Bonnie's Pride and Joy

Fansite with ALL the news about Bonnie !

Bonnie Raitt still giving them ‘Something To Talk About’

Bonnie Raitt will perform in Hamilton June 6.

on May 27, 2017 No comments
By Graham Rockingham

Back during the height of her career — shortly after she swept the 1990 Grammys with her breakthrough album “Nick of Time” — Bonnie Raitt found herself inundated with demo tapes from aspiring songwriters.

So much so, that Raitt used to position boxes of tapes throughout various places in her house, always near a portable cassette deck.

She had a box in her kitchen, another in her bathroom, each one containing dozens of tapes. Perhaps one would be her next hit.

One day she picked up a cassette from a Canadian singer-songwriter by the name of Shirley Eikhard. Raitt had never heard the name before. She thinks it could have been sitting in the box for a couple of years.

Nonetheless, Raitt plugged the tape into the player.

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

There were four songs on it. One of them was called “Something to Talk About.” It would not only be Raitt’s next hit. It would be her biggest, winning her another Grammy for best female vocal performance in 1992.

“All four of the songs just knocked me out,” Raitt says on the phone from her northern California home. “I loved her voice and I thought it was so far and above anybody else’s tape.”

There was no Internet back then, so Raitt had to start making inquiries about this Eikhard person through her record label. Coincidently, Eikhard was signed to the same label as Raitt, Capitol. Eikhard had had some success in Canada, but was an unknown in the United States.

Eikhard had written her phone number on the tape. Raitt decided to call her up and give her a surprise.

“I waited until I recorded the song, to call up the number on the cassette,” Raitt recalls. ‘I said ‘Hey, Shirley, it’s Bonnie Raitt, listen to this.’ I pushed play and played her own song back and hung up the phone. It went over to voice messaging.

“She called us back and couldn’t have been more delighted. The rest is history. That song is the gift that keeps on giving.”

Not long after, Eikhard and Raitt met face to face at a concert. The two have maintained ties since. She would love to see Eikhard at one of her shows on her upcoming cross-Canada tour, which stops at Hamilton’s FirstOntario Concert Hall on Tuesday, June 6.

“I think she’s made an album almost every year or two and she sends me a copy of them,” Raitt, 67, says about Eikhard. “Sometimes she’s free and is able to come to our shows, sometimes she’s off touring. I’m hoping our paths cross in Canada.”

Interestingly enough, the two may cross paths when Raitt’s tour comes to London on June 3. Reached at her home near Orangeville, Eikhard said she plans attending that show.

Eikhard remembers well the voice-mail message Raitt left for her. Eikhard said she wrote “Something to Talk About” in the mid-’80s in Nashville and that Canadian singer Anne Murray had expressed interest in it.

Ironically, Murray borrowed the song’s name for her 1986 “Something to Talk About” album but never included the song. After Murray turned it down, the song eventually made its way to Raitt’s box of cassettes.

“I was living in Harriston, Ont., at the time, about two hours north of Toronto,” Eikhard says about the night she found Raitt on her answering machine. “There was a blizzard and I was driving home from (actress/singer) Dinah Christie’s home in Mount Forest through all this snow. I got home and there was this thing on my machine. There was Bonnie … I was numb. I was a fan of Bonnie since my teens.”

Although Raitt has written her share of songs over the years — she has five writing credits on her new album “Dig in Deep” — Raitt is best known for her soaring vocals and blistering slide guitar.

It was that slide guitar that drew her to the attention of Warner Records in the early ’70s. Raitt, daughter of legendary Broadway singer John Raitt, had started out playing folk guitar in high school, learning finger picking from Joan Baez records.

Born in California and raised in the Quaker tradition in New York state, she became entranced by Delta blues after hearing a Robert Johnson record and taught herself how to play slide in a rather unorthodox style.

“I never saw anybody do it, I just figured it out,” Raitt says. “I was in my room, I soaked the label off of a Coricidin pill bottle out of my parent’s medicine cabinet and put it on my middle finger. By the time I actually saw somebody play slide and noticed it was on their little finger or ring finger, it was too late. I had already taught myself how to play on my middle finger.”

While in college, Raitt began playing coffee houses and hanging out with blues legends like Mississippi Fred McDowell and Son House. She was signed by Warner before she graduated.

