Benefits

Little Kids Rock Students Sit in on BonTaj Soundcheck

on August 11, 2009 No comments

  BREAKING NEWS

BonTaj Roulet Recollection

Picture this scenario: You’re 11 years old, from Jersey City, and can’t afford a guitar. Your teacher brings you and six classmates to the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), a jewel of a theater in the middle of Newark, to meet blues legends Bonnie Raitt and Taj Mahal. You pull out the brand-new, custom Fender® acoustic guitar that was just gifted to you and relinquish it to Taj, who tunes it, plays a funky riff, and hands it back. All you can do is look at your friend with wide eyes and say, “Taj Mahal just played my guitar!”

That is the sentiment that could be seen on the face of one of the seven fortunate students from P.S. 29 who received an exclusive pre-concert performance from the two rockstars at the show’s soundcheck. The duo is in the middle of a tour called BonTaj Roulet, which is raising funds and awareness for various charities.

Bonnie’s guitar sizzled while Taj blew the blues on his harp. Her fiery red hair and smooth singing complimented his cool straw hat and booming, raspy voice. They came down off the stage after introducing their bands and answered questions from the aspiring rock ‘n’ rollers.

“These are some of the best questions I’ve ever been asked,” Taj said as he looked at Bonnie, who nodded in agreement. “Do you want to take this one?”

“Sure,” she responded, and explained to the children that, yes, she does sometimes get homesick while touring, and no, she didn’t get to where she is without putting in hours upon hours of hard work.

Bonnie and Taj continued to provide answers and anecdotes to the kids, who clutched the new acoustic guitars with which Little Kids Rock surprised them. They were amazed to find out that they were the first people in the world to own the ESC-80 educational model Fender® acoustic guitar, which was custom-made for Little Kids Rock.

In the lobby, with their new guitars in hand and a camera pointed their way, the Little Kids Rock guitar class from Jersey City huddled around Taj, who emitted an aura of cool, and Bonnie, whose flowing, red hair with the signature white stripe was the picture’s centerpiece.

Several fans snapped pictures from outside, reminding Bonnie and Taj that their scheduled performance was rapidly approaching, and they had yet to eat dinner. However, they told the kids to line up so that they could each get an individual photo with the pair before they left to perform for several thousand fans.

“Keep playing,” Bonnie said as she headed backstage. “You’ll get here one day.”

Source: © Copyright Little Kids Rock

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Wish you were (t)here: Bonnie Raitt at the Pavilion, April 22, 2007

on April 26, 2007 No comments
© William Walker

© William Walker

by Hawes Spencer

“This has been a heavy week,” Bonnie Raitt said, welcoming 3,000-plus fans to the newly revamped Charlottesville Pavilion in a sold-out Sunday night performance benefiting the Charlottesville Free Clinic. “So let’s just gather together, count our blessings, and dedicate this to the folks at Virginia Tech.”

Under the giant fabric dome and before a constantly moving backdrop bathed in red light, Raitt, in a shimmery green blouse, proceeded
to rock out, although she did pause to boast of her biodiesel-fueled fleet of tour vehicles. “Alternative energy, baby,” said Raitt. “It’s safe, and we don’t have to go to war over it.”

Guitarist George Marinelli tells Raitt a funny secret. © William Walker

Guitarist George Marinelli tells Raitt a funny secret. © William Walker

The mostly short-sleeved crowd, enjoying a respite from the chilly days that preceded the concert, erupted long before the russet-haired guitarist got to her bluesy country crossover hits including “Thing Called Love,” “I Can’t Make You Love Me,” and the one that quashed the celebrity hopes of Sanjaya Malakar, the would-be American Idol voted off the star-winnowing television program just four days earlier. He had performed Raitt’s trademark hit “Something to Talk About” to the howls of the celebrity judges (and apparently the public).
“Let’s give ’em something for Sanjaya to talk about,” declared Raitt to laughter and applause.

An emotional climax came soon after when she announced she’d play a John Prine song, “Angel from Montgomery,” a mournful ballad of an unfulfilled life.
“I thought about those folks from Virginia Tech during that whole song,” said Raitt as the crowd offered a standing ovation. “Virginia is for lovers, indeed.”

