Bonnie Raitt and Taj Mahal Interviewed by Michael Bourne (Audio)
WBGO Jazz 88.3FM (Newark Public Radio)
August 10, 2009. Posted by Simon Rentner.
Blues giants Bonnie Raitt and Taj Mahal aren’t strangers. They’ve worked together since the early 70s, when Raitt recruited Mahal’s artistry for her third album Takin’ My Time. Over the years, they’ve made beautiful music together, and tomorrow night, they write the next chapter in their musical relationship: Their BonTaj Roulet Tour “Alone & Together” comes to NJPAC.
Listen to their fascinating interview together with WBGO’s Michael Bourne by clicking below.
Bonnie Raitt and Taj Mahal Interviewed by Michael Bourne
tip: most convenient way to listen to this interview while browsing along is to use the popup button of the player.
The Telluride Blues & Brews Festival is going big in celebration of 16 years as one of Colorado’s premier music festivals. Telluride Blues & Brews is pleased to announce that Joe Cocker, Buddy Guy and Bonnie Raitt will be headlining this year’s festival, which runs September 18-20, 2009. In addition to these amazing artists, festival goers will also be treated to sets from BonTaj Roulet, Umphrey’s McGee, Saint Jude and many more.
Telluride Blues & Brews is excited to be a part of the BonTaj Roulet Tour with Bonnie Raitt and Taj Mahal. Bonnie Raitt and Taj Mahal, both luminaries of modern blues, are joining forces for their first-ever tour together. The BonTaj Roulet Tour will be a coast-to-coast, 30-date outing in August and September, including an appearance at Telluride Blues & Brews. This show will feature Raitt and Taj on stage alone and together. Raitt, backed by her always-dazzling group, and Taj, with the six-piece, Grammy-winning Phantom Blues Band, will play full sets separately, before closing the night with a collaborative, blow-out performance.
Along with an amazing weekend of music, Telluride Blues & Brews proudly presents the Grand Tasting on Saturday, September 19, 2009. Quickly becoming one of the premier tasting events in the Southwest, the Grand Tasting features more than 150 beers from 56 microbreweries. This event has it all, from ales to lagers, nut browns to I.P.A.’s and everything in between, from award-winning microbreweries including, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Anchor Brewing Company, Kona Brewing Company, Great Divide Brewing Company, Steamworks Brewing Company, Rockslide Brewery, Smuggler’s Brewpub and Grill and many more!
Juke Joint tickets, three-day passes and camping passes for the 16th Annual Telluride Blues & Brews Festival are on sale now! A three-day pass is available for $155.00 and Juke Joint tickets are sold per night at $25. Festival camping is available adjacent to the festival grounds for $40 per person and are valid for 4 nights starting Thursday, September 11. Single-day, Bal de Maison, Fais Do Do and After Hours Jam tickets go on sale Tuesday, July 1 at 10:00 a.m. MST. Friday and Sunday tickets can be purchased for $55.00 each and Saturday for $60.00. Fais Do Do tickets are $35 and Bal de Maison are $20. After Hours Jam are $15.00. Tickets can be purchased at www.tellurideblues.com or by calling 866-515-6166.
Sarah Marie Pittman – Pollstar Friday April 17, 2009
Bonnie Raitt and Taj Mahal are joining forces to bring their signature blends of blues together for a 30-date North American tour.
The “BonTaj Roulet” tour kicks off at Community Arts Center in Williamsport, Pa., Aug. 6 and winds down Sept. 25 at The Show At Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa in Rancho Mirage, Calif.
Additional dates stops include Bank of America Pavilion in Boston (Aug. 15), Chastain Park Amphitheatre in Atlanta (Aug.18 ), Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colo. (Aug. 30), Cuthbert Amphitheatre in Eugene, Ore. (Sept. 7) and the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles (Sept. 11).
“This tour is just what the doctor ordered,” Raitt said in a statement about their first ever tour together. “Taj and I have so much in common, but there’s so much unexplored territory between us. It’s been a long time coming, and now is the right time.”
Raitt and Mahal first met in the early ‘70s when she opened for him at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. Mahal then co-produced Raitt’s third album, 1973’s Takin’ My Time.
