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Bonnie Raitt and Randall Bramblett to perform Friday

on October 15, 2009 No comments
Brad Barnes

It’s a thrill, to be sure, when a musician the caliber of Bonnie Raitt chooses to record one of your songs.

There was an added bonus for Georgia’s Randall Bramblett. After Raitt recorded his song “God Was in the Water” on her 2005 record “Souls Alike,” she asked him to open shows for her at more than a half-dozen stops throughout the Southeast, including an Oct. 16 date at Savannah’s Johnny Mercer Theatre. The show is a makeup date for a postponement from last spring’s Savannah Music Festival date.

“When she likes your songwriting, she’ll do all she can to get you out there,” Bramblett said. “She’s done that before, with all those old blues artists she likes. You don’t find a lot of people that selfless.”

Of course, after finding national fame on her own terms at the age of 39 — after almost two decades of struggling — it’s no surprise that Raitt’s keeping things real.

Raitt’s sound doesn’t comfortably fit in any one category. Rather, it fuses blues, rock, country and even modern folk.

That makes for a good pairing with Bramblett, whose explorations have ranged from jazz fusion (with a band called Sea Level, which featured three former Allman Brothers, including Chuck Leavell), to psychedelic rock (with Traffic), to singer-songwriter introspection, to rock ’n’ roll cum electric piano.

He recorded his first record in 1975, and he’s still working on the fame part.

“I don’t want to be a star, but we — all in our band — we’d like more success,” says Bramblett, via phone from his home in Athens, “so we don’t struggle so much, and can afford the road a little bit, and fill up a house.

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“Just successful enough to keep being able to make records.”

It’s possible that his meandering through different styles has hurt his chance at commercial success. “Labeling this kind of music is kind of hard for people,” he admits.

But: “I think I get restless with the same kind of thing. So I try to experiment with songwriting, and push the boundaries a little bit.”

It can make for a raucous live show from Bramblett and his band, but for a date with Raitt, the boys are mindful of the mid-tempo tastes of many of her fans.

“We try to make it more of a ‘draw the crowd in’ show. More intimate,” he says. “But we like to make a bunch of noise.”

What: Bonnie Raitt and the Randall Bramblett Band in concert
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday
Where: Johnny Mercer Theatre, 301 W. Oglethorpe Ave.
Cost: $35-$75
Information: 912-525-5050,

Source: © Copyright Savannah Morning News

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