Singer, guitar player, and songwriter Debbie Bond has been paying her dues in the Alabama backwoods for over forty years. Influenced by raw juke joint blues and the famed sounds of Muscle Shoals, Debbie's impressive story includes years of performing with traditional Alabama blues musicians, like Johnny Shines, Eddie Kirkland, Willie King, Shar Baby, Little Jimmy Reed and more. Immersion in Alabama roots music has deeply flavored her guitar playing, soulful voice and original song writing, giving her a contemporary and original sound, with soul, blues, and jazz influences.
Debbie's collaboration with British born keyboard / harmonica player (and husband) “Radiator” Rick has added a swampy New Orleans edge to her sound. Backed by a band or performing as a duo, they are regulars on the Southeastern U.S. and European festival, club and songwriting circuit.
Debbie is a blues activist and founder of the award-winning Alabama Blues Project, a non-profit dedicated to promoting and preserving the state’s blues heritage. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including a “Keeping the Blues Alive Award” from the Blues Foundation, and a prestigious “Coming Up Taller Award” for her blues education work with the Alabama Blues Project. She has been recognized by the Alabama Music Hall of Fame as a “Blues Achiever” and the national Blues Hall of Fame as a “Great Blues Artist”.
Born in California to a musical family, Bond moved to Europe aged 8, where she soon fell in love with the exciting new American music of the 60s. She began to play guitar at age 12 and her first solo performance was on a Sierra Leonean TV show in West Africa at age 13. She subsequently joined her first band while attending college in Brighton England. In 1979, Bond moved back to the US and settled in Alabama where she worked with many of the blues masters, sharing her band with the late, great Johnny Shines. Together, they performed at many Southern clubs and festivals from 1981 until his death in 1992. She continued to work alongside great Alabama bluesmen, such as Jerry Boogie McCain, James Peterson, Eddie Kirkland, Sam Lay, Little Jimmy Reed, Willie King and more.
Inspired by Johnny Shines, Bond co-founded the Alabama Blues Project to promote and preserve the state's blues heritage in 1995. That year she also toured England, Ireland, Scotland and Germany opening for the Alabama duo Little Whitt and Big Bo. In 1997 she was included on a live compilation, Alabama Blues Showcase, released by the Alabama Blues Society. Through this period Bond continued to perform with her own band at clubs and festivals in Alabama; a regular at City Stages, Kentuck Festival, W.C. Handy Festival and the Chukker.
1998 saw the release of her debut album, What Goes Around Comes Around. In 2001 she was featured as one of the artist on Germany’s Taxim Records' compilation, Blues From the Heart of Dixie. With the Alabama Blues Project, she performed many "Blues in the Schools" programs and showcase concerts, often with Big Bo McGee until his untimely death in 2002. She returned to school during this period to enhance her blues education work and received an MA in American Studies, specializing in the blues, in 2002. That year she also received an Alabama/Georgia State Council on the Arts Apprenticeship Award to study guitar with Eddie Kirkland, with whom she often performed and presented school programs until his death in 2011.
In 2002 she restructured the award-winning Alabama Blues Project (ABP) into an educational non-profit. The ABP school programs and showcases featured many of the great Alabama blues musicians, with whom she regularly performed. Through the ABP she impacted thousands of students of all ages and received multiple arts and education awards, including a KBA from the Blues Foundation in 2004. Bond is also listed as an Alabama Music Hall of Fame Music Achiever.
Bond played second guitar for Alabama blues man Willie King in his band the Liberators from 2003 until his death in 2009 and also recorded on his last two albums. With King, she toured in the US from backwoods house parties and juke joints to well-known venues and festivals, including King's own Freedom Creek Blues Festival in Old Memphis, AL, the Highway 61 Blues Festival in Leland, MS, Ground Zero Blues Club, the Sunflower Festival and the Juke Joint Festival in Clarksdale, MS, the King Biscuit Festival in Helena, AR, and the Richmond Folk Festival in VA. Overseas, Bond performed with King at many European festivals, including the Cognac Blues Passions Festival in Cognac, France, the Roots and Blues Festival in Parma, Italy, and the Blues 'n' Jazz festival in Rapperswil, Switzerland.
More recently, Debbie has been performing with other notable and talented Alabama blues women in the state, such as Carroline Shines (daughter of Johnny), Shar Baby, Rachel Edwards, Sweet Claudette, and B.J. Miller. As a member of blues women showcase performances, Debbie has performed across the state, from the City of Mobile's Arts Alive Festival to the Ritz Theater in Muscle Shoals. The Alabama Bureau of Tourism declared 2011 to be the Year of Alabama Music and Debbie has featured in many Alabama music promotions, including The Oxford American, Southern Living Magazine and a PBS documentary on Alabama music.
Last but not least, after years of immersion in Alabama blues, Debbie is now focusing on her own original music. In late 2011, she released her sophomore album, Hearts Are Wild and in 2014 her critically acclaimed live CD, That Thing Called Love. Her next CD, Enjoy The Ride, was recorded in Muscle Shoals and released in April 2016. Her most recent album, released in 2021, is Blues Without Borders - check it out!