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Bonnie Koloc

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  1. 1.
    I Can't Sleep
    4:120:30
  2. 2.
    Keep It to Yourself
    3:010:30
  3. 3.
    With You on My Side
    3:030:30
  4. 4.
    Howlin' At The Moon
    3:420:30
  5. 5.
    The Kitten
    0:440:30
Folk singer/songwriter Bonnie Koloc was a major presence in Chicago's songwriting scene during the 1970s, recording two albums for the major Epic label at the end of that decade.
Born February 6, 1946, Koloc grew up on the outskirts of Waterloo, Iowa, in difficult circumstances. Her father made a meager living at a John Deere tractor factory, and her parents divorced when she was 12. "I wore a lot of hand-me-downs, and I thought that people who had indoor johns must be rich," she told The Chicago Tribune in 1988. But she loved singing from the age of three. At the University of Northern Iowa she did poorly in classes because she was beginning to find club gigs, and she dropped out in 1968 to travel to Chicago and try to make her way in the city's burgeoning folk music scene. A fixture at the Earl of Old Town club, she rivaled John Prine and Steve Goodman in popularity in the early '70s. With a distinctive songwriting style shaped by jazz and blues inflections (the Ed Holstein composition "Jazzman" became one of her trademarks, and she also often appeared his club, Holstein's), she was signed to the Ovation label and released the album After All This Time in 1971. Five more albums on Ovation followed, with enough success that Koloc was signed to Epic, issuing the Close-Up and Wild and Recluse albums in 1976 and 1978, respectively. She took time off to begin a second career as a visual artist in the early '80s, but returned with the Flying Fish album With You on My Side in 1987. In 2010 she issued Beginnings, collecting live recordings of some of her early shows in Chicago and downstate Illinois. As of the late 2010s Koloc was living in Iowa and teaching art but often returned for performances in Chicago, where she has maintained a strong fan base. An appreciation of her role in the city's folk scene has been impeded by a lack of CD reissues of much of her work, and its absence from major online music services. ~ James Manheim, Rovi

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