Bonnie's Pride and Joy

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on April 19, 2007 No comments

April 19, 2007 – b163861016y Doug Wyatt

Sue Kahfmann has seen Bonnie Raitt in concert, she says, “at least a dozen times.”

She’s got another date with her favorite singer Wednesday night in Savannah. “Bonnie just gets better and better,” says Kahfmann, who cheerfully admits to “pushing 60.”

“Some of us are like fine wine, you know.”

Plenty of other folks consider Raitt a rare and tasty vintage indeed. Well into the fourth decade of her Grammy-studded career, she still draws packed houses at her sultry, blues-tinged concerts. An accomplished songwriter and guitarist, she’s as immensely popular with her fellow musicians as with the public. “She’s my girl,” the late blues legend John Lee Hooker once said. “They don’t get any better than Bonnie.”

Raitt first made a splash in the early ’70s, a young redhead with a soulful voice and a stylish hand at the guitar, playing classic blues by giants like Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters. Her first hit single came in 1977, a gritty arrangement of Del Shannon’s “Runaway.”

She garnered three Grammy nominations over the next few years but really attained stratospheric commercial success in the ’90s. In 1990, she won four Grammys – three for her “Nick of Time” album and one for her collaboration with Hooker on his album “The Healer.” “Nick of Time” is now certified quintuple platinum. Its successor, “Luck of the Draw” (1991) sold even more copies and won three more Grammys for Raitt. “Longing in Their Hearts,” released in 1994, won a Grammy for Best Pop Album.

During the years since, Raitt has released more best-selling albums and has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Over the decades, she’s performed on more than 100 albums by other musicians, performing with artists as varied as B.B. King, Tony Bennett, and Willie Nelson. She’s also been active in political causes, frequently speaking and performing for environmental causes and women’s rights. In 2004, before the presidential election, she toured with Jackson Browne and Keb Mo’ in the “Vote For Change” tour.

“I’ve always admired Bonnie for what she stands for,” says Savannah’s Kahfmann. “She takes her shots, but just keeps on keeping on. And you gotta love someone my age who can still rock.”

When: 8 p.m. April 25

Where: Johnny Mercer Theatre

How much: $45-$55

For information: 912-651-6556 or 800-351-7469 or go to www.savannahcivic.com

10 facts about Bonnie Raitt

1. Bonnie’s the daughter of the late John Raitt, a star of the musical theatre who appeared in such productions as “Carousel,” “Oklahoma!,” and “The Pajama Game.” Her mother, the late Marge Goddard, was a pianist/singer.

2. Bonnie started playing music after she was given a guitar for Christmas when she was 8.

3. She entered Harvard’s Radcliffe College in 1967, majoring in African studies.

4. She left college after three years to pursue music full time, and was soon opening for such blues legends as Mississippi Fred McDowell, Son House, and Muddy Waters.

5. She has won nine Grammys.

6. She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000. Among her fellow inductees that year were Eric Clapton; Earth, Wind, and Fire; The Lovin’ Spoonful; The Moonglows; and James Taylor.

7. She’s long worked for a wide range of political causes. She performed at the No Nukes concerts at Madison Square Garden in 1980, was a co-founder of MUSE (Musicians United for Safe Energy), and has appeared at numerous benefits for environmental causes and women’s right.

8. She married actor Michael O’Keefe in 1991. They divorced in 1999.

9. “Souls Alike” in 2005 was her 15th studio album – and her first as a producer.

10. Her first TV appearance was on “The Mike Douglas Show.”

Source: © Copyright Savannah Morning News

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We celebrate Women of the Blues every day! Season 1 of our Blues Foundation podcast features Blues Hall of Fame trailblazers Ma Rainey (ep. 22), Bessie Smith (ep. 24), Memphis Minnie (ep. 08), Alberta Hunter (ep. 02), and Dinah Washington (ep. 26).

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