Bonnie Bishop for Rockstar!

When I first met my boyfriend 4 years ago I told him that instead of getting me presents for birthdays or anniversaries I would much rather have an experience of some kind. He loved that idea and we’ve had lots of fun with it. We have participated in mud runs on our birthdays, went to Wanderlust in Whistler for an anniversary and took a train ride to celebrate Valentines Day. But this year he had something even cooler in mind!

Bonnie Bishop is a Singer/Songwriter and Storyteller who we have been following for the last four years. We love her bluesy/country vibe and have spent many happy hours driving across the country with our windows rolled down, playing and singing along at the top of our lungs! She is a staple in our road trip play list!

So when Barry found out that she was scheduled to play the The Roasting Room – a small venue in Bluffton, South Carolina we jumped onto those tickets faster that a tick on a blue heeler!

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(Coffee & Breakfast Downstairs/Liquor & Cigars Upstairs!)

We arrived early – WAY too early. You know, the kind of early where people think you might be a stalker? We just wanted to pick up our tickets and take a walk around town but when they told us that Bonnie was doing a sound check upstairs and that we could go up to get our tickets I just about jumped out of my skin!

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(It’s an intimate venue – Small & Cozy – Just right!)

I’ve really never met anyone that I’ve been a big fan of before and I didn’t know what to expect. Would she be busy and not have time to say hi? Would I have the nerve to tell her how much I admire her? Would she think I was an over the top – stalker fan? I needn’t have worried. She was just what I thought she’d be – real, genuine, humble and lovely. (Even though I’m sure I was on the verge of stalkerish behavior – I even hugged her – I couldn’t help myself!)

You see, one of the reasons that I like Bonnie so much is that every once in awhile a song comes along that defines a moment in your life. A song that you never forget. A song that touches you in a way that changes you. For me one of those songs is Free. I even play it during my yoga classes – usually during Savasana when the students are relaxing on the floor after practice. I want them to be able to really hear the words and let them sink in. I’ve even had students come up to me after class and ask the name of the song so they can buy a copy.

The Lyrics go like this:

I see a light shining in my eyes
I feel something stirrin’ up deep inside
Is it my broken heart comin’ back to life?
I never knew that I could just let go
I thought the pain was out of my control
But I’ve surrendered my fears and I realized
I’ve got peace of mind.

That’s how I know I’m free
I feel a change comin’ over me
That’s how I know I’m free
All of the chains are falling off of me
Cause I’m free.

The one thing you can’t get from somebody else
Is the love that you’ve got to give to yourself
And when you find it you’ll stand up on your own
And I’m standin’ on my own.

That’s how I know I’m free
I feel a change comin over me
That’s how I know I’m free
Now that these chains are falling off of me
I’m free to be all that I wannabe
Oh free to be all I was meant to be

I see a light shinin’ in my eyes
I feel something stirrin’ up deep inside
Is it my broken heart coming back to life
Cause I feel alive.

That’s how I know I’m free
I feel a change comin’ over me
That’s how I know I’m free
All of the chains are falling off of me
Cause I’m free

 Better yet, Listen to Bonnie sing it herself: FREE by Bonnie Bishop on Youtube

For me this song defines the moment 5 years ago when I took my life back, regained my personal power and decided to love myself enough to get a divorce after 25 years of marriage. I wanted to be happy again and to have something to look forward to. I wanted to be free. So I claimed it, LOUDLY and repetitively – almost daily! LOL.

It was a difficult time in my life. Divorce is hard, It was hard on my kids and the changes that followed were hard too. But I know it was the right thing, and I am currently happier, healthier and definitely FREER than I’ve ever been. And I feel that Bonnie was a part of all that. It’s like she was riding along in the passenger seat saying, “You Go Girl! You got this. You CAN do it. You are worth it!”

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(Bonnie and Angie Aparo jamming!)

The funny thing as a yoga teacher I preach to my students about things that I’m working on in my own life and my own practice – like facing our fears, letting go and being true to yourself. And so do singer/songwriters because Bonnie wrote this song about her own transition through divorce.

During intermission as my boyfriend and I stood hugging each other in delight over our presence at this great musical event, Bonnie came over and gave us both a big hug and stayed to visit for awhile. I found out that she is a Yogi too! Because she travels so much she doesn’t get to go to a yoga studio very often so she practices about twice a week at home. Can I like her even more? LOL!

We talked about her decision to leave the music business two years ago and go back to school. We talked about her “Stories and Songs” project and how just when she had decided to let go of her control over her musical career – the music business came calling in a big way!

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(Bonnie listening to Angie Aparo play)

My favorite moment was when I held out my hand in a fist and said,”The problem with holding on to things tightly and being in strict control is that…..” and she took my fist, opened my fingers and said, “Nothing else can get in!” Amen Sister! She knew exactly where I was going! Cool when someone can finish your sentences!

Bonnie Bishop is an amazing woman. She can sing like no other, write songs that go straight to your heart, tell amazing stories and she is real, kind and true. She’s my favorite kind of person and I’m so glad I got a chance to meet her! Thanks Barry!

For your listening pleasure – here is a link to Bonnie Raitt singing a song written by Bonnie Bishop called Not Cause I Wanted To.   The incomparable Ms. Raitt has also recorded another of Bonnie Bishop’s song called Undone on her latest album.

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