Bruce Donnola

Bruce Donnola

BandFolkAmericana

Roots-based folk with strong lyrics and distinctive melodies. The songs are stories, detailed with powerful images and ideas, all carried aloft by solid, expressive acoustic guitar playing.

Biography

Songwriter Bruce Donnola has been performing and recording for nearly three decades, since first appearing in small clubs in the New York area, leading to gigs at the legendary Folk City, the Speakeasy and beyond. After taking a break to raise a family, Donnola has resumed live performing, relocating from his longtime Brooklyn base to New Jersey.

Bruce’s newest CD is titled "The Peaches of August", released in the US in November, 2006. The album will be released in Italy in spring 2007 on Club de Musique Records. The album has received advance praise in Europe, landing at number 13 on the Top 25 Albums of 2006 list of Rootstime critic Swa Braeken.

With a storyteller's eye for detail, crafting rich, layered lyrics, Donnola’s songs mix classic American musical styles, comfortably blending traditional and modern folk, rock, country, blues, tin pan alley and pop. David Hamburger has written, “His thoroughly-crafted songs are chock-full of characters who stay with you long after the music's over, and he consistently succeeds in synthesizing his encyclopedic knowledge of American popular music into something compellingly original.”

Donnola has worked extensively with long-time friend and collaborator Jono Manson, who has recorded more than a dozen of Bruce’s songs. Manson’s cover of Bruce’s “Black Blue Jeans” appeared prominently in the 2001 film On the Borderline. Other artists who have recorded or performed his work have included Ken Valdez, the Grassy Knoll Boys, New York City blues legend Jerry Dugger and, in her pre-SONY Records days, Shawn Colvin.

Donnola is currently planning a tour of Italy in Autumn 2007. He is about to record a new album, "A Humble Offering".

Lyrics

Nautical Summer

Written By: Bruce Donnola

Everything was clear in our nautical summer,
We worked upon a ferryboat crossing the sound;
Happy just to look at the girls in their summer clothes,
Back and forth, not caring where we were bound.

Many girls ignored us but some were more gracious,
They'd offer us a smile or a sweet thing to eat;
In July the plums were still not yet quite ripe,
But the peaches of August were tender and sweet.

Chenango

Written By: Bruce Donnola

Woke up in her bed
And I knew that I would not see her again.
She left for work at eight,
And here it was a quarter after ten.

In those days I lived a transient existence
Playing gin mills all along the road ahead.
At some dive on the old Chenango River
I strummed a bunch of chords
And made ten dollars and a bed.

Sunlight cursed my brain,
Her face and half the night were just a blur,
But on her dressing table
Was everything that I know about her:

The remnant of a violet -scented candle,
A wooden box for hair barrettes and things,
A dozen bracelets strung across a mirror,
And a jewel box left open filled with jade and silver rings.

A small glass unicorn stood in the corner
Beside a rumpled paperback of
"I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings".

And slipped into the mirror,
Was something that kept tugging at my eye,
A faded photograph
Of a younger version of her with some guy.

I gathered all these objects in my memory,
I soaked them up and packed them all away,
And though I never went back to Chenango
I've carried them all with me right to this very day,
To this very day.

Dooley's Flask

Written By: Bruce Donnola

Dooley’s Flask

'bout a million years ago I loved a girl too well,
Then she went off to Syracuse and I went all to hell.
I thought I'd die without her so I set about the task
Of hitching to her with my backpack and my friend Dooley's flask.

Now, Dooley loaned the flask to me he said it might bring luck,
And sure nuff I got picked right up by a Harris Foodlines truck,
The driver was a nice guy, ‘bout as nice as you could ask,
He shared his lunch and I shared what I had in Dooley's flask.

He took me all the way to Utica by the early afternoon,
Just more one hour up the thruway and I'd be there with my girl soon.
The day was blue and perfect, in the sunlight I did bask,
And I danced a jig and took a swig off good ol' Dooley's flask.

And that's right when a cop pulled up, got out and asked me for I.D.
He went and searched my backpack inside out and then, well, he searched me.
He found no marijuana, but for the trouble of his task
He cursed me out real bad and confiscated Dooley's flask.

Well, I never did get to Syracuse, I took a Short Line bus back home;
And Dooley was pissed, but worse my girl left with some guy for Nome.
And did I die without her? Well need you even ask?
Still I wish this song was all about her
and not about Dooley's flask.

Discography

A Rumor of Peace - 1986
A Child’s Garden of Verses - 1988
Eidolons - 1991
The Nor’easters EP - 1992
Perhaps Other Lives - 1993
Vaudeville - 1998
The Peaches of August - 2006 (Italy release 2007)
A Humble Offering (due for US release in 2007)