Haley Bonar in the Spotlight

Mar. 18, 2009
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The crowd at Haley Bonar's acoustic performance this afternoon at the SXSW convention center watched the performer the same way they would an animal in a zoo, from a distance. Many chatted over her songs, like she was just another busker in a coffee shop, while the ones who were paying attention stared almost too intensely, jotting down notes in their pads or snapping photos of her.

It must have been an uncomfortable show to play, and the pressure only highlighted the discomfort in her songs. The twangy twinge in her voice often sounds like an elaborate attempt to disguise her sharp Minnesota accent, and similarly her songs, many of them about dependent relationships, wrestle with traditional, Minnesotan housewife values. "I can't make you money, I can't make you happy," Bonar sang, flashing her bright but sad eyes. "I can only fold your laundry."

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