Reviews

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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Celebrate Bonnie Raitt’s Birthday By Watching Her Guest-Filled 2002 ‘Austin City Limits’ Appearance
See Bonnie welcome John Prine and more for her second 'ACL' appearance.

on November 8, 2022 No comments

By Nate Todd

Bonnie Raitt was born on this date in 1949. The renowned guitarist and singer-songwriter hails from Los Angeles but also has close ties with Boston, Philadelphia, New York and Austin. Texas has a rich blues tradition and Austin’s famed Antone’s club has long been the epicenter of the Texas blues scene. With her music so rooted in the blues, Raitt’s connection to Austin is no surprise.

What is surprising is that Bonnie’s appearance on another beloved Austin institution, Austin City Limits, in 2002 was just her second and first in nearly 20 years. But the guitarist delivered a doozy on May 16, 2002, welcoming a trio of special guests, including John Prine, which would later air as the premiere for Season 28.

Bonnie’s ACL play in 2002 was also special in that it was filmed outside of the program’s longtime home at the historic Austin City Limits studio at KLRU-TV in Austin. For the beloved Bonnie Raitt, the show had to find new digs in the Austin Convention Center so that more of Raitt’s Austin fans could see the concert, marking just the third time the show had been filmed outside KLRU at the time.

Sitll backed by the show’s iconic backdrop of the Austin skyline, Bonnie Raitt and her band — guitarist George Marinelli, bassist James ‘Hutch’ Hutchinson, drummer Ricky Fataar, keyboardist Jon Cleary, saxophonist Philippe Vieux and percussionist Kenny Nashamba — got the show underway with “Love Letter” from Raitt’s landmark 1989 album, Nick Of Time. Following “Fool’s Game” and “I Can’t Help You Now,” Raitt welcomed her first guest, famed blues guitarist Roy Rogers.

Roy has an impressive resume including performing on and producing four albums for blues legend John Lee Hooker as well as collaborating with Linda Ronstadt, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Carlos Santana, Steve Miller, Ray Manzarek and more. For his guest spot with Bonnie at ACL, the guitarists delivered their collaboration, “Gnawin’ On It,” which features a smoking riff from Roy.

After “Silver Lining,” the title track to her 2002 album, Raitt brought out Oliver Mtukudzi. The prolific Zimbabwean musician and activist, who sadly passed away in 2019, collaborated with Bonnie on Silver Lining’s “Hear Me Lord,” on which Oliver delivered his signature husky vocals and spirited performance style. Bonnie continued with an additional Silver Lining cut, “No Gettin’ Over You,” before returning to her previous album, 1998’s Fundamental, with the title track paired with “Good Man, Good Woman” off 1991’s Luck Of The Draw. Raitt then offered the Luck Of The Draw classic, “I Can’t Make You Love Me,” as the penultimate song of the set

“Saved something very special for the end here,” Raitt said before welcoming longtime friend and collaborator, the late great John Prine, to perform his classic that she has largely made her own, “Angel From Montgomery.” The old friends offered a gorgeous duet on the song to wrap up the ACL concert.

To celebrate Bonnie Raitt’s birthday today, watch her guest-filled 2002 Austin City Limits performance below:

Bonnie Raitt – Austin City Limits – Recorded May 16, 2002 and Aired Oct. 5, 2002 on PBS

00:00 Love Letter
04:08 Fool’s Game
08:08 I Can’t Help You Now
11:30 Gnawin’ On It – with Roy Rogers
17:20 Silver Lining
24:01 Hear Me Lord – with Oliver Mtukudzi
30:01 No Gettin’ Over You
34:55 Fundamental / Good Man, Good Woman
40:13 I Can’t Make You Love Me
46:20 Angel From Montgomery – with John Prine

Bonnie’s Band:
George Marinelli – Guitars
James ‘Hutch’ Hutchinson – Bass
Ricky Fataar – Drums
Jon Cleary – Keyboards
Philippe Vieux – Baritone sax
Kenny Nashamba – Percussion

Cover Photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits kicks off its 28th season with the rockin’ rowdy blues of legendary Grammy winner Bonnie Raitt – 16 May 2002 Raitt is joined by blues guitarist Roy Rogers, Zimbabwe pop star Oliver Mtukudzi and singer-songwriter John Prine during her hour-long performance.

For Austin City Limits’ season 28 debut, Raitt performs songs from her most recent album, Silver Lining, plus some of her signature tunes. Highlights include “Gnawin’ On It” featuring Roy Rogers, “Hear Me Lord” with Oliver Mtukudzi and “Angel of Montgomery” with John Prine.

In addition to kicking-off the new season, this episode will go down in Austin City Limits’ history. For only the third time since the series premiered in 1975, this episode was taped outside the historic Austin City Limits studio at KLRU-TV in Austin.
The special performance was recorded at the Austin Convention Center, which gave more of Raitt’s dedicated fans the chance to dance to her soul-bearing blues.

* In Memory of John Prine and Oliver Mtukudzi *

Channel Bonnie’s Pride and Joy
BandsBonnie Raitt (See 41 videos) , Oliver Mtukudzi & Black Spirits (See 9 videos) , Roy Rogers and John Prine (See 40 videos)

Source: © Copyright JamBase

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