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Bonnie Raitt honours songwriter Shirley Eikhard for ‘Something to Talk About’

on October 6, 2020 No comments
The Morning Show

Shirley Eikhard joins singer Bonnie Raitt and reveals the true story behind her hit song ‘Something to Talk About’ on The Morning Show.


Global News – The Morning Show with Jeff McArthur and Carolyn MacKenzie – October 6 2020

“I got home and there was this thing on my machine. There was Bonnie…I was numb.”

Shirley Eikhard

Shirley Eikhard wrote the blues-rock mega-hit “Something to Talk About” in Nashville in the 1980s, but she and the song waited until 1992 for recognition in the form of a major Grammy award.

Eikhard had been searching for a full seven years for the right artist to record Something to Talk About. She had offered the song to Anne Murray and other artists, all of whom expressed interest but ultimately did not record it. Eikhard had put the song on the back burner, but was still hopeful she could find someone to record it.

Then, Eikhard received a surprise phone message one night from the American blues singer and guitarist Bonnie Raitt, replaying the new recording of Something to Talk About that Raitt had just finished. Recalled Eikhard, “I got home and there was this thing on my machine. There was Bonnie…I was numb.”

Raitt had discovered the song on a demo tape that Eikhard had sent her. Raitt later told the Hamilton “Spectator” newspaper that “All four of the songs just knocked me out….I loved her voice and I thought it was so far and above anybody else’s tape.”

Raitt’s recording of Eikhard’s composition proved a spectacular success. The single, off Raitt’s “Luck of the Draw” album, peaked on Billboard’s Hot 100 and adult contemporary charts at No. 5 in October 1991, and at No. 8 on Cashbox. It placed even higher in Canada, at No. 3 on the RPM Top 100 chart and No. 4 adult contemporary, and made the top 20 on RPM’s 1991 year-end chart.

So happy to reunite with my friend and great singer/songwriter Shirley Eikhard, who joined me onstage in our London, Ontario show the other night on her song, “Something to Talk About.” The crowd loved honoring one of their own and so did we! Every audience across our Canadian tour has been incredible. We are so blessed! – June 3, 2017

Something to Talk About then netted Raitt the industry’s coveted Grammy award for best female pop vocal performance, and drove the “Luck of the Draw” album to win the best solo rock vocal performance Grammy, with multi-platinum sales in Canada and the U.S.

At home in Canada, Something to Talk About also earned Eikhard a Juno nomination as songwriter of the year, and later SOCAN Classics and BMI awards for its status as a radio favourite.

The song has been a favourite of “American Idol” contestants, and was chosen by industry peers for the Songs of the Century listing. It has been performed by Britney Spears, Kelly Clarkson, David Clayton-Thomas, and Jennifer Love Hewitt. Eikhard sang it as the theme song for CBS’s “Women of the House.”

Eikhard told “RPM Weekly” magazine that to sell a song, a songwriter must “…believe in yourself, and believe that sooner or later you’ll find a home for any given song. Like Something to Talk About, for instance, that song sat around for seven years before it actually got cut…Finally Bonnie was the one who went ‘Yes, I love this, I’m going to do this.’ So there is proof positive that if you really believe in the tune, never give up.”

Shirley Eikhard, originally from Sackville, New Brunswick, earned Juno awards in 1973 and 1974 for best country female artist, and has had numerous country and pop hits, including You’re My Weakness and Smilin’ Wine. Her songs have been recorded by Cher, Anne Murray, Chet Atkins, Ginette Reno, Alannah Myles, and Rita Coolidge. Eikhard has racked up seven BMI awards.


Source: © Copyright Global News – The Morning Show and Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame and FYI Music News and CMRRA But wait, there's more!

Bonnie Raitt: Nick of Time

on September 28, 2020 No comments
by Kara Manning

tip: most convenient way to listen while browsing along is to use the popup button of the player.

Album ReCue, a part of FUV’s EQFM initiative, takes an on-air and online look back at influential releases by women that altered our perspective not only of the artist, but her invaluable impact on music history.
Above, listen to a conversation with Alisa Ali and Sarah Wardrop about Bonnie Raitt‘s 1989 album, Nick of Time, and below, Kara Manning’s overview.

Bonnie Raitt, one of the greatest blues guitarists to ever shimmy a slide down a fretboard, was nine albums into her career, battered by a biased music industry, and on the cusp of 40 when she released the album that would change her life: 1989’s Nick of Time.
What a prophetic title and title track for a musician who proved that the best of a career was just beginning at middle age.
Better yet, her reboot was accompanied by the perfect plot twist — Raitt won the 1990 Grammy award for Album of the Year for Nick of Time (one of four that she won that night).

