Following the release of her album ‘Wings’ in 2005, Bonnie Tyler went on hiatus, abandoned her song-writing ambitions and spent time flitting between Wales and Nashville. Now she’s back—and has returned with the country album of her career.
Rocks and Honey plays off Bonnie’s collaboration with country music legend Vince Gill. The two team up on “What You Need From Me”, the only duet on the album. The smooth quality of Gill’s voice compliments Bonnie’s raspy timbre. But the title isn’t just apt there: Bonnie takes other rocks and drizzles them with her own brand of sweetness for the 14 other tracks. She takes ownership of popular songs—including Carrie Underwood’s “Flat On The Floor” and Beau Davidson’s “All I Ever Wanted”—and elevates them beyond mere covers. Nashville colours much of the album. Bigwig Tennessee songwriters like Desmond Child, Brett James, Beth Hart and Frank J Myers contributed the other tracks.
“Believe In Me”, Bonnie’s Eurovision 2013 entry, is the album’s standout track. But other songs such as “Little Superstar”, “Sunshine” and “Crying” deserve praise of their own. Rocks and Honey ranks as Tyler’s best effort in recent years both in composition and lyrical delivery (even if it’s not exactly a commercial hit). It’s a good album by all accounts, and one that inches toward great the more you listen to it. However, Tyler could have been much braver with the execution. Beverley Knight recorded and produced her 5th LP, Music City Soul in Nashville, and she didn’t end up with a country album. Bonnie went beyond drawing inspiration from a place. She emerged with material that was totally predictable, and nearly 30 years old!
If Bonnie Tyler wants to regain relevance and reach new fans, then she needs to embrace modern production techniques, sound and staging. Bonnie shouldn’t just be back. She should be back with a vengeance.
Photo: Dennis Statchel (EBU)