dig in deep

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Dealing with loss helped Bonnie Raitt tackle songwriting

on March 23, 2016 No comments

By MESFIN FEKADU
The Associated Press

  NEW YORK (AP) — After back-to-back tours and albums, Bonnie Raitt said finally finding time to deal with the deaths of her father, mother and brother helped her break writer’s block and craft songs for her latest album and tour.

“I don’t write often and easily …This particular time after a period of about 10 years when my family — my parents and my older brother — were all ill and passed away in a short period of time… I was pretty fried, and I took 2010 as a complete break from thinking about what I wanted to do next,” she said. “(I did) some grief work with a support person and I just really felt all the things that had been pushed aside by all that loss and trauma. And I came out of it really grateful.”

In this March 7, 2016 photo, Bonnie Raitt poses for a portrait in New York to promote her new album, Dig In Deep."In this March 7, 2016 photo, Bonnie Raitt poses for a portrait in New York to promote her new album, Dig In Deep."In this March 7, 2016 photo, Bonnie Raitt poses for a portrait in New York to promote her new album, Dig In Deep."In this March 7, 2016 photo, Bonnie Raitt poses for a portrait in New York to promote her new album, Dig In Deep."

In this March 7, 2016 photos, singer Bonnie Raitt poses for a portrait in New York to promote her new album, Dig In Deep  © Drew Gurian – Invision/AP

“Dig In Deep,” released last month, features a number of personal songs Raitt co-wrote as well as her signature guitar. She also said she got a boost from her last album, 2012’s “Slipstream,” which won the Grammy for best Americana album.

“I was rejuvenated by ‘Slipstream’ … and I co-wrote a song on that one with my guitarist …The words didn’t go, so it forced me to write some songs that went with what my experience was, and that kind of got the wheels greased,” she said. “I kind of wrote on assignment. …After all that loss, to finally have the time and freedom and not have to be worrying about family members, I had more opportunity to write.”

On the new album, 66-year-old Raitt co-wrote five of the 12 tracks, including upbeat album opener “Unintended Consequence of Love” and the political “The Comin’ Round Is Going Through.” The album also includes her versions of INXS’ “Need You Tonight” and Los Lobos’ “Shakin’ Shakin’ Shakes.”

She said the second verse of the piano ballad “The Ones We Couldn’t Be,” which she co-wrote, is “really about family members.”

“I know they were sorry they couldn’t be what I needed and I was sorry I couldn’t live up to the expectations,” she said. “And at the time when the relationship’s not working or you’re under stress, you tend to put blame not necessarily where it’s really accurate — it’s all about them, if only they acted different — so the reckoning that happens years later is your realize you both just did the best you could.”

The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, whose hits include “I Can’t Make You Love Me,” ”Something to Talk About” and “Love Sneakin’ Up on You,” said she’s thrilled to be touring with the new songs. The “Bonnie Live in 2016” tour kicked off last week and will visit New York City, Oakland, Austin and Nashville, Tennessee. She will also play international dates in the summer.

Raitt also said there was some anxiety when she began writing for her new album.

“It made me nervous knowing I was going to be writing more of the songs and I was saying, ‘Oh my God, I know so many people out there, they’re gonna say, ‘This one unfortunately is not as good,'” she said. “I don’t like to be compared (to myself), I just wish everybody would say, ‘She’s doing the best she can’ — especially because it was more risk with my own tunes. But so far everyone’s relating to them so I’m really smiling a lot these days.”

Raitt also wants more people outside of her fan base to gravitate to the new music: “I hope people can relate to it, no matter what age they are.”

Though it’s hard to tell, Raitt said she started to play guitar and write songs as a “hobby.” She recalls getting her first guitar for Christmas and playing some much her fingers bled.

“I just played till I had calluses and my fingers bleed and I just learned every Joan Baez song I could learn, and I became the camp fire counselor that sang the songs at my camp,” she said. “And I just thought music can change the world, and I still feel that way.”


Source: © Copyright Associated Press But wait, there's more!

Listen to Bonnie Raitt on The Strombo Show – March 6, 2016

on March 7, 2016 No comments
CBC_Music-logo

The Strombo Show runs the gamut this Sunday night, keeping the spirit of radio alive by delivering the best records in the best order. It’s a show for music lovers by music lovers, ranging over three hours of commercial-free music to honour both old and new.

George Stroumboulopoulos will be joined by the Grammy Award-winning, blues-rock guitarist Bonnie Raitt for an intimate conversation. Bonnie Raitt talks about the US Election, Saturday Night Live and that unreleased Prince album.

