A. A. Bondy, Elvis Perkins

When Scott Bondy was lead singer for Verbena, he was just another guy with cool influences. Whether it was channeling the Rolling Stones or Nirvana, Verbena got some decent radio airplay, but was never much of a contender in the originality department.

Once Scott became A.A., he began bringing a bigger country influence into his mix—and it seems to be working out for him. American Hearts, his 2007 debut, and the recently issued When the Devil's Loose both sound a great deal like Ryan Adams' more focused work. It's a good thing, yeah, but it's easy to question Bondy's relatively newfound country sincerity.

Thankfully for him, Bondy's songwriting chops and minimalist approach win out in the long run, as the late-night atmosphere of songs such as "On the Moon," "Oh the Vampyre" and "The Coal Hits the Fire" present a fellow who's finally found his muse. Sure, there are handfuls of folks mining similar terrain, but Bondy's relaxed demeanor says mouthfuls about his confident embrace of all the things that make roots music worthwhile.


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