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Bonnie Raitt was lost in songs during soul-soaked concert performance at Verizon Theatre

Bonnie Raitt brought with her four stellar musicians to a soulful two-hour concert.

on September 30, 2012 No comments

by Mario Tarradell / Music Critic

GRAND PRAIRIE – Bonnie Raitt closed her eyes, lost in song, as she absorbed the blues grandeur of Bob Dylan’s “Million Miles.” She soaked up the tune’s passion, then transferred it to a loving audience in rich, throaty tones.

Raitt’s two-hour concert performance Saturday night at Verizon Theatre came drenched in blues, naturally, but also in plenty of R&B, rock, folk and pop. She was accompanied by four stellar musicians – guitarist George Marinelli, bassist James “Hutch” Hutchinson, keyboardist Mike Finnigan and drummer Ricky Fataar – all the while switching frequently from slide to acoustic guitars.

The music was excellent. Raitt was in great voice, and her slide guitar jamming spiced up every song that welcomed it. The material, of course, was superb. While she is also a songwriter, the California native revels in recording choice cuts from a wide pool of revered tunesmiths.

Bonnie Raitt plays guitar as she performs “Something to Talk About” at the Verizon Theater in Grand Prairie on Saturday night, September 29, 2012. © Stewart F. House /Special Contributor

Bonnie Raitt plays guitar as she performs “Something to Talk About” at the Verizon Theater in Grand Prairie on Saturday night, September 29, 2012. © Stewart F. House /Special Contributor

Yet the charm of the evening, the clincher of the night, lay in Raitt’s relaxed, gal-pal-on-an-easy-chair personality. She was talkative, funny, warm. There were no superstar barriers, just a real woman singing and playing a repertoire she wanted to share.

The aforementioned “Million Miles” comes from Slipstream, Raitt’s soulful new CD released in April. She pulled four more numbers from that record, including the funky “Used to Rule the World,” which featured opening act Randall Bramblett on the saxophone. Bramblett penned “Used to Rule the World” and he reemerged onstage right after he and his band had gigged for 45 minutes.

One more Slipstream nugget, the robust soul-rocker “Right Down the Line,” became a heartfelt tribute to its songwriter, the late Gerry Rafferty. It was also a perfect segue into “Something to Talk About,” one of Raitt’s signature rhythmic hits. That one, “Love Sneakin’ Up on You” and John Hiatt’s “Thing Called Love” could very well be Raitt’s sassy triumvirate. Those songs showcased her vocal earthiness; she was the hearty mama with advice for the ingenues.

Heck, Raitt had a manifesto to impart during “Women Be Wise,” an old-school saloon blues corker from her debut album back in 1971. “Women be wise,” she sang, “keep your mouth shut, don’t advertise your man.”

Still, those that have boxed Raitt as a blues belter must have overlooked her affecting appeal as a balladeer. She delivered John Prine’s “Angel From Montgomery” with such beautiful, mournful understatement that it sent chills down my spine.

“I Can’t Make You Love Me,” which arrived during the encore, was stunning. Raitt sat on a stool, nothing but a microphone and her emotions to fuel the performance, as those heartbreaking lyrics just poured out of her soul. Once again, she was lost in song.

Bonnie Raitt performs at the Verizon Theater in Grand Prairie on Saturday night, September 29, 2012. © Stewart F. House /Special Contributor

Bonnie Raitt performs at the Verizon Theater in Grand Prairie on Saturday night, September 29, 2012. © Stewart F. House /Special Contributor

Source: © Copyright The Dallas Morning News

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19 hours ago

Bonnie Raitt: “One person on a guitar or slide guitar is such a mournful lonely sound, like a human voice, that can express so many different emotions from longing to sexual heat to aching and betrayal,” Raitt said in a recent telephone interview. “The guitar is a very expressive instrument in general and there was something about the starkness and soulfulness and the dark night of the soul.”
Raitt, whose father was actor and Broadway star John Raitt, said she would listen to blues albums that her brother would bring home from college, along with Mississippi John Hurt and Mississippi Fred McDowell. In a twist of fate, she ended up traveling with McDowell early in her career.

“He had a style of Delta blues guitar and slide playing and there was something about his soulfulness and the rhythm that he played and his touch on the guitar just really got me,” she said.

“It wasn’t all about your looks or having a hit single back in the late ’70s when I started otherwise I would have never gotten a shot at it because I had no interest in being a big pop mainstream star,” Raitt said. “I just played guitar and wanted to play in folk music clubs and have a small modest following.”
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