Source: © Copyright The Hook

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Raitt’s concert something to talk about

on February 16, 2006 No comments
JOSEF WOODARD, NEWS-PRESS CORRESPONDENT – February 16, 2006 11:55 AM

Catching Bonnie Raitt at the Arlington Theatre, as a full house did for a generous Valentine’s Day concert of musical kindness, is bound to trigger nostalgia for some. Longtime locals will remember hearing her in this special venue, going back to the “prehistoric age” of the late 1970s, when she was a cult and critical favorite.

That was long before she became a “comeback” sensation and a representative voice for aging baby boomers with her late-blooming hit 1989 album “Nick of Time.”

By this point, she’s going strong and connecting all the varied dots of her musical identity at age 56.

Raitt manages to be a deft multitasker of an artist, and her latest album, “Souls Alike,” is one of her most exciting and artistically varied records in years.

Bonnie Raitt at a benefit concert for the UCSB Arts & Lectures educational outreach program – February 2006

Taking the stage with her fiery and subtle band, Raitt put on a captivating show, during which she juggled her multiple hats: organic R&B funk chef, pop chanteuse with heart on sleeve, blues woman with a dirty mind and inveterate activist.

In this benefit concert for the UCSB Arts & Lectures educational outreach program, Raitt touted the fact that their tour bus was running on biodiesel — and quite nicely, thank you.

In short, Raitt gave the crowd what it wanted, and needed.

She tugged on midlife heartstrings, invoking the sweet sadness of time’s passage with “Nick of Time.”

But she also got gritty when singing seminal blues woman Sippi Wallace’s “Women be Wise” (key line, “don’t advertise your man”) and “I Believe I’m in Love with You,” by Kim Wilson, the Goleta-bred blues hero (aka “Goleta Slim”).

As a slide guitar stylist, Raitt has an uncanny way of coaxing ethereal, bluesy beauty with a few well-placed, vibrato-laden long notes.

Tuesday’s show opened with keyboardist Jon Cleary’s New Orleans-ish tune “Unnecessarily Mercenary,” from the new album, and we were reminded that part of Raitt’s roots go back to the influence of her friend, the late Lowell George from Little Feat.

Cleary’s new song is reminiscent of George’s “Mercenary Territory” and Raitt’s goosey-graceful slide guitar notes and vocal phrasing carried forward the Little Feat founder’s imprint.

Raitt can get down and nasty and swampy, but she also delivers a sad ballad with the best of them, as she did with Michael McDonald’s “Matters of the Heart” and an especially slow, airy and poignant encore version of her hit “I Can’t Make You Love Me.”

Singer-songwriter Paul Brady, the Irishman whose solo opening act was an ideal warm-up for Raitt, joined her onstage to sing harmony and musically bond on “Luck of the Draw” and on the shamelessly romantic anthem “Not the Only One,” both written by Brady. (Because Raitt doesn’t write much, her career has been a boon to many an outside songwriter).

After “Not the Only One,” Raitt, ever attentive to contrast and pacing in her work, shrugged, “Sorry if that got a little bit sappy . . . I can’t help it.” Next up, the band jumped into the lanky shuffle-rocking energy of John Hiatt’s “Thing Called Love.”

In a way, the star of this show, at least in terms of offering a fresh addition to the Raitt songbook, was a voice strictly behind the scenes.

Songwriter Maia Sharp’s intriguingly left-of-center tunes are highlights of the new album, and perked up ears in concert, as well.

Sharp’s wickedly appealing “Crooked Crown” is a cool and inventive song, along the lines of a progressive blues-rock style, while “The Bed I Made,” the new album’s closer, was played like a brooding jazz ballad.

As Raitt delivered the song, with her blend of wisdom and vulnerability, you could hear a pin and/or a tear drop in the house.

Raitt’s latest visit to the Arlington confirmed that there still aren’t many singers alive with the alternately tough and the tender stuff she brings to her art.


Source: © Copyright Santa Barbara News-Press But wait, there's more!