La Bonzo

Meet La Bonzo

La Bonzo is an exciting quartet collaboration comprised of singer-songwriter Bonnie Lea Culpepper, Coleman Smith & Alex Johnstone from the award-winning band Rapidgrass, and Gary Sloan from The Royal Street Ramblers, and Joe Smith & The Spicy Pickles. Their high-energy music includes roots in blues, jazz, gypsy swing, bluegrass as well as some exhilarating original tunes all of which consistently leave their fans wanting more!

Bonnie Lea Culpepper

Bonnie Lea Culpepper has a trained background in the classical styles of piano and voice. She also has a great love for the Ukulele, which she taught herself to play at the age of 7. In school, her passion was performing Operatic pieces in many different languages and time periods. Her love of music has led her to become a touring singer/songwriter in the styles of contemporary rock, folk, Americana, jam, bluegrass, jazz, and blues. As a passionate professional musician, Bonnie places utmost importance on creative musical freedom. She is also an educator and strives to bring the skills and knowledge to her students to provide a foundation for FUN with music.

Coleman Smith

Coleman has a unique style that fuses Gypsy Swing, Jazz, Celtic, Bluegrass and Texas Fiddle, all from a classical perspective. Currently, Coleman travels the world, including an annual tour throughout Europe where he both performs and teaches workshops for Europe’s largest bluegrass festival, La Roche Bluegrass Festival. You can catch Coleman performing with his band Rapidgrass at some of the nation’s hottest music festivals including their own music festivals, Clear Creek Rapidgrass and Rapids & Grass in Buena Vista, Colorado. Coleman has had guest appearances with a wide variety of popular bands including but not limited to Leftover Salmon, Roy Williams & The Human Hands, Billy Cardine, Jeff Austin Band, and Pheobe Hunt & The Gatherers. Together with Rapidgrass Coleman has also had the pleasure of sharing the stage with David Grisman, Jeff Austin, Peter Rowan, Pete Wernick, Alex Hargreaves, Luke Bulla, and Dierks Bentley. Coleman was recently featured in Fretboard Magazine for the work he is doing in India with the Bluegrass Journeymen.

Alex Johnstone

Alex Johnstone found his love for bluegrass and mountains when he moved to Colorado shortly after high school. Since then he has played many bluegrass festivals and taught many kids music camps all over America and Canada. Alex was a member of the Colorado-based bluegrass band Spring Creek. He started his musical life as a teenager playing electric rock and blues guitar and took up the mandolin and fiddle in his early twenties. Alex started playing out professionally while ski bumming in Crested Butte Colorado and also where he met the other members of Spring Creek. He followed the band out to South Plains College in Levelland Texas where he studied music with renowned pickers Alan Mundy and Joe Carr. Alex currently makes his home in Buena Vista, Colorado and enjoys making music, skiing, and fly fishing.

Gary Sloan

Bassist Gary Sloan has music in his blood: his father started the first blues band in the state of Alaska and continues to entertain over fifty years later. Gary received a Summer Jazz Scholarship from the Northwest Arkansas Jazz Society (NAJS) in 2010; the next year Gary’s original music was featured at the NAJS Composer’s showcase and his quartet was nominated for the Northwest Arkansas Music Awards Best Jazz Group. After graduating in 2011 with a Bachelor of Arts in Music, Gary taught up to 40 students a week on guitar, bass, mandolin, piano, and ukulele at a local music store. In 2013 he moved to Boulder, CO to pursue a Master’s of Music in Jazz Performance & Pedagogy at the University of Colorado. Driven by his melodic sense and rhythmic acuity and informed by his perspective as a mulit-instrumentalist, Gary’s philosophy as a bassist is deep yet simple- above all else, the role of a bassist is to support his fellow musicians in a way that enhances the music to make the entire experience sound and feel its best.

Interested in booking La Bonzo? Drop us a line and tell us about your event!