The restrictive dictates and prosaic rules of the music industry in the ’70s and ’80s hurt musicians like Raitt; female artists who didn’t fill a traditional niche were routinely discarded.
Despite excellent albums like 1972’s Give It Up and 1975’s Home Plate, Raitt’s brand of gritty blues and R&B, punched with a pop-friendly afterglow, didn’t settle comfortably into the usual Top 40 or FM rock radio mix, the latter usually less than welcoming to women anyway.

Like Aretha Franklin and Dusty Springfield, Raitt became an intuitive interpreter of others’ songs too, plaiting them with husky vulnerability and toughness. But even though she had a minor hit with a 1977 cover of Del Shannon’s “Runaway,” it wasn’t good enough to vault Raitt into a viable place; she was an outlier.

Brusquely dropped by Warner Brothers Records in 1983, her hard-drinking habits escalated as she navigated a breakup and scrambled to keep touring as a musician.
But following a skiing accident and tired of living the blues in all the wrong ways, Raitt got sober in 1987, a decision that not only saved her career, but her life — not hyperbole in the least. “Some people don’t get out,” she told Rolling Stone in 1990. “They die. You know, the Richard Manuels, the Paul Butterfields.
There’s a whole bunch of musicians who had their drug and alcohol problems encouraged by the lack of validation for their music.”

There was a brief dalliance with Prince’s Paisley Park label and two scuttled recordings with Prince (tucked away in a vault, but “I Need a Man” has emerged).
Providence and Hal Willner’s Disney project, Stay Awake, led Raitt to producer Don Was and vice versa; Was was dealing with his own career crisis (“In 1986, I hit rock bottom,” he told Billboard last year, recalling Nick of Time‘s 30th anniversary). The pair began recording demos, labels be damned. There were over a dozen rejections before Capitol finally signed her; those early demos evolved into what became the multiplatinum Nick of Time, recorded with about 30 of the best session musicians that Raitt and Was knew, plus some starry names, like Herbie Hancock, Graham Nash and David Crosby.

Led by Raitt’s own “Nick of Time,” a wistful confession of hitting existential midlife crossroads (“Life gets mighty precious/When there’s less of it to waste”), the album is a canny distillation of her strengths: that wondrously expressive voice and virtuoso slide guitar genius.
Two Bonnie Hayes compositions, “Love Letter” and “Have a Heart,” are good examples of Raitt’s way of transforming someone else’s songwriting. In the former, Raitt opts for a smoky saunter, all brio and hope. But in the latter, there’s a wholly different entreaty, a plaintive stew of dub grooves and defiance. The song’s lilting opening salvo, “Hey, shut up! Don’t lie to me,” is a perfect entry to Raitt’s point of view.

Raitt is conversational in tone when she sings, never pushing a line; she opts for ease and an unfettered honesty.
The songs she writes or chooses often tell tales of exchanges gone awry, or of women working toward a better path in love or life. And in truth, Bonnie’s recordings are often intense dialogues with her guitar: she wields her Fender Stratocaster like a bulwark, a Greek chorus, or a trustworthy friend. Riding the bumpy path of her own deliciously bluesy “The Road’s My Middle Name,” there’s a steely resolve to Raitt’s phrasing and playing, never surrender.

She improbably became a fixture on VH-1 and MTV too, thanks to the sexy shuffle of John Hiatt’s “Thing Called Love,” and that flirtatious video showdown between Bonnie’s ballsy slide glissades (and dimples) and Dennis Quaid’s bad boy grin. It might not be the most original video, but it made a massive impact. That exposure to a younger generation, especially teenage girls with a guitar in their sights, gave Raitt the kind of iconic stature that she relishes but still seems mystified by, even 30 years and seven albums down the line from Nick of Time.

“I have so many people who come to shows with their mothers, or with three generations, saying ‘My mom played this album for me in the car when I was little, and you’re one of the artists that means the most to us,’” Raitt told Billboard in 2019.  “It means so much to me that Nick of Time resonated with so many women, especially. I never expected it to have the response it did.”


WFUV’s EQFM Album ReCue:Bonnie Raitt’s Nick of Time



Source: © Copyright 90.7 WFUV Radio
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Bonnie Raitt on the Power of Live

on July 15, 2020 No comments
Dean Budnick

Throughout her career, Bonnie Raitt has gained renown for her dynamic live performances as well as her commitment to addressing social injustices. These efforts have continued during the era of the coronavirus pandemic, even as the disease has taken a personal toll with the passing of her longtime friend John Prine. Shortly after recording a tribute to him, Raitt commends his “deep pathos, acerbic wit and empathetic eye, which he first shared on that masterpiece of a first album—and then he never let up.”

