Black Bonnet Ballyhoo
Gig Seeker Pro

Black Bonnet Ballyhoo

| SELF

| SELF
Band Rock Americana

Calendar

This band hasn't logged any future gigs

This band hasn't logged any past gigs

Music

Press


By Ed Peaco
For the News-Leader

A typical lasting impression of Black Bonnet Ballyhoo might be Jen Kean pounding her guitar, head thrown back, mouth wide open, howling.

But there’s more:
• The drumming of Alisha Schroeder (“She’s very into heavy metal and punk rock and stuff like that, so she’s just naturally loud and aggressive,” Kean said).
• Abbie Benton’s resonant voice and her bass playing that she identified as country influenced.
• Violinist Kera Newman, who usually plays continuously through much of a song, providing a melodic umbrella and featured solos that make the band stand apart sonically.

And Kean isn’t always howling; the band usually builds the dynamics of a set from inviting to bombastic.

“There’s this adrenaline that comes onstage,” Benton said, “and there’s this persona — four chicks: we have to be powerful. We have to have that edge about us.”

The band will perform on May 11 at Da Cubby Hole. Also on that day, they are scheduled to appear on “Ozarks Today,” the KYTV morning show. Kean said the band will have its new EP available in early May to offer at Da Cubby Hole and subsequent gigs.

Crowds respond to the formidable stage presence, Kean said. However, she said she cares more about songwriting, which often takes the band down dark avenues of storytelling based on the “rich and conflicted history” of the Ozarks.

“We were all brought up on folk tales and parables and ghost tales and Jesus,” Kean said. “A lot of that bleeds into our everyday lives, and so we incorporate it into our songs, too.”

“Fortnight,” for example. Kean summarized the story in the song:

“A woman committed a murder, so she’s got all these supernatural elements on her tail. Gabriel knocks on Lucifer’s door. God’s messenger and the devil get together to pursue this woman to take her to hell, but she uses witchcraft to ward them off.”

Kean agreed that this mixing of storytelling elements poses danger for how the resulting song is received.

“A lot of people might not like it,” she said. “But it’s not put forth in a sacrilegious context. We’re not trying to do that at all. It’s touchy.”

Drawing from these conflicting sets of imagery is a way to connect with people of theOzarks, Benton said. “When we write, those are the things that naturally come up,” she said. “All those things — God and the other stuff — are here.”

On the other hand, they also write about cars, trains and heartbreak. Kean and Benton are beginning to collaborate on writing, they said.

“Which is fun, because it’s two different perspectives trying to tell the same story,” Benton said. “It’s not quite what one person thinks. We have to, I guess, compromise.”

The first collaborational song to be performed was “1972 Plymouth GTX.” Their plan was to write a song about a car, with riffs that sound like driving and easy, fun lyrics, they said.

“We had to research, too,” Kean said. “We don’t know a lot about automobiles. We pulled up the Internet, we found a car we liked, and read a lot about it. Then we wrote the song.” - Newsleader


By Ryan Colvard
For Deitra Mag

One of the things that I’ve always dug about local music, besides discovering some really great tunes that I’d have otherwise missed out on entirely, is when I get the opportunity to see the beginnings of a band. And not in the douchey “Yeah, I saw these guys before ANYONE” sort of way (although I will totally play that card if I think it’s going to impress some tragically shallow hipster chick at the bar). I mean getting to see someone’s music, their idea, grow from a solitary figure playing an awkward acoustic set at an empty open mic and into a full band closing out a show for a cheering Saturday night crowd. One such rare chance for me was Black Bonnet Ballyhoo - a quartet of highly talented ladies that have quickly started to make a name for themselves in the Springfield music.

It was sometime back around twenty aught seven that I first saw Jen Kean as she was beginning her venture into the local music scene, writing and performing what she
calls “goofy, fucked up country songs” with Jeb Stuart in the primordial incarnation
of The Cropdusters, and becoming a regular crowd-favorite of open mic nights at The
Outland.

Fans of Black Bonnet would recognize the beta versions of current Ballyhoo songs,
including a raw “Spit and Gravel” that featured smashing glass beer bottles in time with the music. This tended to draw quite a response from the rowdier elements in the crowd. But, as is the nature of bands, Jen and the Cropdusters eventually parted ways.

