the guitar. It just seemed to make more sense to me. Kenneth and I have been working together ever since I picked up my guitar. One could say that the rest is history...

Isaac: Was there any one musician that spoke to your heart so profoundly, you were inspired to do your own thing?

KM: NIN. PJ Harvey. Tom Waits. Not necessarily in that order.

DJ: I would have to say that the first artist that really made me want to do my own thing was James Hetfield. Metallica was the reason I first loved the guitar. Trent Reznor is a huge influence on the producer side of me. I love his use of the studio as an instrument. Tool has been a big influence as well. There are really just too many to name.

Isaac: Which singer/group would you say you would most like to do a duet with?

KM: I love the way that Chan Marshall sings. I would be honored for her to sing on a song for us.

DJ: You know, I hear artists all the time and think to myself "it would be great to work with them." I am having a hard time thinking of any examples right now. I would say I would be more interested in working with some of the great producers. Rick Ruben to name one of many.

Isaac: What singer/songwriter do you most connect with?

KM: Possibly Tom Waits.

DJ: Trent Reznor.

Isaac: Out of your entire song collection that you've written thus far, which song(s) would you say is/are the most personal/ meaningful to you?

KM: MY most personal songs are not on the album. Most of them are too personal and I will never release them. There is a threshold of how comfortable I am with exposing myself to the public, and those songs are not intended for the public to hear. Sorry. On the album, I would have to say that "Nothing To Lose" holds the most meaning to me though.

DJ: The songs that are the most personal to me are not available on this album. They were released a long time ago and never really had any success. I wrote them at a point in my life where I had a lot to say and felt like everyone wanted to listen. This current project is so much more important than what I have to say alone. It's about having fun and escaping the monotonous nature of day to day life. I feel like that connects more with the fans and makes me the happiest. Out of the songs on the current album, I would have to say that "Ask For Forgiveness" is the most personal.

Isaac: Which singers/groups do you enjoy/like from some of today's music genres?

KM: I really love The Faint. My girlfriend will attest that they are the only band that will make me dance. It's not pretty, but I can't help it. I also really enjoy The Duke Spirit's new album "Neptune."

DJ: I recently really got into the Eagles of Death Metal. Kenneth got me into them actually. I am also currently listening to Scott H. Biram, Blind Willie Johnson, and Man Man.

Isaac: What charities are you involved with or support?

KM: Invisible Children. Support them support kids in Africa. They are doing amazing things and have hearts of gold.

DJ: no comment.

Isaac: Have you (or would you ever consider) writing a song about any of today's particular world issues/problems? If so, what world issue would speak to you the most to write about?

KM: I am the least political person. I stay away from politics as much as possible. Maybe at one point in my life it will be important to me and I will devote the time to educate myself on all the issues and politicians but right now in my eyes, I have more important things to do.

DJ: I recently started writing a song called Tell Me I'm Wrong. I can honestly say this is the first time I have written about world issues, I generally write about things that are more internal. It's written from the point of view of our generation speaking to the current generation who's in control. It's about the loss of respect and individuality in the world today.

Isaac: Why should people listen to your music?

KM: Because they want to.

DJ: Because I said so.... haha. No, I agree with Kenneth, people should listen because they want to.

Isaac: Your music is relaxing and chill. What inspired you to toss out these awesome lyrics and chords?

KM: Well I wouldn't describe it as "Relaxing and chill" but… I suppose that anything can be an inspiration.

DJ: I feel like our music is upbeat and energetic more than it is relaxing, but if someone is relaxed by it then more power to them. I would have to say that my biggest inspiration for the songs on this album is being in the industry over the past 8 years. We set out to write something that is fun and universal. I think we did a great job executing. I love it.

Isaac: How far into the creation of a song do you share any of it with anyone? Who would you play it for? Would it be a chorus, a verse and chorus, or a complete song?

KM: I will try and take the song as far as I can take it without any outside influence. When I run out of ideas, I will listen to it for a while, and drive around with it on the car stereo and try and think of what it is lacking. Once I feel like what I am listening back on is what I set out to do, I will show it to a couple of the people closest to me and get reactions. Sometimes the reactions you get are expected and sometimes people will go one way or another on you. Being a songwriter, you have to think of your songs much the same as a photographer looks at his photos. If you shoot a roll of 24 exposures and get one great photo, then you did well. The key is to always write so you get those gems out.

DJ: I wouldn't say that I have a specific formula. I am an excitable person so I think that the best answer is that I show everyone I can as quickly as I can. I am not afraid to show people our stuff at any state although Kenneth and I kind of have an unspoken agreement that we don't give out copies of our stuff until it is completely finished.

Isaac: How much do you let others "mess around with" one of your new songs?

