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Bonnie Raitt Guests With Mavis Staples & Joan Osborne

on September 27, 2015 No comments
By Scott Bernstein

On Friday night Mavis Staples and Joan Osborne kicked off the 34-date Solid Soul Tour at The Fillmore in San Francisco. Opening night of the co-headlining tour came to a climax when the pair brought out special guest Bonnie Raitt to help end the show.

Osborne, Staples and Raitt combined forces on a cover of the traditional song “Will The Circle Be Unbroken?” Mavis explained that the song was the first one her father, the legendary Roebuck “Pops” Staples, taught her and her siblings in 1950. Staples sang the first verse, while Raitt showed off her slide guitar skills. Later both Osborne and Raitt led verses of their own.

Watch Joan Osborne, Mavis Staples and Bonnie Raitt’s “Will The Circle Be Unbroken?” from Friday night in San Francisco as shot by gridlifeTV:


The Solid Soul Tour continues tonight at the Uptown Theatre in Napa, California.

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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

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)

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Watch Bonnie Raitt’s Only Sit-In With The Grateful Dead
The acclaimed slide guitarist joined the legendary band on New Year’s Eve 1989.

on November 8, 2023 No comments
By Andy Kahn

Grateful Dead guitarists Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir were both known to play slide guitar on various songs within the band’s live repertoire. Listen to early versions of “Row Jimmy” for examples of Garcia’s slide playing. Some early versions of “Row Jimmy” saw Weir on slide, but more prevalent examples of Bobby on slide occurred during “Althea” and on some of the blues numbers the band covered like “Little Red Rooster.”

Despite having two slide guitarist in the band, the Grateful Dead are not the first group to come to mind when the subject of slide guitar playing comes up.

Dozens of early bluesmen like Blind Willie Johnson, R.L. Burnside, Elmore James and Muddy Waters, are more commonly associated with slide guitar, along with those they influenced like Duane Allman, Mike Bloomfield, and Elvin Bishop among many others. The next generation of slide guitarists also included Ry Cooder and Little Feat’s Lowell George, who in turn were influential on another talented slide guitarist, Bonnie Raitt.

Raitt, who celebrates her 74th birthday today, would take those influences and establish herself among the top slide players on record. Raitt talked about her development as a slide guitarist with Guitar World in 2022.

“I heard John Hammond’s slide guitar first, then ‘Little Red Rooster’ and Elmore James,” Raitt told GW. “The Rolling Stones were my first exposure to real slide guitar, but the blues guys really fired me up. Ry [Cooder] is still a god to me. Ry and Lowell George are the biggest influences on my playing. I love the Delta blues: Son House, Fred McDowell, Robert Johnson, Johnny Shines, John Hammond. But Ry wrote the book on making it sound like your voice, which is what I try to do. He and Stevie Ray Vaughan are the greatest guitar players I’ve ever heard.”

Raitt was also asked about the impact Lowell George had on her slide style, to which she replied:

“He showed me how to use a compressor to let the note last longer, and that really impacted my slide style. I already kind of had my own style and was playing electric, but I wanted to know how he got the note to hold. Lowell was just remarkable. I can’t come close to Ry or Lowell, but their lyricism has continued to be an incredible inspiration to me.

“I had never heard anybody like Little Feat when a friend played me Sailing Shoes – and I just about fell over. I loved them so much. And the first two Taj Mahal records are right up there in the pantheon of people that have taken blues and reinvented it and pushed it someplace new.”

According to a 2016 The New Yorker profile of Raitt:

“Like George, Raitt plays a Stratocaster that’s run through a compressor on the way to the amp, an effect that narrows the sound and makes it sustain longer. Like him, she favors an open tuning known as taro-patch tuning, in reference to its Hawaiian origins. (One way to get taro patch is to take a guitar that’s in standard tuning and tune to an A-major chord, so that the A, or the tonic note, is found on the first, third, and fifth strings.)

One difference between the originally self-taught Raitt’s style of slide guitar playing and George’s approach, is that she wears her slide on the ring finger of her left hand. Most other slide players wear the piece on their ring finger, or like George, pinky finger. Raitt’s approach is the reason Jason Isbell plays slide using his middle finger.

Raitt appeared on several Little Feat albums, and George was meant to produce one of her records but those plans were eventually scrapped. George, who died in 1979 at 34, contributed to many records beyond those with he recorded with Little Feat, producing the Grateful Dead’s 1978 album, Shakedown Street.

While Lowell George’s collaborations with the Grateful Dead were restricted to the studio, there was one instance when Bonnie Raitt joined the band and demonstrated her the slide guitar style he so greatly influenced.

On New Year’s Eve 1989, the Dead brought Raitt out during the first set of their concert at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Arena in Oakland, California. Raitt was the only guitarist playing slide on “Big Boss Man,” the Jimmy Reed-popularized blues classic. First sung by Ron “Pigpen” McKernan, Garcia began singing lead on “Big Boss Man” with the Dead following the keyboardist’s death in 1973 and the song’s return to the rotation in 1981.

December 31, 1989 was the only time Raitt performed in public with the Grateful Dead, but the masterful slide guitarist had previously performed with Weir and Garcia at Carlos Santana’s Blues For Salvador Concert in 1988. Raitt also sat in with the Jerry Garcia Band in 1987.

Watch Bonnie Raitt’s lone sit-in with the Grateful Dead below:

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