“I’d played with a couple different people around town,” Jen says, “From that point I
kind of quit playing for awhile and just wrote for a couple of years.”

We’ll skip ahead then, dear reader, to twenty aught ten. Locked and loaded with new
material, Jen decided to climb back in the saddle, and over the next year Black Bonnet Ballyhoo began to take shape. Along with friend and bass player Amber Daniels, the two started “Pam and Tam’s Junkyard Jams”, a mostly-for-kicks project that Jen describes as “white-trashed themed, punk influenced, Americana”.

Think Jackass, but with girls…in your ears.

The songs were largely humorous, but with a rather seedy undertone. To give you an
example, “Greene County Fair” is a first person narrative of a young girl finding her long lost carnie father – after she fools around with him in his camper at the titular fair. It’s the kind of song that makes you laugh, then later think back on the naivety of your childhood and shudder.

With feel-good dance numbers such as that, it wasn’t long before Jen and Amber – now under as Black Bonnet Ballyhoo – began to make the occasional appearance around Springfield and Nixa. The two began to catch the attention of other local acts like Gas Pump Talent, who featured Jen as a backup vocalist on their album “No Place in History”.

Black Bonnet Ballyhoo (or B³, as I like to call them) is a band that has undergone rapid changes over the course of the past year. The acoustic duo quickly evolved into a three-piece, with Alisha Schroeder taking up position on drums. The group was introduced through mutual tattoo artist and friend Dallas Self (of St. Dallas & the Sinners), whom Alisha was currently playing drums with as the duet Glen and Gravel.

“I really liked the style, and decided to try it out,” Alisha says. “I fell in love with the
music and the lyrics. And I made some totally rad friends.” Alisha’s (apparently) barely restrained hammering on the skins brought a faster, more aggressive style to Jen’s usual ballad style of songwriting.

“My style of drumming is very hard to slow down so we do tend to spend time getting the tempos down. I have gotten better, and able to control them much better. ‘It’s ok to just give a simple beat’ I have to remind myself. But I would also say it’s a give and take; we all work together to get the sound and tempo we desire.”

The addition of Alisha on drums pushed Ballyhoo into official ‘band’ status, and the
trio played for some time, but eventually Amber turned over her role as bass
player to Abbie Benton (of Abbie Benton & the Eskimo Girls). Herself a talented
musician and songwriter, Abbie has a skill set that covers a wide, if somewhat eclectic, array of instruments. She began playing the piano as a child, then the guitar at 16 when she “needed something to do” while recovering from a sports injury. In high school, she expanded her musical skills to include the French horn.

“I went to college with a music degree in the French horn…which is a weird instrument,” she says laughingly.

The most recent addition to B³ is Kera Newman, a classically trained violinist, who also played with Abbie, and who was excited to continue her personal exploration of a new genre of music.

“I never played the more country stuff until I started playing with Abbie,” Kera
says. “And I loved it. I love that it’s something that you can do that’s more self-
expressive than the classical stuff.”

With t - Deitra Mag (Pgs. 14-15)


By Ryan Colvard
For Deitra Mag

One of the things that I’ve always dug about local music, besides discovering some really great tunes that I’d have otherwise missed out on entirely, is when I get the opportunity to see the beginnings of a band. And not in the douchey “Yeah, I saw these guys before ANYONE” sort of way (although I will totally play that card if I think it’s going to impress some tragically shallow hipster chick at the bar). I mean getting to see someone’s music, their idea, grow from a solitary figure playing an awkward acoustic set at an empty open mic and into a full band closing out a show for a cheering Saturday night crowd. One such rare chance for me was Black Bonnet Ballyhoo - a quartet of highly talented ladies that have quickly started to make a name for themselves in the Springfield music.

It was sometime back around twenty aught seven that I first saw Jen Kean as she was beginning her venture into the local music scene, writing and performing what she
calls “goofy, fucked up country songs” with Jeb Stuart in the primordial incarnation
of The Cropdusters, and becoming a regular crowd-favorite of open mic nights at The
Outland.

