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Raitt keeps touring to battle ageism

on October 6, 2006 No comments
by Jim Beal Jr.
(Express-News Staff Writer)

For 35 years Bonnie Raitt, the woman with the red hair and Fender guitars, has been bringing together roots blues, rock, touches of world music and bits and pieces of pop for a sound that continues to grab and hold 18 albums down the line.
An excellent guitarist and singer, Raitt has a way with a show. She’s also a fan.

Bonnie Raitt and Keb’ Mo’ – Memphis Botanic Gardens, Memphis, TN – 9/29/2006 © Dick Waterman

“Choosing songs for albums is part of the fun and part of the chore,” Raitt said from a Dallas tour stop. “Some people happen to be prolific songwriters. I don’t. I love songwriters like Paul Brady, Randall Bramblett and Maia Sharp, writers that a lot of people might not be familiar with, just like I love writers like Jackson Browne and Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker.”

“I’m a melody fan. When I’m looking for songs I ask friends and I try to find out about cool people. It’s so much fun to find people who have been around but are not necessarily internationally famous.”
Raitt is still on the road with her 2005 CD, “Souls Alike,” which is packed with songs by writers deserving of further recognition, and a CD/DVD package, “VH1 Classic Decades Rock Live! Presents: Bonnie Raitt and Friends.”

The tour will stop tonight at Municipal Auditorium. Keb’ Mo’ and his band will open; Raitt and Keb’ Mo’ also will perform do some songs together.
Raised in California, Raitt broke out of the late ’60s potent Boston folk scene. She has been around long enough to have earned a couple of generations of fans (and some Grammy awards) and to have a catalog that’s wide and deep enough to make coming up with set lists tough something less than a snap.

“There’s an art to doing it and if I mess it up I would hear about it,” she said, laughing. “I learned from my predecessors so I don’t do too many ballads in a row but also don’t do too many rockers in a row because people want to hear ‘Angel From Montgomery,’.” she said. “For this tour I’m finding maybe more obscure songs for my fans and for me.”

“Souls Alike” was produced by Raitt and co-produced by Tchad Blake. The disc features Raitt’s powerhouse band, including which includes Jon Cleary (keyboards, backing vocals), James “Hutch” Hutchinson (bass), Ricky Fataar (drums, percussion) and George Marinelli (guitar).

“Most of the time I pick the material, the musicians and the producers. I pick people I get a good vibe off of. The combination of the engineer and the co-producer are there as helpmates and another set of ears. I make records so I can tour, not the other way around.”

Not unlike her peers, Raitt finds it difficult to get radio airplay, so . That’s one reason she’s jazzed about the guest-laden DVD project.

“Older artists, we don’t get on the radio. Ageism is really a big deal,” she said. “I don’t get played on the radio, so that’s why I’m happy to do interviews, and thank goodness for satellite radio. Not everybody can get to see your show, so the VH1 Classic DVD is a way to reach more fans. My goal in life is to share the music.”

Another goal is working to help helping others. Raitt is involved in an array of projects, from the Rhythm & Blues Foundation to the Boys & and Girls Clubs Bonnie Raitt Fender Guitar Program. VIP seat and meet ‘n’ greet pass sales, available at, raise money for REVERB, the New Orleans Musicians Clinic and Common Ground Clinic.

“This tour we’re running all the buses and trucks on biodiesel,” she added. “We also have Green Highway (a traveling eco-village) with us to provide people information about alternative energy solutions.”

And then Raitt was off to join Keb’ Mo’ onstage.

Source: © Copyright San Antonio Express-News

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Crowds brave storm to hear Raitt and Keb’Mo’
Bonnie Raitt demonstrates her vocal and instrumental talents for a sellout crowd at Deer Valley.

on September 2, 2006 No comments
Kat James , Of The Record staff

Anticipation ran high as the crowd filled the ski hill at Snow Park Wednesday night, waiting to experience the music of blues legends Bonnie Raitt and Keb’Mo’. Some anxiety regarding the dark, heavy skies was also apparent.

