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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)

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John Prine Finally Gets the Send-Off He Deserved at Nashville’s Week of Tribute Concerts
"You Got Gold" shows delivered a stellar lineup of surprise guests, including Brandi Carlile, Bonnie Raitt, Margo Price, and Kacey Musgraves

on October 12, 2022 No comments
by Charlie Zaillian

TO LIVE IN Nashville is to love John Prine, so it never sat right how quarantine robbed the late singer, songwriter, and hometown hero of a proper in-person memorial when he died of Covid complications in April of 2020. Prine finally got the wake he deserved this week in Nashville with a string of celebratory concerts titled “You Got Gold,” which featured an all-star, cross-generational casts of admirers covering songs and exchanging anecdotes about the man.

On Sunday, performers and presenters remembered Prine’s generous spirit and the way he modeled being a decent human on top of his talents. “This is the type of songwriter you should be — this is the type of man you should be,” John Paul White recalled of his encounters with Prine, before turning in a solo acoustic rendition of “Far From Me.”

Elsewhere, Steve Earle offered a rowdy take on “That’s the Way the World Goes Round,” Lucius captivated with sublime harmonies on “You Got Gold,” Gillian Welch and David Rawlings chilled with “Hello in There,” and the inspired pairing of Valerie June and Nathaniel Rateliff rollicked their way through “In Spite of Ourselves.” Later in the night, R&B cult figure Swamp Dogg gave a sprawling, impassioned take on “Sam Stone” that included a spiel on homeless veterans, further driving home Prine’s original point about the vulnerability of those returning from war.

Kacey Musgraves performs at the John Prine tribute concert Oct. 10 in Nashville. © Emma Delevante

On Monday — what would have been Prine’s 75th birthday — standards like “Angel From Montgomery” off Prine’s eponymous 1971 debut (covered first by Bonnie Raitt on her 1974 LP Streetlights and performed again, with Brandi Carlile, to Monday night’s reverent standing-room audience) spoke to his music’s timelessness, while material from his 2018 sign-off Tree of Forgiveness evidenced its cross generational reach. “I Have Met My Love Today” was rendered as a duet between veteran crooner Chris Isaak and younger counterpart Nicole Atkins, and “Summer’s End” was tackled with aplomb by gifted New Orleanian singer and multi-instrumentalist Leyla McCalla.


One of Prine’s oldest friends and colleagues to perform was Bonnie Raitt, whom he had known since 1971. They both released their debut albums that year and Raitt has been performing “Angel From Montgomery” live ever since, calling it “a cornerstone of emotion for the audience and for me.”

Brandi Carlile and Bonnie Raitt with John’s band performing “Angel From Montgomery” at ‘You Got Gold’ Birthday Celebration for John Prine at The Ryman in Nashville – October 10, 2022 © Reeda Buresh 
'We started out together in the early '70s, Becky (Thatcher) and Tom Sawyer and Steve Goodman (singer-songwriter and longtime Prine collaborator) was Huck Finn,' Bonnie Raitt said before earning an ovation for 'Angel From Montgomery' with Carlile on harmonies. 'We tore it up all through the '70s. And we were just about to tear it up in our 70s.'

“For us all to come together in honor of him this week is so healing for us as well as for the Prine family,” Raitt said of the concerts. “It’s really the wake and the celebration we didn’t get to have yet.”


The amount of talent and heart gathered Monday at the Mother Church was, honestly, staggering. Upstarts included the charismatic Nashville staple Margo Price, red-hot Bluegrass Stater Tyler Childers, and pop-country maven Kacey Musgraves — an avowed super-fan who, early in her career, titled a song “Burn One With John Prine” and eventually got to perform said tune with its namesake — plus, from the West Coast, Milk Carton Kids, a duo whose harmonies on their rendition of Prine’s 1980 track “Storm Windows” induced goosebumps.

Allison Russell and Jeremy Lindsay perform in honor of John Prine at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. © Rett Rogers

Heavier in nature were performances by Lyle Lovett, Lucinda Williams, and others whose relationships with the revered songwriter were more peer-to-peer than teacher-and-understudy.

