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

Pair trade vocals, solos with Gary Clark Jr. on aching performance of “The Thrill is Gone”

on February 16, 2016 No comments
By Jon Blistein
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Bonnie Raitt, Chris Stapleton and Gary Clark Jr.  helmed a six-string salute to blues great B.B. King with a performance of “The Thrill is Gone” at the 58th Grammy Awards Monday.

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The breakout country star and blues hotshot opened the performance, trading vocals, and, more importantly, solos, before Raitt sidled in between them with a devastating slide-guitar run. The trio then each sang a line of the song’s final verse and made one last trip across the fretboard to bring “The Thrill is Gone” to a mournful close.

Per the Los Angeles Times, Stapleton — country’s breakout star of 2015 — was tapped for the tribute after Grammy telecast executive producer Ken Ehrlich saw a video of the singer covering “The Thrill is Gone” on YouTube. Raitt was then added to the performance at Stapleton’s suggestion.

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King died last May at the age of 89. In a tribute penned for Rolling Stone, Raitt summed up the musician’s signature guitar style, which left an indelible mark across the musical spectrum: “Every great blues guitarist has his own style. But with B.B., it was about his vibrato, his phrasing and the licks he chose — and his restraint. It was all about what he played and what he didn’t play. He was sweet and eloquent in his playing, but when he turned it on, he could be fierce.”

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Source: © Copyright Rolling Stone
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This is my friend Dick Waterman; we met at Mariposa in 1965 — I was hosting a blues workshop and he was managing the legendary blues singer Son House; he also worked with so many great blues folk, from Fred McDowell to Skip James, to Bonnie Raitt and Buddy Guy. In the pioneer days of blues internet groups, he was Richard the Younger and I was Richard the Elder (since I was a year older than he). Today's his 85th birthday — send him and his smashing wife Cinda greetings to their home in Oxford, Mississippi (jinxblues@aol.com) and tell him I sent you! ... See MoreSee Less

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On the eve of John’s 74th birthday, I’m scrolling through precious memories of our many years together. Still so hard to believe I’ll never get to look across at him singing Angel with me again.

One of my favorite memories is of a night way back in '73, when a gang of us gathered back at the motel after a day hanging out at each others’ shows at the Philly Folk Festival.
We grabbed our instruments and some libations and met back up at Stevie Goodman’s room-- John, me, Al Bunetta, Freebo, David Bromberg, John Hartford, and a slew of others, too many to mention. Soon we were sprawled over both beds, chairs, every corner of the room. Stevie, John and I were facing each other across the two beds and Stevie started playing and we all joined in. What followed was the most extraordinary night of music—Stevie, the pied piper, seemed to know an endless stream of folk songs, Beatles, Everly Brothers, old rock and roll—all the verses and intricate chords too. We swapped leads and harmonies and there may have been a mandolin and some harmonica. It was a magical night and we all felt it.

I can still see Stevie's irrepressible grin and John beaming back at him. The love they shared for each other was as true and deep as any I've witnessed.
There was so much joy and love in that room, I'll never forget it.

When the dawn's light finally crept under the motel curtains, we dragged ourselves up and straggled back down the halls, spent but still buzzed and grinning, passing the Festival goers on their way to the breakfast buffet.

Remembering this special night, I celebrate John on his birthday today. And I picture him reunited with his beloved Stevie and Al--arms wrapped around each other, grinning ear to ear, enjoying every bit of what he hoped he'd find when he finally got to Heaven.

Happy Birthday, my dear pal. I miss you so much. You’re here in my heart and I'll be singing Angel for you every time. You give me one thing, that I can hold on to. ...
To believe in this livin'.

To John, Fiona and the boys, I send
all my love,

Bonnie

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