Teri Orr, as is customary, welcomed everyone and announced the concert would go on rain or shine unless lightning became an issue.

Keb’Mo’ took the stage first with a five-piece backup band (bass, drums, mandolin, keyboard, lead guitar) and within a few stanzas of their first tune, the rain began. It didn’t last long, but promised to return. On with the show

Switching from acoustic to National steel guitar, Keb’, ne Kevin Moore, continued to impress with his down-home, effortless style of country blues, all the while looking like a GQ model tall and lanky with sexy, chiseled features.

As he finished up “Rita,” a song from his recent “Suitcase” album, the storm broke in earnest. Orr assured everyone that Doppler said it was a fast mover, and the concert would continue in 10 minutes.

Almost everyone toughed it out, but lightning did strike ominously close. Finally, mostly drenched, the audience enthusiastically welcomed the bluesman back to the stage.

Keb’ and his band kept the crowd on their feet, warmed by dancing along to “Soon As I Get Paid,” “Standin’ at the Station” and “Gimme What You Got.” At one point he told his fans, “We had a set list but we tore it up.” He finished up with “Shave Yo’ Legs” and another “Suitcase” tune, “Whole ‘Nother Thang.”

Rather than an encore, the band left and Bonnie Raitt appeared with Keb’, offering a sensitive duet of vocals and guitars on “You” from Raitt’s album, “Bonnie Raitt and Friends.”

Bonnie Raitt with Keb’ Mo’ performing a sensitive duet of vocals and guitars on “You” at Deer Valley Resort, Park City, UT August 30, 2006 © Teri Orr /Park City Institute /Flickr

Following a short break, the nine-time Grammy winner, with her flowing, red hair and its recognizable shock of white, took command of the evening, beginning with a Junior Walker tune, “I’m a Roadrunner,” backed up by her four long-time band mates.

She continued with John Hiatt’s tune “Thing Called Love,” during which a gorgeous double rainbow appeared above the eastern mountains.

Raitt introduced “God Was In The Water” from her 2005 “Souls Alike” album and dedicated it to the survivors of Katrina and, following the Louisiana theme, introduced her keyboardist, Jon Cleary, performing a duet on “Unnecessarily Mercenary,” which he wrote and is also on “Souls Alike.” Switching to a Cajun flavor, Raitt sang a Maia Sharp tune, “I Don’t Want Anything to Change,” which she recorded as a duet with Norah Jones.

Bonnie Raitt with Keb' Mo' August 30, 2006
Park City Institute Presents: Bonnie Raitt with Keb’ Mo’. August 30, 2006, at Deer Valley Resort, Park City, UT © Teri Orr /Flickr Album

She sat down at the keyboard with the title track from her 1989 breakout album, “Nick of Time,” and dedicated it to her recently deceased parents.

Raitt took a moment to announce that her buses and trucks all ran on bio-diesel and announced it was “time to get out of the Mideast and back to the Midwest!”

She introduced a Sippie Wallace number, a down-and-dirty blues tune written in the 1920s and still relevant, “Don’t Advertise Your Man.”

Cleary picked up the mandolin and accompanied Raitt on the tearful Paul Siebel ballad, “Louise.” The instrumentation was sheer perfection as were the vocal harmonies. Those harmonies continued with “Something to Talk About,” as Raitt strutted and twirled — the consummate entertainer.

She ended her set with “Love Sneakin’ Up On You,” recorded on the “Friends” album with Keb’Mo’, Norah Jones, Alison Krauss and Ben Harper.

After the customary exit, she returned with the poignant “I Can’t Make You Love Me” from her “Luck of the Draw” CD. Many people began leaving at this point, still wet and too cold to stay, but those holdouts who remained were rewarded by the return of Keb’Mo’ and several more tunes, featuring a haunting duet with Raitt on John Prine’s “Angel from Montgomery.”

Source: © Copyright ParkRecord

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