“I watched her develop under the tutelage of people like Fred McDowell and Sippie Wallace,” said Mahal, who is being inducted into the Blues Hal of Fame in May. “She got right in there and stomped it down. She wasn’t afraid to play for real.”
The BonTaj Roulet Tour will feature full separate sets by Raitt and her band and Mahal and his six-piece, Grammy award winning Phantom Blues Band. The night will then end with a bang with the blues masters coming together for a collaborative performance.
A limited number of fans will have the chance to see the show from premium seats and go backstage for a meet-and-greet with Raitt and Mahal by purchasing Action Fund VIP packages. All funds from the VIP packages go into the BonTaj Collective Action Fund.
Ticketmaster, Live Nation Ticketing, Musictoday and various venues and promoters are working with The BonTaj Roulet Tour to raise funds for a variety of causes through the BonTaj Collective Action Fund with the goal of collecting $1 for charity per ticket sold.
Fans will also get a chance to vote on how they think the money should be doled out. Proceeds will be distributed in proportion to the overall votes tallied. Causes include Safe and Sustainable Energy, Environmental Protection, Social Justice and Human Rights and Blues/Music Education.
For more info and to vote on causes and buy special premium seating, click here to visit bontaj.com/thecollective.
BONTAJ ROULET: BONNIE RAITT & TAJ MAHAL ALONE AND TOGETHER
U.S. Tour set for August and September
This summer, Bonnie Raitt and Taj Mahal – two leading lights of modern blues – are joining forces for their first-ever tour together. The “BonTaj Roulet” tour will be a coast-to-coast, 30-date outing in August and September. These shows will feature Bonnie and Taj on stage alone and together. Bonnie, backed by her always-dazzling group, and Taj, with the six-piece, Grammy-winning Phantom Blues Band, will play full sets separately, before closing each night with a collaborative, blow-out performance.
“This tour is just what the doctor ordered,” says Bonnie. “Taj and I have so much in common, but there’s so much unexplored territory between us. It’s been a long time coming, and now is the right time.”
“We’ve been like ships passing in the night,” adds Taj. “Some of my musicians used to play with Bonnie, we have so many of the same friends – this is really an opportunity to combine some forces and play some great music.”
In addition to the glorious sounds, these two socially conscious artists will also be using the tour to make a difference. The BonTaj Collective Action Fund will utilize several initiatives to raise money for a variety of causes. In conjunction with ticketing agencies like Ticketmaster, Live Nation Ticketing and Musictoday, and some venues and promoters, the concertgoers and artists will all come together with the goal of raising $1 for charity per ticket sold on The BonTaj Roulet Tour.
Additionally, at every concert, Bonnie and Taj are making available ACTION FUND VIP PACKAGES offering premium seats and an opportunity for a limited number of concertgoers to come backstage for an artist meet-and-greet after the show. All funds raised will go into the BonTaj Collective Action Fund.
Concertgoers are encouraged to vote on which causes to support at the BonTaj.com website. Proceeds will be distributed in proportion to overall votes tallied, to benefit organizations that work on the following issues: Safe and Sustainable Energy; Environmental Protection; Social Justice and Human Rights; and Blues/Music Education. For more information, to vote on causes for the Action Fund to support and to buy special premium seating, visit www.bontaj.com/thecollective.
Bonnie and Taj first met in the early 1970s, when she opened for him at a concert at Skidmore College. In 1973, Taj co-produced Bonnie’s third album, Takin’ My Time. “I watched her develop under the tutelage of people like Fred McDowell and Sippie Wallace,” says Taj. “She got right in there and stomped it down. She wasn’t afraid to play for real.”
“It’s like we’re cousins,” says Bonnie. “We’re both blessed that we knew those old blues guys, we love the same kinds of music – we have a common language.”
As for their nightly jam sessions on the “BonTaj Roulet” tour, both artists sound like they’re raring to go. “There’s gonna be a lot of fireworks, because it’s so fresh,” says Bonnie. “I think about it before I go to sleep, toying with the possibilities, and it feels like having an extra slice of pie, getting both of these bands to play together like this. There’s so much potential to what we can do.”