KM: Almost 100% of the time. That is essentially what Black Bone Child is founded on. Donny and I wrote almost the entire album via email, sending song files back and forth. I lived in San Diego, CA and Donny lived in Austin, TX when we wrote all the songs that came to be our first album. He would mess around with my songs adding his own flavor and I would with his. That is how we created the Black Bone Child sound. It is our two completely individual takes on one thing, smashed together. The result of our two separate interpretations of one common thing is Black Bone Child.

DJ: See Kenneth's answer...

Isaac: Do you have to be a tortured soul to be a singer-songwriter?

KM: No. Not at all.

DJ: No, sometimes that notion can make you a worse songwriter.

Isaac: Are your songs strictly autobiographical or are they embroidered autobiography?

KM: Our songs will never be one or the other. Songwriting is an extension of your own thoughts. There is no limiting on how those thoughts will come out.

DJ: I don't feel like there is any formula or rules for writing a song. The most important thing is that it speaks to someone. Whether they connect with the lyrics or not, if they feel like the song is speaking to them that is all that matters.

Isaac: How long does it take you to process your emotions and turn them into songs?

KM: Thirteen and a half minutes. 810 seconds exactly… It's quite scientific.

DJ: It could be instantaneous, or it could take a year. I find that the best songs are written when your emotions flow through you freely and you aren't thinking; you're just playing.

Isaac: The best piece of advice you actually followed?

KM: "Sleep on your back Son." The last words my father gave me before leaving town with my band.

DJ: The Golden Rule.

Isaac: Give Shout-outs to your family and friends.

KM: I miss you all terribly; I will see you soon.

DJ: Hello y'all. Thanks so much for all of your love and support. We could not do this without your help.

Isaac: Last but certainly not least, what are you working on, now?

KM: A pint of beer and a follow up album for you to talk about.

DJ: Restringing all of my instruments... we are getting ready to start recording the next record... Thank you Isaac for your interest in Black Bone Child. It's been a pleasure answering these questions for you. - Isaac Davis Jr., MBA

"Gigga Music - Interview w/ BBC"

Black Bone Child new release is the culmination of 8 years of collaboration and sacrifice. Donny James and Kenneth Hailing and put together a great new album and have a bright future. Take a look inside their world.

Donny: When did you first start playing music and how did you get connected with Kenneth?

I have always had an interest in musical instruments but the first time I picked up a guitar was probably about 10 years ago. It's kind of funny looking back on it. I hated it because I couldn't play it. I put it away and promised I would never look at it again. A couple years after that I went over to a friend’s house and he started playing while we were all hanging out. I thought, “Well if he can do it, then I certainly can.” From that point on I have never put it down.

I actually came into contact with Kenneth through the guitar player friend of mine. He and I had started a garage band and Kenneth was supposed to be the singer. After about 4 practices of complete cacophony, I decided that I wanted to work with just Kenneth. We both “quit” the band and started collaborating together.

Both: What instruments do you play and what is your primary instrument in the band ?

Donny: I play guitar and sing. I have always considered myself a guitarist first but with this band it seems like that has changed. I spent a lot of time honing in on my vocals during the recording of this album.

Kenneth: I am a drummer first and foremost, but I play bass and harmonica live. Donny and I have played together for over eight years and I would say that in those eight years I played only drums for six. I got to a point with my drumming where I was very satisfied; I felt that if I were to continue improving on my drumming, only drummers would know the difference. So instead of going further up on drumming I decided to expand horizontally and I picked up a guitar for the first time. Then after learning a little about guitar I picked up the bass, and that felt better to me. Being a drummer, bass made more sense. It’s all rhythmically based. I play the rhythms I feel as a drummer on four strings, and I think that is what makes the bass lines different for us, the fact that I am a drummer and not a bass player. Learning harmonica was kind of an accident. Donny and I were working on a song together and there was a harmonica lying around and I just picked it up and started playing it. Next thing I know I am recording harmonica solos. If you have an ear for a blues scale, all the rest is just breath in and breath out.

Kenneth: When and how did you get your start in the music business ?

Kenneth: That’s a really hard question to answer. Donny and I started playing together when we were fifteen and never had any intention of making this a hobby. We worked on our craft of writing, performing, mixing, producing, engineering, and graphic design and Black Bone Child is the culmination of all those talents. So essentially you could say that we got our start in the music business the first time we wrote a song.

Clearly you guys are rock and rollers. What artists do you feel influence your music the most and how have they influenced it?

Donny: I have always been influenced by all sorts of artists and styles. I think what it comes down to is that we are musicians because we love music. No matter what color, shape or form, music is music. I have personally been drawn towards some of the more aggressive forms but still enjoy everything. I would say that my biggest influences are Led Zeppelin, Nine Inch Nails, Muddy Waters, Blind Willie Johnson, Rob Zombie and Tool. I realize those are quite eclectic choices but I feel it makes a lot more sense when you listen to the record.

