Pensacola, Florida
Monday July 22nd 2019

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A Musical Bond

By C. Scott Satterwhite

Every song Greg Bond played at PensacolaPRIDE came straight from the heart.

As his eyes closed, Bond gripped the guitar and pulled the neck closer to his mouth. The songs, pensive and thoughtful, seemed to come from somewhere deep inside, with little space between words. Verses floated on the breeze as the next line came and tried to catch up, bouncing along with chords.

Maybe it was the heat of the day, or more likely, it was the gifted artist in Seville Square’s gazebo, but the crowd looked mesmerized with the guitarist in front of them.

“I’d buy everything he had if he had something for sale,” remarked Brian Heike, an organizer of PensacolaPRIDE.  “I just loved his bluesy vibe and his sound.”

As of now, Bond has nothing for sale, so the experience is all the audience has to take from each show. He does have a growing YouTube presence, but still, listeners are just as likely to encounter him while out and about in Pensacola.

Anyone who has been around the city’s music scene much, especially lately, has probably seen Bond more than once. With his distinctive white acoustic guitar and Freddie Mercury mustache, he’s become a fixture in just about any venue that has a space for him to stand and perform.

From the skate shops to the bars, he really gets around. However, it wasn’t the music scene that brought him to town. Like many Pensacolians, Bond came to our shores thanks to the military.

The child of two Navy veterans, the budding artist lived in Texas and overseas before his family settled in Pensacola, where he attended Catholic High School.

During this period, music seeped into his life.

“I picked up the guitar when I was about 17 years old,” said Bond. “I was in this bluegrass and gospel revue at the Pensacola Little Theatre. The actors had to play their own instruments. Doug Holsworth played the guitar in the show, so in between our scenes, or any downtime, I’d ask him to teach me a couple of chords.”

That Christmas, Bond received the gift he wanted—his first guitar.

Soon after, he played his first show at Sluggo’s when it was located on Cervantes Street.

While his musical style clearly draws from the Elliott Smith and Aimee Mann school of songwriting, his performance and vocal style is a cross between Erykah Badu and Tom Waits. The result of this unlikely pairing is hypnotic.

The prospect of a tour is on the horizon, probably when he has an LP or EP to sell. But for now, Bond is happy regularly giving around town.

Playing Pensacola isn’t easy, though, he told Inweekly.

“Remaining positive when trying to get notoriety in a smaller area can be taxing,” said Bond, “keeping focused on what it is that makes you stand out and makes you special, even if you’re playing covers to folks who may not necessarily be there to watch you.”

“I’ve played some pretty great sets with just me, the sound guy and a bartender,” he said.

As with many singer-songwriters, Bond often is thrown into the Folk/Americana category. But just one listen shows his style is more complex.

One of his influences is the legendary local musician Kent Stanton, former lead singer of ‘80s punk band The Unemployed. These days, Stanton is just as likely to be playing a house show with the younger punks as to be singing on the street during the Palafox Market on Saturday afternoon.

Listening to Bond perform, it’s easy to see where Stanton’s influence fits, not only in style but in hustle.

“I admire how hard he’s getting it out there,” said Stanton. “He is passionate and sincere. [That’s] all I ask for in a punk, artist or musician. He got soul.”

That soul Stanton mentioned comes through during Bond’s live shows.

A veteran of the stage, he admits to loving the theatricality of live performance.

“I’ve been involved with theatre or singing ever since I can remember. I love performing in straight plays and musicals alike. Getting to perform at the Tennessee Williams Theatre Festival in Provincetown [Massachusetts] last summer was like a dream come true,” said Bond.

With regular bookings all over town, Bond’s career seems to be taking an upward turn. His ultimate goal, however, is like that of most artists.

“I just want to sing the music I like to write or just sing. I want to live comfortably performing the music I love.”

Until that day comes, Bond continues his hustle and plays what he describes as his “somber, downcast, bluesy” music for anyone who’ll listen.

Greg Bond
WHAT:  Greg Bond with Jonathan Puzan
WHEN: 7 p.m. Friday, July 5
WHERE: Open Books, 1040 N. Guillemard St.
COST: $5-7
Details: facebook.com/gregbondmusic