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Regina Bonelli - Truth Hurts


Regina Bonelli - vocals, keyboards Tomás Doncker - guitar, vocals James Dellatacoma - guitar Mark Henry - sax, percussion Leroy "Lefty" Thompson - drums James Sedge - drums Kevin Jenkins - bass Nick Rolfe - keyboards Artur Uronen - Gonzo pedal steel guitar

Derek Matteson - harmonica Michael "Kidd Funkadelic" Hampton - guitar

Check out the interview between Regina Bonelli and the North Jersey Blues Society - it was great fun - and eye-opening -

" I always like to think of myself as a Musician first and foremost, and not a Female Musician. No one says, here’s the “male blues guitarist” Gary Clark Jr.! I think there are many talented musicians in blues who happen to be women".

To get a clear picture of Regina's latest - critically acclaimed - chart-topping release - " Truth Hurts " - that has fans raving everywhere - let's check in with Regina herself -

" I Got To Go " -

“I remember I was just sitting here feeling like, ‘I wish I could just get out of here and go somewhere and be somewhere different.’ I guess it was the feeling of the lockdown, and not having the freedom to move about and go see people and go to shows. I was just feeling stuck. I always write from an honest place. I might have been thinking more esoterically, not necessarily stuck physically. It was less about the lockdown than being stuck in a place in life. I think that’s where I originally was coming from when I wrote it – metaphorically, I’m stuck on the side of the road. If you want to take it literally, you can’t pay your bills. ‘I can’t move forward. I can’t go back.’”

The Allman Brothers’ “My Cross To Bear”- thanks to one special guest - Regina tells it , “Michael Hampton from Parliament Funkadelic, a 2X Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, plays on the third cut on the record. So it’s me, a girl singing an Allman Brothers song and Michael Hampton blazing. He’s been around with True Groove for a long time. He’s done some gigs with me, too. But the first time I was like, ‘Oh my God, Michael Hampton. That’s Kidd Funkadelic!’ He’s super mellow, so quiet. He just came in there and he killed it.”

Regina Bonelli and True Groove CEO/Global Soul movement pioneer Tomás Doncker have long contributed to each other’s works.Of what truly sets the True Groove label apart, she expresses, “Well, it’s a very family-oriented kind of thing. We are a family. They’re world-class musicians. The musicianship in the group is up there with anybody. Anybody. I’ve been around a long time, played with a lot of people, listened to a lot of people. It’s just super world-class – almost like Motown where we all play on each other’s things. The other album, Love Letter, hit number one on the Roots Music Report. First of all, it was on the charts for almost three years. It was Best of 2018, Top 200 Blues Albums. It was Best of 2019, and it was Best of 2020. It’s super amazing to see. All the guys played on that.”

During the interview with the North Jersey Blues Society Regina was asked about the impressive , guitar-heavy work on the latest release .“It’s a lot of guitar. Tomás plays; James Dellatacoma plays, and he’s actually doing a solo on ‘I Got To Go.’” Tomás solos on “The Last Tear,” an ah-ooh doo-wop soul number with wah-wah inflections. “I love this one. It reminds me of a Bobby Bland song. Michael Hampton is in there, so it’s a guitar-oriented album.”

Regina's dad was a huge influence . “He played everything, and we had a whole bunch of music in the house all the time. He played, my sister played, there were always records playing. Some of my earliest influences were Joan Baez and Curtis Mayfield.”

She played the piano at the age of four and learned to play the guitar as a teenager .

Her songwriting comes deep from her soul . Regina is a keen observer of life around her . “Most of the time it’s just me expressing myself, but I like to think it’s for every man or every woman when I write. I’m singing for my life, because I had some personal shit going on. I think that there’s kind of a desperation in there that came through in the vocals. I’m super proud of this record. I really love it. As far as my writing process, I write from the heart and from experiences, with the hope that people get something out of it.”

How does Regina feel about " Truth Hurts " - "Truth Hurts" is a hard-hitting, forceful collection of guitar-driven songs, with a few tracks of sweetness thrown in for balance. The songs represent empowerment, both on a personal and social level. The title track "Truth Hurts" talks about how finding the truth can actually be beneficial and "set you free" in a relationship. "Mr. Big Man" tackles the issue of wealth inequality. It's a soulful blues-rock album. All the musicians on the record are top notch...some of the best in the world. We are a family and work together with ease and enjoyment. Working with Tomas Doncker and James Dellatacoma, producer and engineer is sheer pleasure. We have a blast creating this music and we are all dedicated to making the best records possible. The musicians in the True Groove family are stellar artists".

We talked about meeting Odetta , renowned folk singer , though at the time Regina had no idea who the woman was who approached her ," One of my very first professional gigs was when I was 18. It was in a club called the Bitter End in NYC, which was very happening. I was singing solo with my guitar by the bar and the crowd was noisy. I started and was not used to playing out and was getting a little frustrated. A woman came up to me and told me that she heard and saw everything and was listening, and I should just do my thing. I found out later it was the famous folk singer Odetta who encouraged me that night. That always stuck with me and still means a lot to me as a performer " .

At one point in time Regina worked with " The Temptations" - Regina had a girl doo-wop / accapella group that performed with some of the best groups out there at the time , many like this particular incarnation of " The temptations ", were thrilled to have the girls performing alongside them . The crews were even happier since equipment set-ups required only a few microphones - and the crowds loved them and were ecstatic at their performances -

" A memory I have from performing with the Temptations is interesting and kind of funny, looking back. I was on the bill with them and scheduled to go on after The Temptations, and before another act. I was very young and hadn't really performed in front of such a large audience before. I was in the lobby listening to them. At this time there were only a few members of the original band left, and they had a new guy doing David Ruffin's leads. All of a sudden, in the middle of his second song, the audience started walking out in droves, congregating in the lobby. I overheard some comments and, apparently, they weren't very pleased with the new band member's singing. I knew then these folks were expecting great music, and I realized I had to bring it. I was scared but totally did my thing and it went over really well. The audience loved it. And that was my first experience with the proverbial "tough crowd!"

When Regina played " Truth Hurts " for her son , he told her , "Mom , you're this really dynamic performer and the record really captures that spirit".

" Truth Hurts " is an exceptional soul-blues release that is impressively diverse . Regina and her all-star team have pulled together an awe-inspiring collection of stylistic elements and influences . Everyone is having a great time here and those free-wheeling vibes are passed on to every listener . These musicians are truly badass ! Everyone gets a chance to show off their considerable talents. " Truth Hurts " should be among the " Best Of " lists for 2022 - marvelous originals and impressive bluesy covers with no shortage of killer blues rockers , greasy funk , and heart-wrenching soul - Regina's powerful vocals grip you and hold you tight , emotionally charged sparks that ignite your senses . " Truth Hurts "is a winner !! The perfect showcase for an incredible talent , Regina Bonelli , who is creating a tsunami world-wide ! She is in full flight and shows no signs of slowing down.

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