“At these times,” says Taj, “peoples’ money is short, there’s lots of pressure and distractions, and this is when our job comes deep into focus and we really need to get on the stick. So I don’t know about anybody else, but I know I’m gonna have some fun.”
BonTaj Roulet Tour Dates: 08.06, Williamsport, PA Community Arts Center 08.08, Philadelphia, PA Mann Center 08.9, Wallingford, CT Chevrolet Theatre 08.11, Newark, NJ NJPAC 08.12, Brooklyn, NY Prospect Park Bandshell 08.14, Hyannis, MA Cape Cod Melody Tent 08.15, Boston, MA Bank of America Pavilion 08.16, Vienna, VA Filene Center at Wolf Trap 08.18, Atlanta, GA Chastain Park Amphitheatre 08.19, Louisville, KY The Louisville Palace 08.21, Highland Park, IL Ravinia Festival 08.22, Highland Park, IL Ravinia Festival 08.23, Grand Rapids, MI Meijer Gardens 08.25, Indianapolis, IN The Lawn at White River State Park 08.27, St. Paul, MN Minnesota State Fair 08.28, Council Bluffs, IA Stir Cove at Harrah’s Casino 08.30, Morrison, CO Red Rocks Amphitheatre 09.01, Salt Lake City, UT Red Butte Amphitheatre 09.02, Boise, ID Boise Botanical Gardens 09.03, Portland, OR Edgefield Winery 09.05, Bend, OR Les Schwab Amphitheatre 09.06, Seattle, WA Chateau Ste Michelle 09.07, Eugene, OR Cuthbert Amphitheatre 09.09, Friant, CA Table Mountain Casino 09.11, Los Angeles, CA Greek Theatre 09.12, Santa Barbara, CA Santa Barbara Bowl 09.13, Saratoga, CA The Mountain WInery 09.16, Oakland, CA TBD 09.17, San Diego, CA Humphrey’s Concerts by the Bay 09.18, House of Blues, Las Vegas 09.20, TBA 09.23, Albuquerque, NM Sandia Casino 09.24, Phoenix, AZ Dodge Theatre 09.25, Rancho MIrage, CA Agua Caliente Casino
DETROIT (Billboard) – If Bonnie Raitt has her way, this summer’s BonTaj Roulet tour with fellow blues musician Taj Mahal will be the first of many such outings.
“I trademarked ‘BonTaj Roulet,'” Raitt told Billboard.com. “I had the idea for this back when I did Lilith Fair, the whole idea of a touring mini-festival and ticket prices going to social causes. It’s not only the beginning of what I hope will be many years of BonTaj, but a franchise I’d like to see grow to where we can take it to Europe and get a combination of special guests and showcase new bands. That’s my dream — a rotating music festival where we’re basically a kind of brand name and can do a lot of different things under that.”
Mahal, meanwhile, says he’s all for it. “As musicians, there’s things you want to go out and do, different projects,” he said. “Both of us have a broad overall viewpoint of the music that’s out there and musicians and culture and whatnot. There’s a lot of stuff you can find your way to through the music, so this could be a really great thing. And I know we’ll have a lot of fun.”
The 30-date tour, which kicks off August 6 in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, will donate $1 per ticket sold to the BonTaj Collective Action Fund, which will ask fans to vote on organizations and causes that should receive the money via the www.bontaj.com web site. Special Action Fund VIP Packages, which include premium seats and meet-and-greet opportunities, will raise additional funds.
Raitt and Mahal, who met around 1970 and worked together on Raitt’s 1973 album, “Takin’ My Time,” will perform with their own bands on the tour, then play a collaborative set at the end of each show. Raitt said they’ll begin preparing after she completes her current U.S. tour later this month.
“We have to plan ahead,” she said. “Both bands are going to want to back us up on every song, and we could just make a big noise if we’re not careful. There’s a bunch of stuff we should be able to look in our toy chest and be able to pull out on a given night — back-porch country duets on guitar, stuff with just a small cut-down band, at least four or five killer R&B blowouts … I’m hoping we’ll get a dozen songs we really love and then pick and choose each night depending on how we feel.”
