At 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, James Taylor took the stage at Pinnacle Bank Arena to introduce “my favorite performer,” Bonnie Raitt.
Three hours later, Raitt and Taylor were again onstage together, closing an exquisite concert by the two veterans who are at the peak of their form.
Taylor’s 1-hour, 45-minute show was simply but effectively staged with a screen behind he and band flashing pictures from throughout his career — appropriate, because his set was largely a collection of his best-known songs, delivered by his excellent 11-piece band.
Affable and engaging, Taylor introduced many of the songs with little stories, like that of his nervousness auditioning for Apple Records with “Something in the Way She Moves,” which he began alone on acoustic guitar as he surely played it then.
Then came the “cowboy lullaby” he wrote for his baby nephew — “Sweet Baby James,” which began the string of hits — “Fire and Rain,” an uplifting “Shed a Little Light,” “Your Smiling Face,” “Shower The People.”
All were beautifully sung by Taylor, who is a fine balladeer, inside arrangements for the band that varied in softly beautiful fashion from the familiar recorded versions.
Raitt’s hour-long opening set was fresh — a change-up from her most recent shows that added three notable numbers that showcased what her music is about.
The first of those was an up-tempo blues number on which Raitt traded slide guitar licks with keyboardist Ivan Neville of the Neville Brothers.
Then came “Angel from Montgomery,” her heartbreaking folk-country ballad, and a funky cover of the Talking Heads’ “Burning Down The House.”
Raitt managed to squeeze in most of her best-known songs, including a moving “Nick of Time,” on which she played piano and sang with Arnold McCuller of Taylor’s band.
Taylor returned to the stage to join in on her closer, “Thing Called Love.”
Raitt returned the favor on Taylor’s encore, first with a rocking version of Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode” and, after a fine “You’ve Got a Friend,” sending a satisfied crowd of 7,000 out into the snow with a hushed, lovely “You Close Your Eyes.”
Jazz and blues fests are everywhere now, and Americana is going strong on college radio. What I'm hearing is an appreciation of real music.
I speak my mind and come from a place of conscience, as well as have fun as a musician.
I don't know if I'm a heroine; I'm just somebody that can cheer the troops by singing to folks, and have receptions after the show, and tithe a dollar of every ticket sale for all kinds of different great charities and social action groups.
Quakers are known for wanting to give back. Ban the bomb and the civil rights movement and the native American struggle for justice - those things were very, very front-burner in my childhood, as were the ideas of working for peace and if you have more than you need, then you share it with people who don't.
The consolidation of the music business has made it difficult to encourage styles like the blues, all of which deserve to be celebrated as part of our most treasured national resources.
I think my fans will follow me into our combined old age. Real musicians and real fans stay together for a long, long time.
I grew up in Los Angeles in a Quaker family, and for me being Quaker was a political calling rather than a religious one.
I just play the music that I love with musicians that I respect, and fortunately, I'm in a position where people are willing to play with me, and perhaps I can do something to help them.
I never saw music in terms of men and women or black and white. There was just cool and uncool.
Solar power is the last energy resource that isn't owned yet - nobody taxes the sun yet.
Religion is for those who are scared of hell, and spirituality is for those who have been there.
Life gets mighty precious when there's less of it to waste.
Bandana Blues is and will always be a labor of love. Please help Spinner deal with the costs of hosting & bandwidth. Visit www.bandanablues.com and hit the tipjar. Any amount is much appreciated, no matter how small. Thank you.
Broken Hearts & Dirty Windows: Songs of John Prine, Vol. 2, the anticipated new John Prine tribute record from Oh Boy Records, is out today. Stream/purchase HERE.
Created as a celebration of Prine’s life and career, the album features new renditions of some of Prine’s most beloved songs performed by Brandi Carlile (“I Remember Everything”), Tyler Childers (“Yes I Guess They Oughta Name A Drink After You”), Iris DeMent (“One Red Rose”), Emmylou Harris (“Hello In There”), Jason Isbell (“Souvenirs”), Valerie June (“Summer’s End”), Margo Price (“Sweet Revenge”), Bonnie Raitt (“Angel From Montgomery”), Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats (“Pretty Good”), Amanda Shires (“Saddle in the Rain”), Sturgill Simpson(“Paradise”) and John Paul White (“Sam Stone”). Proceeds from the album will benefit twelve different non-profit organizations, one selected by each of the featured artists.
Bonnie Raitt - Write Me a Few of Your Lines/Kokomo Blues
60 years anniversary celebration of Arhoolie
December 10, 2020
Arhoolie Foundation celebrates it's 60th anniversary (1960-2020) with an online broadcast.
Bonnie Raitt - Shadow of Doubt
Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival
October 3, 2020
Hardly Strictly Bluegrass celebrates it's 20th anniversary with an online broadcast titled “Let The Music Play On”.
Bonnie Raitt & Boz Scaggs - You Don't Know Like I Know
Farm Aid 2020 On the Road
Sam & Dave classic written by Isaac Hayes and David Porter.
Sheryl Crow & Bonnie Raitt - Everything Is Broken
[Eric Clapton’s Crossroads 2019]
Eric Clapton, one of the world’s pre-eminent blues/rock guitarists, once again summoned an all-star team of six-string heroes for his fifth Crossroads Guitar Festival in 2019. Held at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas, the two-day concert event raised funds for the Crossroads Centre in Antigua, the chemical dependency treatment and education facility that Clapton founded in 1998.
'A Tribute To Mose Allison'
Celebrates The Music Of An Exciting Jazz Master
Raitt contributed to a new album, If You're Going To The City: A Tribute To Mose Allison, which celebrates the late singer and pianist, who famously blended the rough-edged blues of the Mississippi Delta with the 1950s jazz of New York City.
NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro talks to Bonnie Raitt about her friendship with the Mose Allison. They're also joined by Amy Allison — his daughter, who executive produced the album — about selecting an unexpected list of artists to contribute songs to the album.
Recorded on tour June 3, 2017 - Centennial Hall, London - Ontario Canada