Legendary Songwriter Karla Bonoff to Perform at Stargazers Theater in Colorado Springs | Culture & Leisure
“I forgot how to do it,” Karla Bonoff said shortly after answering the phone. She’s getting ready to hit the road for the first time in 18 months, and parts of the process she’s memorized seem like a distant blur.
“Everything,” she says, from how to store her gear to how to play songs she’s performed for decades.
“I used to do all of this in my sleep,” she said. “Now I feel rusty about all of this.”
It’s reasonable to bet that Bonoff will bounce back quickly. She’s been doing this for about 50 years, after all. Bonoff is the Grammy-winning songwriter behind hits made famous by Bonnie Raitt and Wynonna Judd and Linda Rondstadt.
But even legends can look rusty.
Unlike other musicians who have snuck into live shows since the pandemic began in March 2020, Bonoff, 69, has not performed at all.
She remembers being on her way to a show in mid-March and receiving the phone call that said, “Everything is canceled. Turn around and go home.
Bonoff hasn’t bothered all of the time at home since then, spent around his pets, his garden and in the recording studio. But after so many months, “things started to get monotonous.”
Now is the time for a tour that includes a Thursday stop at the Stargazers Theater in Colorado Springs. She performed there in 2018 and 2019.
“As much as I have a love / hate relationship with the road, I just love playing music and being on stage,” she said. ” That’s what I do. I thrive on it. And it keeps life from being boring.
It has almost always been a part of his life, as Bonoff started writing songs and playing guitar at the age of 15. She worked hard for a slot machine at Troubadour, an iconic rock club just 20 minutes from her home in Los Angeles. She ran in the same circle as youngsters like Jackson Browne, James Taylor, and Elton John, who were all part of a growing singer-songwriter movement in the 1960s.
She turned to music, choosing not to go to college or pursue another career.
“And I never changed my mind,” she said.
Bonoff says she is grateful to be in the right place at the right time.
“Because of where I grew up, I was able to throw myself into this world,” she said. “I had the chance to be there at this magical and wonderful moment. You had people like The Eagles and Linda Ronstadt… they all got together in one place and wrote.
Back then, she said, they all felt like kids who loved music and could barely pay their rent.
“It was a bit like the Old West,” she said. “It was wide open and it was up to us to forge our own paths.”
Bonoff’s path was uniquely hers, which led to her being considered one of the best songwriters of her generation. She wrote songs like “All My Life”, which Ronstadt made famous, and “Tell My Why”, sung by Wynonna Judd.
In 2019, she released “Carry Me Home”, after 10 years without recording any new music. The album featured her own versions of the greatest songs she wrote, which she spent years performing live and creating her own.
She says she could never teach a songwriting class because it’s still a mystery to her.
“These songs come out of the ether,” Bonoff said. “It’s like, where did it come from?” There is no better feeling than creating something that was not there before.
She will never forget how good it is.
“When it clicks, know it,” she said.