“Well, that highway moon is calling like some lover from some other land.
Before the dust can settle, I’ll kick it up and tear it down again.”
— Bonnie Raitt, “Gypsy in Me”

tip: most convenient way to listen while browsing along is to use the popup button of the player.

Raitt is known for her lifelong commitment to the preservation of musical tradition and social activism. She dropped out of Radcliffe in the early ’70s to tour clubs with the likes of Howlin’ Wolf, Sippie Wallace and Mississippi Fred McDowell, learning the trade of late nights. Along the way, she earned herself a reputation as one of the greatest living blues guitarists. Raitt has been a voice for many grassroots and anti-nuclear movements while achieving commercial success with classic albums that include Nick of Time and Luck of the Draw. Her latest studio album, Dig in Deep, reflects on a period of family loss and the joy that she found on the return to the road.

She joins George to dig through her five-decade-spanning career, from performing for Skip James before his death to the truth behind the album that she recorded with Prince.

Playlist:

Bonnie Raitt, “Need You Tonight”
Bonnie Raitt, “The Comin’ Round Is Goin’ Through”
Bob Dylan, “Masters Of War”
Sippie Wallace, “Have You Ever Been Down”
Bonnie Raitt, “The Ones We Couldn’t Be”
Bonnie Raitt, “You’ve Changed My Mind”

For further musical exploration with George Stroumboulopoulos, tune in to The Strombo Show every Sunday night on CBC Radio 2 or CBC Music from 8 to 11 p.m. for three hours of uninterrupted music for music lovers.

Source: © Copyright CBC Music Radio 2 But wait, there's more!

The Lenny Interview: Bonnie Raitt

The prolific singer-songwriter on love, loss, and having the best time of her life.

on March 4, 2016 No comments

By Brittany Spanos

Lenny-logoAs I morphed into a preteen and began forming my own taste in music — which meant anything that my family did not love — Bonnie Raitt was one of the few artists I could never turn off. Her songs would play on my grandpa’s classic-rock station, and the slick sound of her guitar playing, the rasp of her singing voice, and the sheer fact that I was hearing a woman on that station in the first place kept me tuned in. Her Luck of the Draw hits “Something to Talk About” and “I Can’t Make You Love Me” are still etched in my brain, and these songs formed the basis of the rock nerd I became.

On Raitt’s 20th album, Dig in Deep, out now, the iconic guitarist and singer still sounds as fresh as ever, thanks to her continuously inventive covers of songs by the likes of INXS and Los Lobos as well as her incisive originals. The 66-year-old Raitt reopens wounds of heartbreak and loss while getting her “groove” back, as she refers to it, following a string of deaths that altered her life in the early millennium. “I look at Mick and Keith and go, ‘Hey, man. These guys aren’t slowing down,'” she says. “This, in many ways, is the most fun and vital time of my life.”

Raitt spoke with Lenny about what it means to keep living life in the face of so much death, the catharsis of singing songs about heartbreak, and her support for Bernie Sanders.

Brittany Spanos: It’s been so much fun to listen to Dig in Deep. This is the largest number of original songs you’ve had on an album in 18 years. What brought out this resurgence of new material?

Bonnie Raitt: It was mostly a practical consideration. I did two albums in 2003 and another one in 2006 and toured two years behind those. With the prep and the promo and all that, it was really a four-year cycle. In the midst of that decade, my older brother developed brain cancer early on and fought for about eight years. My parents both got ill sequentially and passed away in 2003 and 2004. My brother passed away in 2009, and a very good friend died a month later from his cancer battle. I literally did not have one minute or emotional space to think about writing songs while dealing with that during two album cycles.

By 2010, I’d decided to pull back and take a sabbatical. I wanted to experience all the sorrow and the grief and deal with it off the treadmill of running my own company and promoting records and being on tour. That was a real blessing. I had a lot of time to process without looking over my shoulder about what my next songs were going to be.

When it was time for that to come to an end, I was excited to work with [songwriter] Joe Henry. We did some sessions that spring-loaded the album, and I knew I was going to do most of the record producing it with my live band, which I did. My guitarist George Marinelli sent me a song, but the lyrics didn’t relate to me, so I sat down and wrote some lyrics. That greased the wheels, and I remembered how much fun it was to write. Then the Slipstream tour and the album had such great response. We won a Grammy for Americana Album of the Year, and we were one of the top three independent sellers with my first one on my own record label.

The two-year tour was such a rejuvenation after all that grief and loss, and I came back home after the two-year tour and just said, “You know what? I’m going to add some of these grooves I’ve been really missing on the live show.”

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