Bona Fide Rocker

Steve Egelman soaks up the music in two Americana bands

While he’s technically a New York native, guitarist and songwriter Steve Egelman’s 25-year run in the Bay Area has given him enough West Coast time to cement a reputation in the San Francisco music scene that now spans several acclaimed projects.

Currently, Egelman’s main gig is with whiskey-soaked Americana outfit Mad Mama & the Bona Fide Few, who perform on Thursday, May 2 at 19 Broadway in Fairfax in a benefit concert to raise funds for Jerry Knight’s Historic River Theater, which suffered catastrophic losses in last February’s flooding in Guerneville.

Formed in 2011 when Egelman and cohorts met ukulele player and vocalist Mad Mama, the Bona Fide Few is a boisterous blend of rock, blues, punk and Americana.

“Mad Mama is fantastic, she’s a stalwart in the local music scene,” says Egelman. “We were playing as an Americana trio before she joined us. The first time Mad Mama showed up, it was such an impactful and fun jam session. She brings a personality and charisma and a monstrous voice.”

Earlier this year, Mad Mama & the Bona Fide Few released their first full-length album, Get Some!, that collects their original barroom ready hits like “Late Zombie Night” and “Buy Me Another Beer.”

“We have a few tunes where Mad Mama will get the crowd singing along with us,” says Egelman. “She’ll take the crowd to church, and it’s fantastic.”

When he’s not a part of the Bona Fide few, Egelman plays a different brand of Americana in Gutter Swan, a duo with vocalist Loryn Barbeau. “She comes from an operatic background,” says Egelman of Barbeau. “She decided that wasn’t what she enjoyed doing anymore, but she loves more popular music.”

Gutter Swan does not write their own material, but they are hardly a cover band; rather they find songs by songwriters like Steve Earle and Carole King and re-interpret them in new musical variations to find new meanings in the lyrics. Gutter Swan also has a new record out, Where the Dark and Light Mingle, which they play from on Saturday, May 4, at the Neck of the Woods in San Francisco.

For the upcoming show at 19 Broadway, Egelman is looking forward to lending a hand to the River Theatre in Guerneville. “It’s a music pillar in the community up there,” says Egelman. We’re excited to be able to help them out.”

Mad Mama & the Bona Fide Few play with Bedrockers on Thursday, May 2, at 19 Broadway, Fairfax. 8pm. $20.
Charlie Swanson
Charlie Swanson is a North Bay native and an arts and music writer and editor who has covered the local scene since 2014.
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