Yet as gifted as Prine proved himself to be at boiling down universal truths into pithy tunes over his long, fruitful career, it was the between-song anecdotes shared by Sunday and Monday’s performers — firsthand reflections of both his big heart, and subtle-yet-wicked sense of humor — that made his loss feel most pronounced and proved that Prine was a man not only gifted in writing about the human experience, but living it too.

The “You Got Gold” concerts wrap up Wednesday night with one last show at the Basement East in East Nashville.

Additional reporting by Jon Freeman.


Source: © Copyright Rolling Stone
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The Writer’s Block: Bonnie Raitt Makes John Prine Proud with Her Story Songs

on July 4, 2022 No comments
BY TINA BENITEZ-EVES
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Behind the Song: John Prine “Hello in There”

From an affinity for The Gift of the Magi and early 20th century short stories by O. Henry and reflecting on the loss of friend John Prine, who died on April 7, 2020, and his first songs “Donald and Lydia” and “Angel of Montgomery,” to further references to Bob Dylans’ earlier acoustic story songs, Bonnie Raitt was able to capture the modesty of the narratives she needed to deliver on her 18th album Just Like That….

Initially touched by a human interest story she saw on 60 Minutes about a woman who met the recipient of her son’s heart and would hear it beating for the first time since his death, Raitt began writing the title track. Another newspaper story about volunteers who spent time with terminal inmates inspired “Down the Hall,” and helped Raitt find the stories she needed to tell.

“Those story songs, Prine and Jackson and Paul Brady from Ireland, and Bob Dylan was really what I wanted to do on those two songs,” Raitt told American Songwriter, “to come from that fingerpicking simplicity of just a person on the guitar.”

Bonnie in the studio, recording Slipstream © Matt Mindlin

The remainder of Just Like That… are snapshots of other stories Raitt meant to cover over years, from “Something’s Got a Hold of My Heart,” by NRBQ’s Al Anderson; Toots and the Maytals’ “Love So Strong,” a song she originally planned to duet with her friend Toots Hibbert before his untimely death from COVID in 2020; the more uptempo blues of “Made Up Mind” by alt-country group The Bros. Landreth, who she had friended nearly a decade earlier at the Winnipeg Folk Festival; and her own rendition of “Here Comes Love” by the California Honeydrops, which she initially cut during her Dig In Deep session in 2015. 

Raitt spoke to American Songwriter about getting into the heart of the songs on Just Like That…, capturing some of the essences of Prine’s innate storytelling, and why she’s never really fit into any music genre.

American Songwriter: More than 50 years in now, how has your songwriting, and the way you approach a song, shifted throughout the years?

Bonnie Raitt: In the beginning, I already had a backlog of songs for the first two albums [Bonnie Raitt, 1971; Give It Up, 1972] that I just loved. If you talk to most songwriters, and people that are interpreters like me, first of all, you’re so surprised that anybody’s going to give you an actual record deal. But if you’ve been performing for a while in public, you have a little set, maybe 20 songs that you draw from so that’s two albums right there. Then you cut every record, and you got to come up with another set, and it gets harder to say something new. 

How many times can you say you “broke my heart, you lying, cheating scumbag?” I’ve done so many songs about the prismatic aspects of heartbreak—whether you are the one that caused it, or you are on the receiving end. I’ll take you back, even if it’s a stupid idea. Almost every permutation of love I’ve sung about, it becomes, in some ways, similar each time. It gets harder to come up with something new and original. That’s where my work comes in, and that is trying to be creative, and the song hunt of finding that jewel that nobody’s heard. It gets harder with time when you get up there in albums, but the process of weeding through old material and new material with the same amount of “oh my god, I’m not finding anything” and then all of a sudden you find a jewel, it must be like fishing. I’m not a fisherman, but you just go out there day after day and say “oh forget it,” and then you catch something.

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AS: So when you’ve dug up everything within and presented all the personal stories you can over time and start looking outward for the next story, the next song, where do you go?

