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Old pro keeps flexibility

on June 16, 2006 No comments
By David Lindquist

Bonnie Raitt – 9:30 p.m. Saturday, APA stage

Bonnie Raitt rallied against nuclear energy in the 1970s, she’s recorded duets with Ray Charles and John Lee Hooker, and this week she’ll play successive dates at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, Indy Jazz Fest and jam-band festival Bonnaroo.

The 56-year-old singer-guitarist isn’t sure her blues-folk style fits neatly at Telluride, Indy or Bonnaroo, but she’s happy to play each of the shows.

“I’m glad that I’m eclectic enough to have been invited to all three,” Raitt says.

Following her major-label debut in 1971, Raitt finally vaulted into the mainstream with 1989’s “Nick of Time” album — which featured hit single “Thing Called Love” and collected four Grammy Awards.

Touring to promote current album “Souls Alike,” she’s playing open-air concerts after more than five months of theater concerts in the United States and Europe.

Question: Does an outdoor audience have a different energy than in indoor audience?
Answer: Oh, yeah. You know, people wear less clothing (laughs). It’s more of a party atmosphere. But when you talk about my kind of music, people are able to be respectful for the ballads and pay attention for the subtleties. I’ve been playing outdoors since the beginning of my career, and it’s not always a mosh-pit drunkfest, because I don’t do that kind of music.
I’m sure Bonnaroo is going to be a lot different vibe than a jazz festival in Indianapolis. I welcome all comers — anybody who appreciates the music.

Q: Activism has been a thread that’s run through your career. Are there one or two things that are on your mind right now?
A: This being a mid-term election year, it’s really crucial that we have some sort of monitoring of the election. . . . I’m worried about campaign reform, campaign fairness and accurate voting methods. Without that, you don’t have any democracy.
The war and energy are very much related. On a positive note, we’re running our buses and trucks on biodiesel, and we’re promoting alternative energies.

Bonnie Raitt Answers the Proust Questionnaire

Q: You’ve certainly worked with an amazing array of musicians. Do you have a wish list of people you haven’t worked with?
A: When I think about how lucky I am, I just got to play on Stevie Wonder’s record recently as well as India Arie’s and Vince Gill’s. The long list of who I’ve worked with is adding up all the time. I suppose one of these days it will be really great to work with Keith Richards. . . . That would be fun down the line.

Source: © Copyright The Indianapolis Star

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