Album of the Week: Haley Bonar, 'Impossible Dream'

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Haley Bonar, 'Impossible Dream'
Haley Bonar, 'Impossible Dream' (GNDWIRE Records)

Haley Bonar's latest effort, Impossible Dream, is a thing of beauty.

The follow-up to 2014's critically acclaimed Last War, Bonar's new album is a shimmering, reflective collection of memories and faded dreams. In her own words:


"Everybody wants a story. Something to sell. I'm here to tell you that there isn't one with this album, at least in the traditional sense, but 10. Perhaps each of them contain more stories, sitting inside each other like nesting dolls. I could sit here and tell you that some of the songs are about growing up in the Black Hills. Some of the songs are about my parents. Some of the songs are about sexuality. Some of the songs are about loss of youth, teenage parenthood, the lines of social disorder for women, or the terror of jealousy and suspicion. But what I write is borne of my own set of memories and ideas, and once they are released into the world, they do not belong to me anymore. The interpretation is all yours, therefore these stories are yours."

And she's absolutely right. There is something disquietingly familiar to these stories. Bonar has always had a gift for wordplay and lyrics. Sometimes snarky, often deeply poignant. Here, her skills are used expertly to convey deeply personal stories of loss, regret and watching so many of the promises of youth disappear in the rear-view mirror.

But make no mistake, Impossible Dream is no mopey slog. Recorded on analog at Pachyderm Studios in Cannon Falls, Minn., the album has a warm, fuzzy tone that cradles these songs perfectly. Certainly, there are quieter, more thoughtful moments, but there are also hooks for days.

Here, we are witness to an artist who is not only at the top of her songwriting game, but one who is also brave enough to bare her soul and stories for all to experience. This might be her best yet. Just like her last effort, expect to see this album on lots of year-end "best of" lists.

Haley Bonar's Impossible Dream releases Friday, Aug., 5, on GNDWIRE Records.

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  • Haley Bonar
    Haley Bonar's new album, Impossible Dream, comes out Aug. 5. (Graham Tolbert/Courtesy of the artist)

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