February 6, 1946 |
|Genres||American folk music|
Bonnie Koloc (born February 6, 1946) is an American folk music singer-songwriter, actress, and artist who was considered one of the three main Illinois-based folk singers in the 1970s, along with Steve Goodman and John Prine forming the "trinity of the Chicago folk scene.". Her material continues to be recognized and valued by historians of Chicago folk music as well as by her long standing fan base in that area.
Koloc was born in Waterloo, Iowa, to a working-class family: "I guess you could say we were poor; we lived in a cement block house outside the city limits of Waterloo, Iowa, and my dad worked in the John Deere factory. Money was very tight. I wore a lot of hand-me-downs, and I thought that people who had indoor johns must be rich. I had a really unstable childhood, because my parents were divorced when I was 12, and there was a lot of chaos. I spent a lot of time during my high school years trying to get myself together from my childhood."
The first of her family to attend college, she enrolled in the University of Northern Iowa, first majoring in drama, then art, paying her way by singing, but becoming increasingly dissatisfied with university life. She abandoned her studies to go to Chicago, where she became a fixture of the influential Earl of Old Town.
She had a minor hit with "Roll Me On the Water" from the 1974 album You're Gonna Love Yourself in the Morning, but never achieved the national recognition many predicted for her. She has, however, maintained her iconic status in the Chicago area where she is considered, along with Steve Goodman and John Prine, to have been a quintessential influence in the development of Chicago folk music during the 1970s and beyond. Her signature song, "Jazzman", written by Ed Holstein, continues to be requested at concerts, and Bonnie's inimitable rendition is often considered to have elevated this musical piece into the realm of vocal art.
In the 1980s, after the death of her long-time companion, she pursued a career as an actress, and performed in plays such as Joseph Papp's Broadway production of The Human Comedy, but by the late '80s, she focused on her art studies. Currently living in Iowa with her husband, author Robert Wolf, Bonnie has taught at the University of Iowa, launched several art shows, and continued to hone her beautiful and unique singing voice. Since 2000, Bonnie Koloc has resumed her musical career and continues to perform concerts in the Chicago area, much to the delight of her faithful fans, friends, and well wishers.