Raitt said there are no plans yet to document the tour. “I don’t want to be tied down for this tour,” she said. “I want to test the waters and have a blast with it and let it unfold. Down the line we’ll probably make a DVD of it, but I don’t know if that’ll be this year.”
Raitt is similarly circumspect about plans for her next album, the follow-up to 2005’s “Souls Alike.” She says that she has “a bunch of songs I really like” but says she really hasn’t focused on a full-length project yet. “That’s really down the line,” Raitt says.
“I’m happy to be independent and considering my options. There’s a lot of shifting going on in the music business, so I want to see what happens. The music part of it is no problem; you’ve just got to be really ready to do the promotion part, so I want to be energized to do that and do it right,” she said.
By MARGIE SZAROLETA, Associated Press Writer Wed Jun 10, 2009
CHICAGO – Bonnie Raitt and Taj Mahal are planning a hot summer together.
Even though they’ve known each other for decades, they will tour as a double bill for the first time beginning Aug. 6 in Williamsport, Pa. They plan on appearing in each other’s sets and recreating classic duets from some of the great duos in music history, like Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell.
“There will be a lot of heat, because Taj and I love each other,” Raitt said recently during a joint interview via phone from San Francisco. “Taj and I don’t date so there will be a lot of flirting and a lot of power loading between the female end and the male end, and there will be a lot of sparks flying.”
Raitt said she had to be a grown woman before she had what she calls “the pounce for ounce” to share a stage with Mahal. He disputes that: “Oh, I don’t know about that. You’ve just been busy.”
The BonTaj Roulet tour will donate a portion of the proceeds from ticket sales to charity, and fans can choose where that money goes. Visitors to the tour site at http://www.bontaj.com can vote to support safe energy, environmental protection, social justice or blues and music education.
Both Raitt and Mahal have been involved in various causes over the years and they wanted to include that activist aspect in the tour. “What the future of the planet and music and art and all of it is sharing, it’s diversity,” Mahal said.
Raitt said people ask them all the time what’s the state of the blues. “As long as men and women keep not getting along, we’re going to have a job,” she said.
“Even when they get along, we’re going to have a job,” Mahal added with a laugh.
Source: Yahoo News
Bonnie Raitt and Taj Mahal join forces for summer tour
By Matthew Oshinsky / The Star-Ledger August 06, 2009
Bonnie Raitt and Taj Mahal have known each other for four decades, but they’ve never toured together until this summer. Their BonTaj Roulet Tour — a play on the Cajun phrase laissez les bon temps roulet (“Let the Good Times Roll”) — comes to Newark on Tuesday, and Brooklyn on Wednesday.
The two blues-oriented singer-songwriters will perform separate sets with their respective bands, then take the stage together. The tour began Thursday night in Williamsport, Pa. A few days before that, Taj Mahal refused to name any songs they might perform together.
“We have an idea,” he said, “but I’m not going to tell the end of the movie before it happens! We certainly have an audience that would be looking for certain kinds of stuff. We’ll try to satisfy people with those things, but because of these two great bands that are here, there’s also an opportunity for many other things to happen.”
Raitt came up with the idea for the BonTaj Roulet Tour and approached Mahal about it. She has said she wants to make it an annual event with an ever-changing roster of artists, in the style of the Lilith Fair.
“We haven’t gone to that point yet,” says Mahal. “This is like testing the water, to see what happens. It probably would be a wonderful thing if something like that could happen, but you don’t want to jinx it.”
Mahal, 67, first met Raitt, 59, in 1967 or 1968. He had been performing professionally for a decade but was just beginning his career as a recording artist. She was starting to play clubs.
They met through Dick Waterman, who was Raitt’s mentor.
“He was a blues aficionado who branched out into managing and handling the careers of people like Mississippi John Hurt and Bukka White and Buddy Guy and Junior Wells — Fred McDowell, in particular,” says Mahal. “He was around the business, and then Bonnie was around with him for a while.”
