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Bonnie Raitt comes full circle in return desert engagement

on February 15, 2017 No comments

, The Desert Sun

Bonnie Raitt, queen of the modern blues. © Marina Chavez

Many activists from the 1960s and ’70s grew up never trusting anyone over 30. Not Bonnie Raitt.

Raitt, 66, one of just a handful of artists to make Rolling Stone’s list of top 100 singers and its top 100 guitarists of all time, grew up listening to her parents. She emulated her late father, musical theatre legend John Raitt.

Bonnie Raitt will perform Saturday at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio in what will be a return engagement in the desert in more ways than one. She has given memorable performances with her long-time core band at the McCallum Theatre and The Show at the Agua Caliente Casino. But she grew up coming to the desert.

 

 

 

 

Singer-guitarist Bonnie Raitt has received new appreciation as an Americana music artist. © Susan J Weiand /Special to The Desert Sun

“Every Thanksgiving and Christmas, from like 1958 to 1964, we would camp out in Blythe and out in the Mojave Desert, before it was off limits,” Raitt said from her home in Marin County. “My dad and my mom went to the University of Redlands and their sorority and fraternity brothers and sisters had kids and we all had campers and 1943 Army surplus Jeeps.
We towed the Jeeps behind the campers and we would camp out for like a week. We’d go Jeeping, we called it, through old river beds and exploring the mines. So, I spent a lot of my childhood really enjoying the beauty of those deserts.”

Her father performed in regional stock theatre every summer, so Bonnie spent many summers in camps back in New York’s Adirondack Mountains. Those experiences informed her love of the environment, but she took that a step further than most kids who grew up paddling canoes and hiking in the woods. She was a founding member of Musicians United for Safe Energy and an integral part of the No Nukes group. She’s been involved with groups like the Abalone Alliance, Alliance for Survival and Reverb, a non-profit environmental organization that she supported with tours in 2005 and 2006.

But she also learned that from her elders.

“A lot of my political activism was from my folks and my camp directors being Quaker,” she said. “There was a lot of emphasis on people from different lands all getting along, learning about different cultures, protecting the environment and working for peace and justice. That was really put into me as a young kid.

“My parents became Quakers right after the second world war. As kids, they were very active in the ban-the-bomb rallies and the civil rights marches. We raised money for refugees from war-torn areas. Stopping the oil drilling and protection of the redwoods was something friends of my parents were very much involved with. So, by the time I got into high school and the Vietnam War was raging (along with) the Watts riots, it was very natural for me, especially in college, to be part of those demonstrations.”

Raitt won’t use her concert appearances as a soapbox for her political views, unless it’s at a benefit for a specific cause. She recognizes that many of her fans have different political leanings, so she usually only talks politics when introducing a song off her latest album, “Dig in Deep,” called “Comin’ Around Is Going Through.”

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Bonnie Raitt Performs For Mavis Staples At 39th Annual Kennedy Center Honors

on December 27, 2016 No comments

The annual ceremony, which was hosted by The Late Show‘s Stephen Colbert and attended by President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama on Dec. 4, paid tribute to the 2016 honorees: pianist Martha Argerich, rock legends the Eagles, actor Al Pacino, gospel and blues singer Mavis Staples, and singer-songwriter James Taylor.

Rock Legends The Eagles, actor Al Pacino, gospel and blues singer Mavis Staples, pianist Martha Argerich and singer-songwriter James Taylor.

 

Kennedy Center Honors Highlights 2016

 

Bonnie Raitt joined a handful of other stars in honoring legendary blues singer Mavis Staples at the 2016 Kennedy Center Honors.
Backed by a full gospel choir, Raitt and Day brought audience members to their feet with their powerful performance of two of the most beloved songs from Staples’ prolific career as both a solo artist and as part of her family band, the Staples Singers.

“Mavis Staples is a revelation; it’s as simple as that,” Raitt said in a spoken tribute to Staples before her performance. “From the first time I heard her sing, I was gone. She had the deepest, most soulful, simultaneously earthy and anointed voice I’d ever heard.”