At that time, a woman playing slide guitar was something of a rarity. It still is.

“It is what set me apart and got my foot in the door because I wasn’t an original singer or songwriter,” she says. “But my mix of material was compelling enough that Warner Brothers offered me a record deal in my junior year of college. I’m sure that part of the reason that I’ve lasted this long is that my slide guitar sets me apart.”

While she nods to slide guitarists such as Lowell George, Ry Cooder and Derek Trucks as influences, the artist who had the most impact on Raitt was her father John, who continued performing well into his 80s. He died at the age of 88 in 2005.

Raitt still talks with fondness about touring with her father and the great blues singer John Lee Hooker in the mid-’90s. She would sing a duet with Hooker and then a couple of songs later another with her dad.

“He was an absolute delight and gave everything at every performance,” Raitt says about her father. “I miss him a lot. When I get feeling a little hoarse and I don’t know if I can hit that note on ‘I Can’t Make You Love Me,’ I always summon him and, all of a sudden, I’ve got a Broadway legend’s voice coming out of me.

“I like to feel that he gives me strength every day.”

905-526-3331 | @RockatTheSpec

Graham Rockingham is the Hamilton Spectator’s music editor.

What: Bonnie Raitt in concert, with Royal Wood

When: Tuesday, June 6, 8 p.m.

Where: FirstOntario Concert Hall (formerly Hamilton Place)

Tickets: $71 to $100.50, plus fees at FirstOntario Centre box office or through

Source: © Copyright The Hamilton Spectator

0 0 votes
Article Rating

Related Posts

Take a look at these posts
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Bonnie's Pride and Joy on Facebook

Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons

Farm Aid 2021 – September 25 in Hartford, Connecticut ... See MoreSee Less

2 weeks ago
Video image

Comment on Facebook


Location : Giant Forest of Sequoia National Park in Tulare County, California, USA.
The General Sherman Tree is the world's largest tree, measured by volume. It stands 275 feet (83 m) tall, and is over 36 feet (11 m) in diameter at the base. Sequoia trunks remain wide high up. Sixty feet above the base, the Sherman Tree is 17.5 feet (5.3 m) in diameter.

It is estimated to be around 2,300 to 2,700 years old.
... See MoreSee Less

3 weeks ago

Timeline PhotosStanding watch over the Sierra forests for thousands of years, the giant sequoias are yet another awe-inspiring sight to behold in Yosemite Mariposa County! 📷 by @colbyoutdoors

📰 | (how to visit Yosemite the summer)

#YosemiteNation Visit Gold Country Visit California California High Sierra
... See MoreSee Less

1 month ago

Timeline PhotosRed Lake Treaty Camp is calling for urgent help. They woke up to movement as their digging getting closer to the river.

“We need people to Red Lake Camp. The equipment they moved yesterday is now moving and working on the side near the river. We need water protectors to come stand in solidarity with us to protect the water and our treaties.”

Riverside Cemetary thief river falls is best GPS coordinates to follow on maps.

11750 MN-32, Thief River Falls, MN 56701, USA
... See MoreSee Less

2 months ago

2021 Blues Foundation Hart Fund Benefit ... See MoreSee Less

2 months ago
Video image

Comment on Facebook

What Makes This Singer Great? Bonnie Raitt ... See MoreSee Less

2 months ago
Video image

Comment on Facebook

Load more

Recommended Reading

Falling in love with Bonnie Raitt for the first time

Falling in love with Bonnie Raitt for the first time

November 10, 1971

Chris Stapleton, Bonnie Raitt Helm B.B. King Grammy Tribute

February 16, 2016

Jerry Garcia Band with Bonnie Raitt, Berkeley Greek 8.30.1987

September 1, 1987

CMT Crossroads Bonnie Raitt and Lyle Lovett – The Factory – Franklin – TN

December 15, 2005

Norton Buffalo Dies

November 1, 2009

Bonnie Raitt’s Blues

November 9, 2015
Will McFarlane

Talking with Guitarist Songwriter Will McFarlane

November 2, 2009

Stephen Bruton one of Austin’s best guitar players passes away

May 9, 2009

Bonnie Raitt attends the 25th Anniversary Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Concert at MSG – NY

October 30, 2009

Review: James Taylor, Bonnie Raitt deliver summer night delight at DTE

August 9, 2017