Austin-based band Why Bonnie just released their debut album, 90 in November, via Keeled Scales. The record mixes Texas' outlaw country heritage with classic '90s alt rock for a hazy, ragged and often beautiful sound featuring Blair Howerton's melodic songwriting and smoky vocals. You can stream the whole thing below.

We asked the band to tell us more about the influences behind 90 in November, and Howerton, guitarist Sam Houdek, keyboardist Kendall Powell, bassist Chance Williams and drummer Josh Mallet all contributed items and commentary. Their list includes the weather, bands, drinks and more. Read that below.

Why Bonnie are on tour now, playing shows with Pinegrove at Asbury Park's The Stone Pony tonight (sold out) and Queens' Rockaway Hotel on Saturday (8/20), plus a headline show at Brooklyn's Baby's All Right on August 25 with Peaer and Bloomsday.

Check out all tour dates below.

WHY BONNIE - INFLUENCES BEHIND '90 IN NOVEMBER'

Heat
Texas is hot, and Texans flaunt their ability to withstand 100+ degree temperatures like a badge of honor. Sometimes the heat is like a warm blanket that loosens you up, while other times it can make you feel like your blood is about to boil over - even if you’re a native Texan. Then there’s that strange sensation where you can’t fight against the heat any longer and just have to succumb to its will. Sometimes it takes too much of the precious little energy you have left to complain anymore and your only option is to float. I wanted to sonically embody the contrast between ease and tension throughout the album, as well as the feeling of relief you get when you finally let yourself sweat it out and just go with it. [Blair]

The Lemonheads
My mom and her sister have loved The Lemonheads for as long as I can remember. The sound of their jangly '90s alternative rock was always in the background of family gatherings or car rides. As a kid, I didn’t really care too much about them because I thought of it as “mom’s music”. When I got older, I took a deep dive into their discography and had a full blown reawakening. The songs were all so familiar yet somehow brand new to me. I was finally able to appreciate the simplicity and effectiveness of Evan Dando’s songwriting and it inspired me to write in a similar way. As a band, they were able to sway between full blown rock and heartfelt sincerity, and I wanted to emulate that same range in this album. [Blair]

Lomelda - “Wonder”
This album came out in the deepest depths of 2020 and was such a source of hope and energy for me. This song specifically became a sort of daily affirmation. Sonically, it’s massive, but when you zoom in a little bit, it’s deceptively simple. Hannah’s intentionality and ability to make such lush music out of such small pieces is something I hoped to bring to this album. This song was also recorded with Tommy at Lazybones, and we even had the privilege of having Hannah assisting on the session for a few days. I remember strumming a 12-string when we were loading in realizing, “THIS is the guitar on Wonder!” [Sam]

“Lime-A-Rita” (the beverage) 
What can I say, I’ll go to bat for the Rita. For years I’ve always gotten a L.A.R. kind of as a bit before going to a party, or the park, or the studio. It’s a ridiculous choice of beverage, but that’s why I love it so much. It sets the tone. When the Lime-A-Rita shows up, you know we’ll be having a good time. And that’s what making music is all about. [Sam]

Liz Phair - Exile in Guyville
This album has always been an influence of ours in its dry recording quality - something we brought into the studio with us, intentionally avoiding some of the ethereal qualities of our previous work. On tour recently, we listened to a Sound Exploder episode about Liz Phair’s “Divorce Song”. What struck me is her way of writing on an un-amped electric guitar to 4-track tape to make her dissonant chords sound so unique. I love her way of not overworking the music on this entire album - giving us something inherently feminine while upending femininity at the same time. We talked a lot about not fixating on perfection during the recording process of 90 In November, often recanting “Wabi sabi y’all” to each other. Some of my favorite moments recording the keys on this album were when my in-key or out-of-key flubs were applauded by the band as embellishment - committing to our intention of not over-perfecting these songs. [Kendall]

Weekend trips to Galveston, TX
Galveston has been through a lot over the years, constantly rebuilding from hurricanes past, cleaning the beaches from oil spills, the list goes on -- feeling rather allegorical to the trials and tribulations of growing up. Having grown up in Houston, Galveston has always been a staple in Blair and I’s childhood, either from day trips to the beach or visiting Blair’s family’s beach house just off the San Luis Pass. The lyrics to “Galveston” came together later in the recording process, which involved some group brainstorming to get a string of descriptions together for Blair to synthesize. All I could think of during this time was watching the movie Crossroads as children on VHS (on repeat) while eating microwaved spinach artichoke dip with Blair’s family in Galveston before hitting the dirtbike with Bristol on the muddy beach. To this day, I feel compelled to roll the windows down the moment I hit the Seawall in Galveston, because the smell (or stench) alone evokes nostalgia. [Kendall]

Driving out to Silsbee
Anyone familiar with driving through Texas knows the phenomenon of the landscape unfolding as it changes before you. You can pass through the West Texas desert, into the North Texas Prairie, eventually hitting the Central Hill Country before you tap into the East Texas Swamplands, all in one state. In January 2021, I hadn’t really traveled or seen many people in the past year so I was eager to get to the studio. We loaded my car full of gear and set out on our four-hour long drive to Silsbee. The slow roll into the towering tree tops and muggy air allowed me to really settle into the idea of what we were on our way to do. Recording this album felt like living in a dream state for two weeks, and the drive there really allowed me to reset myself in order to fully submerge into the experience. [Chance]

Andy Shauf - The Party
This album has been on repeat for me for years. The drums specifically lay in the background and are never too flashy but serve the song which is something I wanted to recreate in 90 In November. The songwriting process for me for this album was basically interpreting Blair’s directions and then applying them in practice a week before we went to Silsbee. There was no time to get flashy with it, only to serve the song. Usually when I come up with drum ideas I have to peel away layers to get to something simple. With 90 in November, I thought to myself, “what would Andy do?”. By playing simply, it provides a strong foundation for everything else to rest on. We recorded in that order as well, starting with drums and layering everything on top bit by bit. A good foundation isn’t flashy, but it’s the only way to build something beautiful. [Josh]

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Why Bonnie - 2022 Tour Dates
Fri. Aug. 19 - Asbury Park, NJ @ The Stone Pony ^
Sat. Aug. 20 - Queens, NY @ Rockaway Hotel ^
Tue. Aug. 23 - Nantucket, MA @ The Gaslight
Thu. Aug. 25 - New York, NY @ Baby’s All Right *
Fri. Sept. 16 - Austin, TX @ The Ballroom *
Sat. Sept. 17 - San Antonio, TX @ Paper Tiger
Thu. Sept. 22 - Houston, TX @ White Oak Upstairs
Fri. Sept. 23 - Tyler, TX @ Stanley’s BBQ
Sat. Sept. 24 - Dallas, TX @ Three Links

^supporting Pinegrove
* Record Release Show

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