Kenneth: As a musician I think that the three most influential artists of my career have been PJ Harvey, Tom Waits, and Nine Inch Nails.

What inspires your songwriting ? What message are trying to put out ?

Donny: It's pretty hard to hone in on a limited source of inspiration. I get inspired from all sorts of things. From a drive in the rain to a night out at the bar, sometimes you just get that feeling and everything flows through you. I've found that the best songs that we have written happened in about 30 minutes or less. The best songs are the ones that don't require much thought. We are not trying to put out any specific message. I feel like this band is more of an avenue for people to just have fun, to forget about all of their worries and let go. Come out, have a drink with us and dance.

Kenneth: I don’t have any political agendas; in fact I am probably the least political person you will come across. This point in my life songs are just expressions of my thoughts. I am not trying to force any ideologies on people; it’s just not the way I am. We just want to write music that people can have fun too, and not over-think.

What is your favorite song you have written and why ?

Donny: I have a couple of favorites. Ask For Forgiveness is probably my favorite just because it's so honest. It is completely naked and it shows a lot of emotion. I think I like it because it has that raw sound of the old slide blues artists from the 20's and 30's which have been a major influence on me lately. I also really like Watch It Burn. Kenneth and I wrote that through emails before he moved out to Austin with me. I remember sending him the riff and some vocal ideas and he sent me a finished song. The bass playing in that song is some of the most original stuff that I have heard in a long time. I really feel proud of it even though I didn't play it.

Kenneth: I love the groove of Watch It Burn. It feels so good to play and Donny sings with so much attitude. I also really love Time Pass Me By. The song is under two minutes and there are three choruses, two verses, a harmonica solo, and a bridge. After all brevity is the soul of wit.

In today’s music industry, the competition to be heard is enormous. How have you overcome those odds and what do you find to be the best way to promote your music?

Donny: With all of the technology that has come about in the past 10 years, even in the past 3, I still feel like if a band does not play live they will never make it anywhere. I know that there have been some crazy success stories in the industry in recent years, but when it comes down to it, you have to deliver live. I was talking to a friend of mine recently and she was saying that the market is so saturated that she can't even tell if she likes a band by listening to their recording anymore. She has to see them live, that is the true test. This band has been built around this idea and that is why it is doing so well. People enjoy the honesty of a live show.

Kenneth: The cream rises and the **** sinks. Sometimes **** rises but people eventually realize that it is ****. The key is you have to be the cream. Plain and simple.

Where has been your favorite venue/town to play ? Where are you dying to play ?

Donny: It's funny that you ask. We recently played a show at a venue called Momo's in Austin and it was by far the most fun I have had on a stage in a long time. So far Austin has been my favorite town because everyone that lives or visits here are true music enthusiasts. They appreciate what we do and we appreciate them. It's a great symbiotic relationship.

What genre of music do you listen to? Who are your favorite artists ?

Donny: I generally listen to the bands that are my biggest influences. (Nine Inch Nails, Muddy Waters, Blind Willie Johnson, etc) Right now I have Scott H. Biram in my CD player. He is a one man band from Texas and about the dirtiest blues player I have ever heard. He is great live, a true entertainer. I was on a BRMC kick for a while. I listen to all sorts of music. I even have Dave Brubeck in my rotation.

Kenneth: I listen to all kinds of music but the bands that I have been in regular rotation for me lately would include: The Duke Spirit, The Heavy, Dax Riggs, Tom Waits, Duffy, The Faint, The Pixies, The Smiths, Brightblack Morning Light, The Gossip, Man Man, and Entrance to name a few.

What’s been one of the highlights of your careers so far?

Donny: I think it is this project that we are working on right now. The idea of moving to a new city and starting a new band with Kenneth. This whole thing is so much fun and the response so far has been overwhelming. We are all excited. We have been lucky enough to recruit two great musicians for the live band. Jason King(guitar) and Steve Hudson(drums) are a great addition to our live show. Those guys make it that much more entertaining to perform and make this band a pleasure to be in.

Kenneth: I think that finally receiving the first shipment of Black Bone Child cd’s was probably one of the sweetest moments. The two of us have made so many sacrifices and put so many hours into this project that to finally have a product in our hand was a very rewarding moment. Now that we have Steve and Jason filling out our live show, I get that same rewarding feeling playing live. I feel very proud being on stage with those three other guys because I know we are delivering everything Donny and I set out to do.

Anything you would like to say to your fans?