A few years after they met, Raitt opened a show for Mahal at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. Then he co-produced and played on her third album, 1973’s “Takin’ My Time.” In 1996, she guested on his album, “Phantom Blues.” They also have seen each other at festivals and other events many times through the years.
Mahal has been one of the most restlessly creative musicians on the blues scene for decades, mastering a variety of acoustic and electric styles, and exploring Hawaiian music and various strands of Caribbean and African music. His last album, 2008’s “Maestro,” featured guest appearances by Ben Harper, Jack Johnson, Ziggy Marley, Los Lobos, Angelique Kidjo and Toumani Diabate.
Unlike some of his peers, Mahal has embraced the Internet, which gives him a way to connect directly with his fans. On his website, TajBlues.com, he offers a detailed summary of the many twists and turns of his long career, as well as streams of 38 songs.
“The recording industry could never really handle the fact that creativity comes when it does, and not just every 18 months, when they need an album,” he says. “My life is really about music and not about putting a product out, although I do. I’m just a musician, doing my stuff.”
REDHAIRED ROCKER: MUSIC MATTERS MOST By BILLY HELLER August 12, 2009
YOU can think of nine-time Grammy winner Bonnie Raitt’s music career like a circle.
She got her first guitar at 9 — “It was a $25 Stella I got for Christmas from my grandparents and my folks, together, from Sears.” Today, Raitt, 59, runs a guitar program for kids around the country. “We’re particularly targeting girls,” she says. “It helps their self-esteem.”
She dropped out of Radcliffe College but wound up being awarded the Harvard Arts Medal, alongside Harvard dropout Pete Seeger. The medal made her happy, she says, “because the last time I was in that administration building, we took it over during the Cambodia invasion [in 1970] and I was in a band called the Revolutionary Music Collective and we played for the strikers out in Harvard Yard.”
And she’s been friends with bluesman Taj Mahal for almost 40 years — “I opened for him at Skidmore College in 1971,” Raitt recalls. Now the two are touring together, with equal billing, in a show playfully dubbed “BonTaj Roulet,” which touches down here tomorrow night in Prospect Park, one of the benefit shows to support the Celebrate Brooklyn! series.
Part of the proceeds from ticket sales on the tour go to one of four causes: blues and music education, social justice, environmental protection and safe and sustainable energy. “That’s wind and solar and no nukes,” says Raitt, a longtime anti-nuclear-power activist who doesn’t buy the current thinking about clean nukes. (Check bontaj.com for details about the charities.)
Despite her long history and high profile with a number of causes, Raitt says she’s a musician first, activist second. “People come to see me because of my voice, not because of my activism,” she says.
When she was younger, Raitt hadn’t even been planning a career in music. “Most people really have a dream of being a star, work at their music so hard. I worked at my music, but as a hobby,” she says.
Raitt, who had an uncle who worked for the social-action Quaker group American Friends Service Committee, majored in social relations and African studies. “My plan was to go over to Tanzania and do that kind of work,” she says.
The daughter of Broadway singer John Raitt and pianist Marjorie Haydock, California-born Raitt comes with a certain musical pedigree. But her own music runs more to mixed breed — rock, R & B, folk and blues, with Raitt’s signature bottleneck so flexible, she wouldn’t be out of place in the Allman Brothers.
Raitt came into folk music early on. “I was trying to change the world, sing those protest songs, playing in school assemblies,” she says. “Bob Dylan and Joan Baez and Pete Seeger were my heroes.
“But on the other side, at the after-school dances . . . the Isley Brothers’ ‘Twist and Shout’ probably spontaneously put me into puberty right there.” She adds Fats Domino and Chuck Berry to the musicians she went “absolutely nuts” for, along with The Beatles and the Rolling Stones, Ray Charles and Motown. And old-time bluesmen like Mississippi Fred McDowell, for whom she opened at some New York Clubs at the start of her career.
Redhaired Raitt (her white streak, she says, “is definitely the only natural color I’ve still got”) is clearly still enjoying her rockin’ self. “I’ll be 60 this year. Can you believe this? I mean, none of us thought 60 was gonna be feeling like 30,” she says.
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'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
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.