BR: I think that’s why I did “Down the Hall” and “Just Like That,” because the last few records I’ve written as personal songs. Of the sad ballads that I’ve written, I really have covered and mined all of the heartbreak in my own personal life. I look at John Prine and think about how he crept into the heart of the woman that was singing “Angel From Montgomery” and how he did I when he was like 21 years old. I mean, it was unbelievable. 

AS: Do most of your older songs still resonate with you even though they were written in different times and personal spaces?

BR: They do. I didn’t sing “Love Has No Pride” for a lot of years. It used to be the cornerstone of my set in the early ’70s because I cut it when I was 22. “I Can’t Make You Love Me” was my “Love Has No Pride” then, and I did “Angel From Montgomery” and those two together were cornerstones in my set. That’s the only one that I stopped singing. It’s not so much about feminism but [recites lyrics] love has no pride when I call out your name… I’m not putting up with that anymore. I’m not going to beg somebody to come back. It’s interesting, because a couple of decades later somebody asked about it, and they were so innocent. They said, “I really wish you would sing that song,” and I went, “Okay, I’m gonna do it for you,” and then it transformed me singing it because I had so much empathy for the person that was aching for that person to come back that they would do anything. I was singing it for that person. It’s not me anymore. I’m just singing it for that part of me, of having tremendous sympathy for the young woman I was, that would have given anything to have this guy back.

AS: It’s amazing how a song can transform over time like that.
BR:
 Yes, I think so, and other people that write all their own songs … I have no idea how they can keep coming up with new topics—to write all your own material. Collaborating probably makes it a little bit easier. It’s hard enough to find good songs to cover, but if I had to write on my own, I would have retired.

AS: It takes a lot out of you. It’s really an emotional process.

BR: And what about the fact that you have to mix commerce? I have maybe 15 friends, and I’m just pulling that off the top of my head, who have made incredible records the last two or three albums, and no one’s paid any attention to them. I know writers that have written books that are some of my favorite books on my shelf, and nobody paid any attention to them. So I sympathize, and I have political activist journalist friends who have written pieces that would change the world if people could just see it. So that’s why the joy of having a little bit more success, so that when I call Bonnie Hayes and say, “I’m going to cut more of your songs”… in the old days, it would be like I’d sold 150,000 albums, and they wouldn’t even make any money on it, but now when Nick of Time hit, I could help somebody get a house.

Santa Cruz Blues Festival – May 2015 © Susan J Weiand

AS: You’ve moved across country, Americana, pop, folk, rock but there’s never really been a category for you. How have you managed not to get stuck in one particular genre all these years?

BR: Thank you. That makes me happy to hear. At least the Americana format has broadened what we have. We have an umbrella now for bands like Little Feat… I mean, why do we have to call Delbert McClinton country? Is he blues? No. When you go to see a great musical—and I was blessed to grow up in musical theater with my dad and watched the great classics all the time—the arc within a show has uptempo and playful songs and then just heart-piercing heartbreak songs. It’s how you string them together that makes the show fun or makes an album interesting to me. So when people try to say, “are you country or this or that,” it’s just so irrelevant.

AS: I think we’ve finally managed to move on from this with all the cross-over in country and pop, rock and hip-hop, and beyond. 

BR: I think so too. I’m glad to see everybody cross-pollinating, like Lil Nas [X]. The great cultural hope I have for bridging some of this animosity in our country of polarization is when rap artists and country artists get together. Who would have foreseen that? Now there are a lot of black artists in country music, so it’s really great.

I feel like it’s my job to celebrate some of these genres of music. I love that kind of soul, Hall & Oates-era of music where they’re paying homage to the soul records that they love, and “Made Up Mind” really reminds me of those. Usually, when I want to have an R&B kind of tinge single like that, it’s because it’s just a genre of music I love so much.

Honestly, I just pick these songs so I can play them live.

Read our recent interview with Raitt, which appeared in the May/June 2022 issue of American Songwriter, here.

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Source: © Copyright American Songwriter

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