- Hard Times
- Lost My House
- When the Levee Breaks
- Turn On Your Love Light (live at New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, May 2, 2009)
- Mark Mullins – Trombone, Vocals
- Craig Klein – Trombone, Vocals
- Greg Hicks – Trombone, Backing Vocals
- Steve Suter – Trombone
- Eric Bolivar – Drums
- Bert Cotton – Guitar
- Nori Naraoka – Bass
- Brian Coogan – Organ (1-4)
- Joe Ashlar – Organ (5)
review from offbeat magazine
01 December 2009 — by Alex Rawls
Hard Times is Bonerama’s first studio recording after three live albums, and moving the band to the studio poses a number of challenges beyond maintaining the groove and vibe that comes with performing live. In concert, Bonerama’s as loud and physical as many guitar-based rock bands, partially because of similarities between the range of the trombone and the electric guitar, and because Bonerama plays loud. At Jazz Fest, the band’s music frequently bleeds over to adjoining stages, particularly when it’s windy. How do you capture something that intense in the studio?
To their credit, they don’t try. Instead, the five-song EP is an introduction of the things Bonerama does—a Mark Mullins song, a Craig Klein song, a funky instrumental, and two covers. One represents the sort of thing they’re known for—”When the Levee Breaks”—and one’s a broadening of their repertoire— Bobby “Blue” Bland’s “Turn on Your Love Light.” They only roll out their piledriver weight for the Led Zep cover; otherwise, they’re content to be a solid funk band and are exactly that. Mullins’ title cut is a bit poppier, Klein’s “Lost My House” has a bit of a Neville groove, but those tracks move more nimbly than you’d expect after one of their classic rock covers.
Lyrically, Hard Times catches what seems like a transitional moment. Because of Klein’s association with the Arabi Wrecking Krewe and his own loss in the post-Katrina flood, the band has been heavily associated with the hurricane, and “When the Levee Breaks” certainly reinforces that connection. Mullins and Klein’s songs both reference hard times and loss, but both seem to be looking for where to go from here. Both lyrics get a little hazy, either in their vagueness or privacy, but Bonerama is one band that really has remained in development since conception, even though it found its sound fairly early. Hard Times hints at where a band in constant transition might go next.