We’re quite used to seeing Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt and Graham Nash performing in support of some political or environmental cause. So though the circumstances were unfortunate, it was a nice twist to see them Thursday at the Palace singing to benefit an ailing friend, keyboardist/songwriter William (Smitty) Smith, who is recovering from a stroke he suffered on New Year’s Day. A friend in need just seems to be better inspiration than an issue.
As a musician, Smith, 47, is known both for his conviviality and his command of rock, soul and gospel styles, and has long been a favorite musical partner of such notables as Bob Dylan, Nash, Ry Cooder and David Lindley. As a songwriter he’s known for smooth, gospel-rooted soul. Both facets were represented Thursday, the former in casual acoustic sets by Lindley, Cooder, Browne and Nash, the latter by more formal turns by pop-soul stalwarts Boz Scaggs, Brenda Russell and Michael McDonald.
Throughout the show there was a warm feeling of family – literally in such moments as Cooder’s 13-year-old son Joachim joining his dad on percussion in the early show’s opening set and Lindley’s 21 -year-old daughter Roseanne impressively belting a blues number with her dad in the second show. Unscheduled guest Raitt joined Browne for two gorgeous songs in the second show.
The warmth extended to the soul portions as well. In a particularly fitting case of what goes around comes around, drummer Dallas Taylor, himself the honoree of a concert two years ago after he had a liver transplant, backed singer Bonnie Sheridan (formerly Bramlett) on a show-stopping blues.
Scaggs (looking fit and trim and comeback-ready), Russell and McDonald all turned in powerful short sets of their own, backed effectively by a versatile crew, including Toto guitarist Steve Lukather and noted drummers Mike Porcaro and Jim Keltner.
The only slightly sour note was the absence of Dylan, who, though unavailable for this date, had been included in some press releases and advertisements due to a miscommunication.
But that hardly dampened the spirit of the event, which hit its peak at the end of the first show when Smith for whom there are hopes for a full recovery – was brought on stage in a wheelchair as singer Phil Perry raised the roof with a gospel-fired version of “I Need You,” a song Smith co-wrote. Choked with emotion, Smith waved his hand across the musician-strewn stage and said simply, “My friends – give them a hand.”
William D. Smith – A Good Feelin’
View credits, reviews, tracks and shop for the 1976 Vinyl release of “A Good Feelin’” on Discogs.
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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