Bonnie & The Clydes play Arapahoe Basin Ski Area concert series Saturday
IF YOU GO
What: Bonnie & The Clydes
When: Saturday, May 14; 1–4 p.m.
Where: Base Area Plaza, Arapahoe Basin Ski Area
As a child, Bonnie Sims would tag along with her musician father to his hired gigs in Texas. Earning 50 cents to sing a song, she and her sister would travel with him to libraries and schools for performances for local children.
Once she picked up the guitar at age 12, she was able to sit in with her dad at places like Six Flags, where he dressed the part of an old-time banjo player. A few summers, she even traveled with him to Branson, Missouri to play Silver Dollar City’s National Harvest Festival, ingraining a love for country music in Sims at a young age.
She was working at a Starbucks in 2010 when she had one of those, “What am I doing with my life?” moments. As someone who has played music her whole life, she knew it was a full-time musician’s life she was meant to live.
Bonnie & The Clydes, the band she formed in 2010, will play Arapahoe Basin Ski Area on Saturday, May 14 as part of its Shakin’ at the Basin Spring Concert Series. The music is free and runs from 1–4 p.m. at the Base Area Plaza.
FINDING HER CLYDES
Sims went to South Plains College in Texas, where she earned Best Female Vocalist both years she attended and Best Female Instrumentalist her final year. In addition to a double major in mandolin and vocals, she also met her husband and musical partner, Taylor Sims, and the pair moved out to Colorado. Taylor, after playing with his band Spring Creek for 10 years, is now one of the full-time Clydes with Bonnie, playing lead guitar and vocals.
While some bands have had issues with couples in the group, Bonnie said the two balance each other out.
“People wonder that a lot because you do hang out 24/7 and share a car, but, honestly, it is a godsend because he is everything I’m not in so many ways, especially professionally. … Also he drives everywhere, I don’t ever have to drive, so I’m so happy,” she jokes.
Other members of the band include Jake Coffin on drums, Glenn Taylor on pedal steel guitar and Caleb Roberts, bass. The lineup of Clydes is different from the group Sims first formed in 2010, and she said the current band has a very cohesive sound.
“Right now is the best it’s ever felt,” she said of the current group. “It’s an exciting place to be.”
While Bonnie & The Clydes may be technically considered country, there is a lot of variation in their music. As with many other styles of music, the band blends genres to formulate their own sound.
“Over the last five years, we’ve evolved and started writing a lot of our own music and pulling from those influences of music that we love — but also some more contemporary elements, some rock and roll, some more alternative sounds,” Bonnie said. “We definitely push the definition of country a little bit at this point because we are writing our own stuff.”
The band has a stacked tour schedule around the Front Range and where the members live in Longmont. The band travels twice a year out to Sims’ stomping grounds in Austin and Dallas, and they have a few festivals already lined up for summer. Bonnie and her husband Taylor will be traveling to Germany and the Netherlands this summer to play as a duo.
Bonnie & The Clydes picked up Best Country Band for 2013 and 2014 from the Denver Westword’s Yearly Best Of poll. Readers vote for the winners, and Bonnie attributes the accolade to how much the band plays around town.
“It’s like a temperature taker; we are getting our name out there and people like us,” she said. “It’s nice to be recognized.”
The band will find out in June whether they have made the list again this year.
Bonnie & The Clydes recently released their fourth album, “Dear Somebody.” It’s their first album of all original music, which Bonnie says is an exciting milestone for the group. It’s also the first album with the current lineup of players.
“I feel like, for me as a performer, the studio is such a different challenge,” she said. “Performing live is really fun, and it feels like how it’s supposed to be, and, when I get in a vocal booth all by myself, I overthink, and I’m over critical and kind of struggle to be able to emote and convey things the way that I feel like I can onstage.”
With this album, she said she was able to relax and be herself through the process, without getting wrapped up with worrying about it.
The group is holding an album release party on Friday, May 27 at Swallow Hill Tuft Theatre in Denver and Saturday, May 28 at Dickens Opera House in Longmont.
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