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Bonnie Raitt at Akron Civic 5/23; Tickets on Sale 2/17

By Rich Heldenfels Published: February 10, 2012

 

 

Prices range from $37.50 to $75.50. I saw Raitt perform in the late '70s, with Taj Mahal opening, and she put on a fine show.

The official word: With the release of her nineteenth album, Slipstream, Bonnie Raitt is starting anew. The album marks her return to studio recording after seven years; it's coming out as the launch of her own label, Redwing Records; and it delivers some of the most surprising and rewarding music of her remarkable career, thanks in part to some experimental sessions with celebrated producer Joe Henry. ...

Slipstream’s twelve tracks feature Raitt's renditions of songs by such luminaries as Bob Dylan, Joe Henry, and Loudon Wainwright III. An updated, reggae-fied version of Gerry Rafferty's "Right Down the Line" leads the charge as the album's first single.

The years before and after Raitt's last album, 2005's acclaimed Souls Alike, weren't an easy time for her, with the passing of parents, her brother, and a best friend. So after following that album with her usuallong run of touring—winding up with the "dream come true" of the "BonTaj Roulet" revue with Taj Mahal in 2009 and a triumphant appearance at the all-star Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 25th anniversary concerts the same year— she decided to step back and recharge for a while.

Where Raitt's last several albums concentrated on material from lesser-known and younger songwriters, Slipstream draws from more of her contemporaries, including Paul Brady and Michael O'Keefe's "Marriage Made in Hollywood" and a reggae-fied version of Gerry Rafferty's "Right Down the Line." Her longtime friend Al Anderson, formerly of NRBQ, contributes three songs and plays on four; his hardbopping guitar work adds to the general sense of six-string gunslinging throughout the album.

"One of the new things about this record is that we let the guitar jams go on for a while," says Raitt. "George and I got into some rockin' back and forth like we do live, and I had a ball going head-to-head with Al Anderson,one of my all-time favorite guitarists, on his 'Split Decision.'

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