Fans of Black Bonnet would recognize the beta versions of current Ballyhoo songs,
including a raw “Spit and Gravel” that featured smashing glass beer bottles in time with the music. This tended to draw quite a response from the rowdier elements in the crowd. But, as is the nature of bands, Jen and the Cropdusters eventually parted ways.

“I’d played with a couple different people around town,” Jen says, “From that point I
kind of quit playing for awhile and just wrote for a couple of years.”

We’ll skip ahead then, dear reader, to twenty aught ten. Locked and loaded with new
material, Jen decided to climb back in the saddle, and over the next year Black Bonnet Ballyhoo began to take shape. Along with friend and bass player Amber Daniels, the two started “Pam and Tam’s Junkyard Jams”, a mostly-for-kicks project that Jen describes as “white-trashed themed, punk influenced, Americana”.

Think Jackass, but with girls…in your ears.

The songs were largely humorous, but with a rather seedy undertone. To give you an
example, “Greene County Fair” is a first person narrative of a young girl finding her long lost carnie father – after she fools around with him in his camper at the titular fair. It’s the kind of song that makes you laugh, then later think back on the naivety of your childhood and shudder.

With feel-good dance numbers such as that, it wasn’t long before Jen and Amber – now under as Black Bonnet Ballyhoo – began to make the occasional appearance around Springfield and Nixa. The two began to catch the attention of other local acts like Gas Pump Talent, who featured Jen as a backup vocalist on their album “No Place in History”.

Black Bonnet Ballyhoo (or B³, as I like to call them) is a band that has undergone rapid changes over the course of the past year. The acoustic duo quickly evolved into a three-piece, with Alisha Schroeder taking up position on drums. The group was introduced through mutual tattoo artist and friend Dallas Self (of St. Dallas & the Sinners), whom Alisha was currently playing drums with as the duet Glen and Gravel.

“I really liked the style, and decided to try it out,” Alisha says. “I fell in love with the
music and the lyrics. And I made some totally rad friends.” Alisha’s (apparently) barely restrained hammering on the skins brought a faster, more aggressive style to Jen’s usual ballad style of songwriting.

“My style of drumming is very hard to slow down so we do tend to spend time getting the tempos down. I have gotten better, and able to control them much better. ‘It’s ok to just give a simple beat’ I have to remind myself. But I would also say it’s a give and take; we all work together to get the sound and tempo we desire.”

The addition of Alisha on drums pushed Ballyhoo into official ‘band’ status, and the
trio played for some time, but eventually Amber turned over her role as bass
player to Abbie Benton (of Abbie Benton & the Eskimo Girls). Herself a talented
musician and songwriter, Abbie has a skill set that covers a wide, if somewhat eclectic, array of instruments. She began playing the piano as a child, then the guitar at 16 when she “needed something to do” while recovering from a sports injury. In high school, she expanded her musical skills to include the French horn.

“I went to college with a music degree in the French horn…which is a weird instrument,” she says laughingly.

The most recent addition to B³ is Kera Newman, a classically trained violinist, who also played with Abbie, and who was excited to continue her personal exploration of a new genre of music.

“I never played the more country stuff until I started playing with Abbie,” Kera
says. “And I loved it. I love that it’s something that you can do that’s more self-
expressive than the classical stuff.”

With t - Deitra Mag (Pgs. 14-15)


Discography

Self-titled EP "Black Bonnet Ballyhoo" - April 2012
Recorded by Jim Rea, Produced by Jim Rea and Black Bonnet Ballyhoo

"Dallas" EP - Recorded at Pleasantry Lane Studios, Produced and Mixed by Salim Nourallah

Photos

Bio

Black Bonnet Ballyhoo is a frenetic female foursome born in the muggy Missouri summer of 2011. The ladies of Black Bonnet Ballyhoo artfully weave songs built on the cataclysmic dichotomy and dark regale surrounding the so-called sub-culture of the American Midwest. With ballads of heartbreak, murder and tales of the preternatural, they have ultimately created their own brand of backwoods folklore that they execute in a vintage style with a tasteful modern twist.
You can call it Alt. Country, or you could even name it Cow-Punk, but to us, it’s just Rock ‘N Roll.