In Clearwater, Bonnie Raitt digs deep and pulls out gem of a sold-out show
She’s not getting older, she’s getting better.

on November 21, 2022 No comments
By Gabe Echazabal

I hope I’m at least half as cool and lively as Bonnie Raitt is when I’m 73 years old. The longtime, veteran, blues-rock star brought her current, eight month-long tour to a close Saturday at Clearwater’s superb Ruth Eckerd Hall and showed a packed house that she’s still definitely as vital and relevant as ever.

As a busy recording and touring artist since the dawn of the 1970s, Raitt has more than paid her dues and has paved the way for, not only budding female artists, but plenty of male musicians as well. Showing little signs of slowing down at the age of 73, the only thing Raitt had to battle for the exquisite, two-hour performance she turned in was a bit of a chest cold. Admitting to the audience that she’d begun her day coughing and battling the ailment, she apologized several times for sounding somewhat gravelly and contended that she’d just have to “dig deep,” she said, to sing her songs.

Where many artists might have used this setback as a hindrance for delivering a solid concert, Raitt, a consummate professional, plowed magnificently through the performance and, truth be told, the unintended raspiness to her voice added a layer of grit and soul to the words she was belting the whole night. Talk about turning a potential negative into a glaring positive.

The flame-haired, petite singer-songwriter gave praise and thanks to the crowd that had come to see her before singing a note. Upon walking out to the stage with her fantastic band, Raitt gushed “Ruth Eckerd Hall! Sold out! Thanks for packing it in!” referring to the capacity crowd that turned up. Only one of the many times she’d share her thanks and appreciation for the fans, Raitt seemed downright elated to be in front of an audience, on a stage, doing what she’d done for the bulk of her entire life.

Kicking off the two-hour program off with “Made Up My Mind,” a song from her most recent Grammy-nominated album Just Like That…, Raitt made it clear that her onstage charisma, her slide guitar playing chops, and her distinctive vocal style were all glowing radiantly. It would have been difficult to surmise that the singer was inflicted with some self-admitted vocal issues if she hadn’t told the audience sporadically throughout the show. Popping a throat lozenge here and there and drinking from an insulated cup (containing a warm, soothing beverage, presumably) throughout the night, Raitt managed to deliver a spectacular array of music that spanned her long career and offered between-song anecdotes that wowed and enthralled her fans.

“I hope I can sing this,” Raitt muttered, regarding the throat and coughing ailments she was battling, before launching into “Blame it on Me,” another cut from her most current album. Well, she not only sang it, she owned it. The soulful, blues feel of the song was enhanced by the added layer of grit in her voice and by the expert Hammond B-3 organ work of keyboardist Glenn Patscha and made the delivery one of the night’s many standout moments.

Not one to shy away from current events and topical items, Raitt offered her sorrow for those affected by recent hurricanes throughout our home state, offered support for Ukraine and pointed out the Ukrainian flag perched in front of drummer Ricky Fataar’s riser, and spoke about the importance of having music unify people during the divisive times we’re living through, all messages which were warmly received by the engaged audience.

On a lighter note, Raitt spoke often about how at home she felt being out on the road after Covid brought the touring industry to a standstill in recent years. While lamenting that she felt like she was on “house arrest” while at home and unable to tour for that span of time, Raitt, who has been a touring fixture for the better part of the last 50 years, simultaneously offered her sadness for having this current, whirlwind tour come to an end. “Now I’ll have to go grocery shopping, and clean my kitchen” she joked, referring to her having to return to normal, domestic duties.

Offering an homage to the great singer-songwriter John Prine (a part-time Gulfport resident who passed away in 2020), and what he personally meant to her, Raitt delivered a goosebump-inducing reading of a song she’s long been associated with, the Prine penned ballad “Angel from Montgomery” and cemented her status as an emotive and powerful interpreter of song. In another nod to a different legendary songwriter, Raitt and her band pulled off an impressive, blues-tinged reading of Bob Dylan’s “Million Miles” and made it all their own.

In what appeared to be off the cuff deviations from what might have been a predetermined set list, Raitt seemed to want to tailor her performance to better fit the vocal challenges she was experiencing. Occasionally calling out song titles to her outstanding band, Raitt told the audience that she was better suited for singing ballads on this night. “Love Letter,” a fun, pop nugget from her award-winning 1989 album Nick of Time benefitted from Raitt’s ability to mix sensuality with tenacity within her delivery.

Ending this fantastic night with a well-deserved encore that included the absolute showstopping, heartbreaking “I Can’t Make You Love Me,” Raitt was in full command of her voice, of her band, and of her adoring audience. Her warm, sensuous vocal tone was on full display and wasn’t marred or affected at all by the conditions she’d described throughout the night. Her final act also included a rollicking B.B. King cover and a duet with the show’s opening act, singer-songwriter Marc Cohn, for a heartfelt rendition of Van Morrison’s classic “Crazy Love.”

While aging gracefully and remaining active isn’t a popular or widespread concept in the world of music, Raitt successfully pulls off both of those feats. Showing no signs of slowing, she namechecked fellow artists Tony Bennett, Mick Jagger, and Keith Richards and praised them for staying musically active so late in their lives.

Based on this powerhouse performance, it’s clear that Raitt, too, has plenty more music and tours in her. She even mentioned that her next tour would start up in early 2023. Sure, it’s a tired cliché, but, in Bonnie Raitt’s case, it’s certainly true: she’s not getting older, she’s getting better. Just ask anyone who witnessed this show.

Source: © Copyright Creative Loafing Tampa Bay

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Bonnie Raitt brings the blues to Birmingham, shouts out local advocacy group on stage

on November 10, 2022 No comments
by: Lee Hedgepeth

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — She gave Birmingham something to talk about.

