Home' Rhythms Magazine : 2017 Mar-Apr Contents Rhythms 43
two years – one for her performance with John Lee Hooker
on ‘I’m In The Mood’ and in 1992 the Musicares Person of
the Year, bringing her tally to eight.
In 1994, Raitt released Longing In Their Hearts, which went
on to win Best Pop Vocal Album at the 1995 Grammys.
Raitt’s talent as a guitar player has always been rated very
highly by those in the know and in 1997 this was formally
acknowledged with a Grammy for Best Rock Instrumental
Performance for ‘SRV Shuffle’.
In 2000 Raitt was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of
Fame as a singer and a guitarist – “it was a tremendous
validation for everything I stood for musically. After all
of the hard work and the heartache I’d been through after
being dropped by my label, this proved to me that I had
been on the right track. It was also a wonderful boost for
women being acknowledged as rock artists and music
artists in general – we need more women in there!”
Throughout the first decade of the 2000’s Raitt settled into
a routine – a three-year cycle of prepare album, record and
release album, tour to support album. Albums included
Slipstream in 2002 and Souls Alike in 2005. Behind the
scenes though these years were tough for Raitt. During
these years she lost both parents, her brother and her best
friend. She continued to tour though because “it’s a big
responsibility when you’re paying all the mortgages for
everyone – 20 or so people on the road and back home
depend on me for their income. When I take time off, I’m
putting people out of work.” In 2010 though she did take a
good year off to recuperate, refocus and regain perspective.
Raitt returned reinvigorated in 2012 with the wonderful
Slipstream album on her own Redwing label. This album
was also to pick up a Grammy, this time for Best Americana
Album, and became a Top 10 album.
Since then Raitt has not looked back, remaining on the road
and on that three-year cycle.
When you look at Raitt’s website, you will see a tab for
Activism which is fairly unique on an artist’s website. Raitt
continues to be heavily involved in human rights and
nature rights causes. At nearly every concert, Bonnie works
with the Guacamole Fund to offer hand-selected seats to
benefit local non-profit organisations working on issues
of safe and sustainable energy, environmental protection,
peace with justice and beyond. She also has a history
of appearing at benefit concerts for causes supporting
environmental issues and is a founding member of MUSE
(Musicians United for Safe Energy). Raitt tithes one tenth of
her income to support similar causes. The impending four
years of Trump is looming as a difficult challenge for Raitt.
“For progressives like myself we have a lot of work to do!
It’s a big task we have ahead, but I’m ready for it. Everyone
is banding together and doing a lot of concerts already. The
revolution that Bernie (Sanders) started is not going away!”
2016 saw the release of current album Dig In Deep, which
she is currently touring to support. Luckily for us this
includes Australia, which Raitt regards as a highlight of the
cycle. Raitt is accompanied by her wonderful band – Ricky
Fataar on drums (originally from South Africa, Fataar spent
10 years in Sydney after his stint with Tthe Beach Boys –
here he worked mainly with the Finn Brothers but many
others including Renee Geyer. Fataar has been with Raitt
since 1990), James ‘Hutch’ Hutchinson on bass (has worked
with everyone from CSN&Y to Randy Newman to Hank
Williams Jr to The Proclaimers – the list goes on! Has been
with Raitt since 1990), George Marinelli (guitarist with Raitt
since 1993), and Mike Finnigan on keys (has worked with
everyone from Hendrix to Muldaur) – an all-star band if ever
there was one.
2017 looms as a big year for Raitt: “I’m going to be opening
for James Taylor in baseball stadiums next summer. We’re
going to Europe in the spring, and I can’t wait to come back
to Australia and New Zealand again. Byron Bay is a high
point for us in the whole two-year cycle. I just wish we had
another three weeks down there and not just hit and run!”
We’re just thankful that we again get the opportunity to
enjoy this music legend and her band once again!
"iT’S a Big TaSk we have
aheaD, BuT i’m reaDy for iT"
Bonnie Raitt performs Bluesfest on April 14,
national tour dates in the Gig Guide.
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