Donny: Yes. Thank you all for all of your love and support. You are what makes this band what it is. We will continue to do what we do as long as you are there.

Kenneth: Yes. Thank you. Thank you. - Gigga Music

"Blog Critics - Album Reivew"

Donny James and Kenneth Hailing last 8 years of collaboration have yielded their first CD release, self titled Black Bone Child. This hard charging rock and roll album will keep your feet clapping your air guitar cranking. Being a big blues fan myself, I love the way they pull in the harmonica and create that bluesy kind of rock and roll sound.

Black Bone Child hails from Austin Texas. Donny and Ken found their way to each other through a mutual friend. After four songs they realized they had the chemistry to create the sound they have both been looking for.

“Watch it Burn” is one their personal favorites on the album. The cool thing about this song is that much of it was written by email between these two artists. “Kenneth and I wrote that through emails before he moved out to Austin with me. I remember sending him the riff and some vocal ideas and he sent me a finished song,” said Donny James.

One of the refreshing things about this group is their desire to play live. With the tens of thousands of artists on the web and the major labels controlling what we hear on the radio, it is difficult to find the Black Bone Childs of the world. What separates the men from the boys is the live performances.

“I feel very proud being on stage with those three other guys because I know we are delivering everything Donny and I set out to do,” added Kenneth.

If you have a chance to check this band out, you won’t be disappointed. Black Bone Child has a bright future. Please support them. - Mike Lewitt

"Indie Showcase - Album Review"

'Black Bone Child' has got to be the best surprize for us here at Indie Showcase and this year!! This band is not only a must see , but also a must have !! The vocals are brilliant on this new CD. This band will have your toes boppin and up on the dance floor in no time flat! 'Time Pass Me By' is my personal favorite, but, there isn't one track better than the one before it on this album.

This band will rock you into another zone!! And this is one zone I want to be in! Guitars, drums/ percussion, bass, all are fantastic. And who knew the slide guitar could do that?! Man... The guys have it all!! Well done on this CD!!!

Black Bone Child rocks my world!! Check them out for yourself today!

- Shashona Goodman

"eMusic - Album Review"

"This debut album by Black Bone Child is unexpectedly polished. The basics of pure, raw blues are presented with loads of talent and sophistication. I can't wait for their next effort, in which I hope their lyrics are allowed to be more fully developed." - eMusic


Black Bone Child: self-titled release 7/22/2008
Black Bone Child: Alligator 3/9/2010
Black Bone Child: Take You Blind 3/9/10



Black Bone Child started in 2008 as a musical collaboration between Donny James and Kenneth M. Patterson. Through a shared love of delta style blues and modern rock, the two wrote their self-titled debut over email, eventually tracking the full band sound as a duo at James’ own White Door Studios located just outside of Austin Texas. Chase Hoffberger of the Austin Chronicle described the debut as

“…grip-it-and-rip-it rock & roll, full-throttled and hollow-body-distorted, power riffs ripping the straight and narrow.” (Austin Chronicle)

With the addition of Jason King on rhythm guitar and Steve Hudson on drums, the live lineup was complete. The foursome toured extensively in support of the first release all over the contiguous United States.

2010 brought the double release of BBC’s second studio album Alligator with the companion acoustic EP Take You Blind, to rave reviews.

“Alligator follows right on the heels of the debut, building on the strengths of their performance and upping the ante big time for what’s to follow. This is a full-on, dropped-into-the-swamp, rock and roll event.” (The Ripple Effect Music Blog)

“This disc (Take You Blind) has got groove, soul, an earthy richness to it, catchy lyrics and melody lines, and the music is flat out heavy.” (The Ripple Effect Music Blog)

Alligator was the summation of 2009’s work of new songs the band had performed relentlessly throughout the year. This time being tracked together as a live band, Alligator was a group effort of the live band. Following the release the band delivered their now signature, high energy, shows throughout the country. Eventually the bands reputation earned some national recognition with television placements in Showtime’s Californication, USA Network’s Necessary Roughness, and a spot on the Candian CBS Network show The Listener.

In 2011 the James/Patterson duo hooked up with Grammy nominated, Austin producer Frenchie Smith (JET, ... Trail of the Dead, The Answer, Dandy Warhols, Meat Puppets, etc…) to start tracking their third studio album. The third album is finding the duo coming into their own, drawing from all aspects of their sound. Scheduled for a 2012 release the band has a lot to look forward to. “We’re really excited about what’s to come in the next year. We can feel this momentum behind everything that we’re doing.” Says James. And with good reason, in March the band has been selected to be an official showcasing artist at the world-renowned SXSW music festival, and the band is in the process of planning a summer European tour. James continues, “I have a feeling that 2012 is going to be really good for us. We can’t wait to see what’s around the corner.”