On Wednesday night, a day after the 10-time Grammy winner turned 73, Bonnie Raitt brought the blues to the Magic City. And she brought a lot more, too.

During the show, Raitt and her band showcased their decades of experience, performing numbers from across the musical spectrum — from Bob Dylan’s “Million Miles” to Talking Heads’ “Burning Down the House” — with a funk and fervor made all the more enjoyable by Raitt’s sultry, experienced vocal.

Raitt and her band performed in front of a simple cloud backdrop, but dramatic colored lighting made the staging seem dynamic. For “Nick of Time,” Raitt switched from her guitar (played expertly with a slide) to a keyboard, the clouds behind her shifting to a deep, intimate purple as she sang the story of a woman “scared to run out of time.”

The crowd, which nearly filled the BJCC’s concert hall to capacity, adored Raitt.

“Angel from Montgomery,” one woman yelled from the crowd midway through the concert.

“I already sang that one,” Raitt said as the audience laughed. “Maybe she’s just calling me an angel from Montgomery.”

Early on, Raitt referenced the midterm elections, which — like her birthday — had taken place the day before her Birmingham performance. She was glad she wouldn’t have to see any more political ads on television, she said.

“Imagine what that money could’ve gone to,” Raitt said. “I turned off the TV yesterday. That was my birthday present.”

Still, issues of the day simmered to the surface throughout the night.

For the duration of her performances, a Ukrainian flag sat on stage not far behind Raitt.

“They will need our help for a long time,” Raitt said. “So let’s help take care of them.”

Raitt also emphasized the need to fight to protect the environment, at one point in the concert plugging local advocacy group GASP, the Greater Birmingham Alliance to Stop Pollution, which tabled in the concert hall’s lobby.

GASP’s executive director Michael Hansen said he grew up in Memphis listening to artists like Bonnie Raitt. Her mention of the advocacy organization, he said, provided the group exposure to folks they may not necessarily have been able to reach without her help.

“I’m over the moon about it,” Hansen said. “She’s a music legend and an advocate for environmental causes, racial justice, and so many things we care about. So being there and knowing she talked about our work from the stage is amazing.

More than once during Wednesday’s show, Raitt spoke about the loss of fellow singer-songwriter John Prine, who died in 2020.

“It was one of the greatest pains of my life,” she said of Prine’s death. Then, with the audience on the edges of their seats, Raitt performed “Angel from Montgomery,” a song Prine had written and she had elevated to the highest of musical heights. Some in the crowd wept.

“It was an honor to sing that in Alabama,” she said.

Prine, she explained, had a way of writing with authenticity from another person’s perspective. It was something she’d always admired. She thought of Prine when she wrote “Just Like That,” she told the crowd.

She’d seen a human interest story on the evening news — “They show those to make up for everything they just told you” — about a mother who went to meet the man who’d received her son’s heart through organ donation. The story moved her. She channeled Prine, she said, and wrote “Just Like That.” BJCC’s concert hall was silent as she sang the ballad.

“I lay my head upon his chest,” she sang. “And I was with my boy again.”

The crowd at the BJCC was most excited, of course, when Raitt sang her hits, including “Let’s Give ‘Em Something to Talk About” and “I Can’t Make You Love Me,” which came as her first encore.

But it was Raitt’s calm, experienced musicality that made Wednesday night’s Birmingham performance special. Whether a blues number, a steady-rocking cover, or a straight-to-the-heart ballad, Raitt’s performances only got better. And that’s something to talk about.

Source: © Copyright CBS42 – Nexstar Media

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Bonnie Raitt performs as if no one has ever seen the show before

on October 7, 2022 No comments

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Bonnie Raitt joins host Raina Douris

Bonnie Raitt has been releasing albums for over half a century. But thanks to something she learned from her father, who was a famous theater actor and singer, when Bonnie’s onstage, she never performs like she’s been doing it for 50 years.
But whether she’s singing stories she wrote herself or ones written by other people, Bonnie is a brilliant storyteller.
Her new album, Just Like That, is a combination of both. In this session, Bonnie joins me for a wide-ranging conversation about the making of the album, about storytelling, and what it was like getting back on the road for her current tour.

You’ll also find out what kinds of stories and characters Bonnie likes to inhabit the most when performing. And you’ll hear her perform live, songs from Just Like That as well as an old favorite.

© Shervin Lainez


Bonnie Raitt “Just Like That” Just Like That…
Original Broadway Cast “Soliloquy” Carousel
Bonnie Raitt “I Can’t Make You Love Me” Luck of the Draw
The Isley Brothers “Twist & Shout” Twist & Shout
The Rolling Stones “Start Me Up” Tattoo You
The Bros. Landreth “Made Up Mind” Let It Lie
Bonnie Raitt “Made Up Mind” Recorded Live for the World Café
Bonnie Raitt “Love Letter” Recorded Live for the World Café
Bonnie Raitt “Love So Strong” Just Like That
Bonnie Raitt “Living For The Ones” Recorded Live For The World Café

For more than 30 years, World Cafe has been the place where public radio audiences get their first “before they were famous” look at emerging musicians and connect deeply with legendary performers. A celebrated music tastemaker, World Cafe spans an array of genres including singer-songwriter, classic rock, indie rock, Americana, alt-country, blues, world music, R&B and soul.

World Cafe host Raina Douris and contributing host Kallao present a carefully curated music mix along with the central element of each daily show: an intimate conversation with an artist focusing on their craft, songwriting, and inspirations, combined with an exclusive musical performance.

Source: © Copyright WXPN World Cafe and NPR

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