What has the live concert experience meant to you over the course of your career, and how do you think that might change?

One constant that will never go away is the audience connection. I’ve experienced that when I’ve been in the audience. All of us love being there with the people we love. As a performer, I’ve been doing this for 50 years. I also grew up with a father [John Raitt] who played on Broadway and did 25 consecutive years of summer stock and played regional theater until he was in his 70s and 80s. So I really know the power and the joy and the tribal connection that happens when you step on a stage.

I’ve never sold many records. I’m an artist who is standing where I am today because of the live loyalty and excitement and the magic that happened through repeat performances for those audiences. You cannot duplicate it over the internet or even on a record.

I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I’m going to do everything I can to get everybody back into the theaters safely. Maybe it’s multiple nights with the appropriate distance thing. We’ve all been brainstorming about how to do shows in older buildings where the ventilation systems aren’t ideal. One thing I do know is that outdoors is safer than indoors at the moment. So I’m hoping that, by next summer, we’ll have found some venues that we can go back to and different ways for people to feel safe.

What impact has the cancellation and postponement of all these shows had on the people who work behind the scenes?

Independent promoters gave me my start. That’s how I’ve been able to hone my chops and figure out what makes a good show. I learned how to perform and how to hold an audience through live performances in small venues when I was just starting.

This has been devastating to so many clubs and independent promoters and venues that are so crucial to every stage of our careers. The music industry at large— the fans, the journalists, the disc jockeys, the promotion people, the people that help make the clothes, the caterers, the security staff, the ticket takers—has been devastated by the shutdown. We don’t know whether we’re going to be able to recover, but I certainly hope so.

You mentioned that live performance can’t quite be duplicated over the internet. How do you view the role of that medium?

The pandemic has forced us to look for new ways to connect. I watched Jon Cleary’s wonderful Quarantini Happy Hour, replacing his two solo gigs in New Orleans every week with Facebook concerts. Ivan Neville is doing the same and I know there are lots of others. They take real-time questions, which is great, and real-time requests, which is something you can’t really do onstage. So the internet has its own charming way of blasting open things that wouldn’t have been possible in a live concert as easily. So it does have its good side, even if that can’t replace what all of us get from the live experience.

Throughout your career, you’ve brought attention to certain artists in need who have inspired you. While organizations like MusiCares and the Jazz Foundation of America have established COVID-19 relief funds, do you think this crisis might eventually spark a conversation about additional government support, akin to what happened during the New Deal with the Federal Art Project or the Federal Music Project?

I always tried to bring my influences out on the stage with me as much as I could. I opened for Sippie Wallace, Mississippi Fred McDowell and a lot of the different blues acts. Then, when my career circumstances changed a little bit, I said to people like Muddy Waters: “Instead of me opening for you, come and play the college circuit with me and you’ll develop a new audience.” We also tried really hard to get health insurance programs for the musicians because a lot of them were in poor health because they were overworked by unscrupulous booking agents, who had them play six or seven nights a week, three sets a night. And the agent still took 40 percent. When Atlantic had its big 40th anniversary celebration at Madison Square Garden, I found out from Howell Begle that Laverne Baker, Ruth Brown, Charles Brown and most of the people in my record collection hadn’t received royalties. That’s partially because U.S. radio, unlike the rest of the world, doesn’t pay performance royalties, only songwriting royalties. And when it came to record sales, the labels gave a 1-2 percent royalty rate up until 1970 and overcharged them for the costs of recording. To me, it was really important to be able to get financial remuneration for all these artists because we owed them so much.

I would love to see art and music and theater and dance supported by the government. The National Endowment for the Arts has been slashed, although there’s still some support. However, I think in terms of saving the cultural institutions in this country, it’s probably going to take an effort from the nonprofit world. That’s how museums, ballets and symphonies are funded. We have to do the same thing for rock-and-roll and roots music.

Artists have always sung about hypocrisy, satirized those at the top, called out what’s wrong and lifted people up for what’s right. That’s never going to change. The things that I cared about in the ‘60s and ‘70s are not a pipe dream. They’re inevitable and we’re going to keep working for them. I hope that we can still get back to the clubs and that people will want to hang out and hear live music more than ever when we find a vaccine. That way, we can support the people who are out of work that I mentioned earlier. And let’s also pay people for what they’re contributing—teachers, hospital workers, bus drivers, people that are essential workers. People deserve equal treatment, health insurance and a fair wage. That includes musicians and everybody in the music industry as well. I’m hoping that they’ll be a reckoning. People will wake up and we can figure out how to rewrite the plan.

Source: © Copyright Relix But wait, there's more!