Staples released her version of “We Shall Not Be Moved,” originally penned as an African-American spiritual, in 2007, paying homage to the Civil Rights Movement in which she and her family played a major part during the 1960s. Their involvement includes an historic live performance of “Freedom Highway” at Chicago’s New Nazareth Church in 1965; the song was written in honor of the more than 600 people who fought for African-Americans’ right to vote during the Selma-to-Montgomery marches that took place in March of 1965.

Along with Raitt and Day, Staples was also honored during the 2016 Kennedy Center Honors with a spoken tribute from actor Don Cheadle and vocal performances of her biggest hits, including a medley of “Respect Yourself” and “I’ll Take You There” by Elle King. Other honorees at the 2016 Kennedy Center Honors included James Taylor, the Eagles, pianist Martha Argerich and actor Al Pacino.

Bonnie Raitt Salutes Kennedy Center Honoree Mavis Staples

Bonnie Raitt shared a moving tribute to Kennedy Center Honoree Mavis Staples, who was honored for her career as a rhythm and blues singer.

Andra Day And Bonnie Raitt Honor Mavis Staples With Music Performance

Andra Day and Bonnie Raitt sang ‘We Shall Not Be Moved’ and ‘Freedom Highway’ during a tribute to Mavis Staples at the 39th Annual Kennedy Center Honors.

Watch the full episode on CBS.com and CBS All Access.

Source: © Copyright CBS CBS JamBase

More info: The Kennedy Center Honors

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Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, Jason Mraz and Joel Rafael Donate over $85k to Standing Rock

on December 14, 2016 No comments

Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, Jason Mraz, Joel Rafael and John Trudell’s Bad Dog donated over $85k to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe this week from proceeds and donations from their November 27 benefit concert at the Prairie Knights Pavilion in Fort Yates, ND, seven miles from Oceti Sakowin Camp.

Bonnie Raitt, Nick of Time song by Bonnie Raitt (Standing Rock Reservation, 27 November 2016)

Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Brown Thing Called Love song by John Hiatt (Standing Rock, 27 November 2016)

Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, Joel Rafael, Jason Mraz I Am a Patriot (Standing Rock, 27 Nov 2016)

Jackson Browne, rap and Take it Easy with Bonnie Raitt (Standing Rock, 27 November 2016)

Bonnie Raitt Well Well Well song by Bob Dylan and Danny O Keefe (Standing Rock, 27 November 2016)

Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne Angel From Montgomery song by John Prine (Standing Rock, 27 Nov 2016)

Joel Rafael, Jackson Browne, Bad Dog, et alii Rockin the Rez (Standing Rock, 27 November 2016)

Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt World in Motion (Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, 27 November 2016)

The benefit concert sold over 1,500 tickets to the general public and provided 800 free tickets to the Standing Rock community and water protectors. In addition to the money raised for the Tribe, Browne, Raitt and Rafael spent the day before the show at the Oceti Sakowin camp, donating over 500 blankets to those staying for the winter.

Bonnie Raitt with Faith Spotted Eagle and family at the Oceti Sakowin camp. Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, Jason Mraz and donated $85k to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

“What an incredible honor it was to get to experience the powerful coming together of so many thousands united in spirit and commitment to nonviolence, to protect the water and sacred sites,” said Raitt in a press release.

“Arriving at the Oceti Sakowin Camp, with tipis, yurts and campers stretched as far as the eye could see, remains one of my life’s most memorable experiences. Meeting with the tribal elders, taking part in sacred ceremonies, witnessing the incredible work and coordination to provide food, sanitation, security, schooling, medical care and spiritual sustenance to those thousands who have been in the camps and on the line since the summer was incredible. I was filled with such great respect and admiration,” Raitt said.

Chairman Dave Archambault II’s family join Jackson and Bonnie at Oceti Sakowin camp: Betty Archambault, Joel Rafael, Dave Archambault, Sr., Bonnie Raitt, Donna Archambault Rogers and Jackson Browne. © Jackson Browne

“We hope the decision to halt construction will prevail in the New Year, but I know the people taking a stand there will continue their fight. We are committed to moving away from our dependence on fossil fuels and into a safer, more job-intensive green energy future. In the meantime, the resilience, strength and courage of all those at Standing Rock will continue to inspire my commitment to nonviolence and the power of people coming together to impact social change,” she said.

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