Haley Bonar

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Haley Bonar
Haley Bonar.jpg
Background information
Born 1983
Brandon, Manitoba
Origin Rapid City, South Dakota, United States
Genres Alt country
Indie rock
Associated acts Low, Andrew Bird, Sleepfarmer, Gramma's Boyfriend
Website Official website
Members Jacob Hanson, Jeremy Hanson, Kate Murray, Jeremy Ylvisaker, Eric Pollard, Al Church
Past members Alan Sparhawk, Chris Morrissey, Jim Boquist, Dave King
Notable instruments
Fender Rhodes keyboard
1957 Guild acoustic guitar

Haley Bonar (born 1983, Brandon, Manitoba) is an American alternative country singer-songwriter who hails from South Dakota. She has lived in Duluth and St. Paul, Minnesota. She currently lives in St. Paul. [1] In July 2009, she moved to Portland, Oregon, where she spent a year writing songs for her newest album Golder, which was released April 19, 2011.[2] She plays mostly acoustic guitar and a rhodes or wurlitzer organ, either solo or with her Twin Cities-based band, including Jeremy Ylvisaker and Mike Lewis of Andrew Bird fame, as well as long time band mates Luke Anderson on drums and Jacob Hanson on guitar.

Life and work[edit]

In 2003 Bonar's album . . . The Size of Planets (Chairkicker's Union) received favorable reviews in the Twin Cities press. The album spawned the single "Am I Allowed," which was played on college radio stations. Bonar was 20 years old when the album was released, and did a number of tours with Duluth band Low upon its release. She also toured with the likes of Mason Jennings, Richard Buckner, Rivulets and Mary Lou Lord, who was also, for a time, Bonar's manager.

In 2006 she released the album Lure the Fox, originally on Mary Ellen Recordings, whose owner, Mary Lewis, decided to help Bonar pay to record the album at Pachyderm Studio after reading a Star Tribune article about her in 2005. Dave King of Happy Apple and The Bad Plus plays drums, Chris Morrissey plays bass, and the album features Low's Alan Sparhawk on the track "Give it Up." Also on that track is David Frankenfeld, Bonar's former drummer, who played on The Size of Planets. One year after Lure the Fox was recorded, Bonar signed with local label Afternoon Records, who then released the album nationally in October 2006.

Lure the Fox earned Bonar two Minnesota Music Awards, one for Best American Roots recording, and another for Best American Roots artist. The album also topped many Twin Cities year-end favorite lists, including those of the Star Tribune, City Pages, The Onion, and Pulse magazine. Bonar was also featured on the cover of Metro magazine.[3]

Big Star, released in June 2008 on Afternoon Records, gained Bonar a broader audience with songs like "Big Star," "Green Eyed Boy," and "Arms of Harm," which was featured on the credits for an episode of Showtime's The United States of Tara. The songs "Queen of Everything," "Big Star," and "Something Great" were also featured on MTV's show Teen Moms in 2009/2010.

Bonar is featured on the 2007 Andrew Bird record Armchair Apocrypha and has frequently shared the stage with Bird over the past five years. She sang on the feature song "Quiet Breathing" from the independent film Sweet Land, directed by fellow Minnesotan Ali Selim.

In 2009, Bonar's move from St. Paul to Portland, Oregon was noted by City Pages.[4] She returned to the St. Paul in July 2010 and again became very active in the Twin Cities music scene. Upon completion of her album Golder, she also started a side project band called Gramma's Boyfriend, a "no-wave, new wave, punkish kind of thing that sounds like the Twin Peaks High School prom band".


  • Haley Bryn Bonar (Slicktunes Recording, 2001)
  • 9 Song Demo (Self released, 2002)
  • ...The Size of Planets (Chairkicker's Union, 2003)
  • Lure the Fox EP (Self released, 2004)
  • Lure the Fox (Afternoon Records, 2006)
  • Big Star (Afternoon Records, 2008)
  • Only X-Mas EP (Self released, 2008)
  • Sing With Me EP (Self released, 2010)
  • Golder (Graveface Records, April 2011)
  • Bad Reputation 7" (Noiseland, November 2012)
  • Last War (Graveface Records, May 2014)


External links[edit]