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Bonnie Raitt at DTE, 5 Things To Know

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

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More than 45 years into her recording career, Bonnie Raitt has every reason to be digging in deep.

The multi-faceted music veteran has 17 albums and 10 Grammy Awards to her credit, and he’s routinely featured on lists of greatest singers and guitar players. Raitt -- the daughter of theater star John Raitt -- is no slouch as a songwriter either, and she’s also an ace interpreter of songs by others.

This summer finds Raitt on a “victory lap” of sorts for her latest album, 2016’s “Dig In Deep,” which it debuted at No. 11 on the Billboard 200 and No. 1 on the Americana, Blues and Folk charts. It’s has also afforded her a chance to tour with longtime friend James Taylor, even joining him on stage for a song each night. And she’s planning to start digging in again as this cycle nears its end...

• Raitt, 67, says she and Taylor are “having such a great time” on their summer tour dates -- which comes as no surprise, of course. “The two bands love each other, and James and I have known each other since I was 20 and he was not much older and I opened for him at Harvard University,” Raitt says by phone from her home in northern California. “And of course we’ve worked together on a lot of different environmental shows. I don’t get to see him that much -- at the Grammys, and occasionally we’ll run into each other at benefits. This is the first time we’ve toured together, so it’s been really warm, and the audiences have been incredible. To hear that many people hushed quiet on the ballads is really an extraordinary thing for me.”

• After more than 17 months of supporting “Dig In Deep” and playing its songs, Raitt says the album -- which she co-produced with Rochester Adams alumnus Joe Henry -- continues to grow and modify through that exercise. “The band being the same one I record with, it really makes the songs fresh every night even though it’s the same guys,” Raitt explains. “I love the way the songs are morphing a little bit. And now we do some different older songs and that kind of makes it fun for me to watch how the new songs fit with them and the different ways we play it, and they stretch out. When you find the right guys and the right song, it’s just a gift that keeps on unfolding.”

• One eyebrow-raising selection on “Dig In Deep” is a version of INXS’ “Need You Tonight,” which Raitt has given a bluesier flavor showcasing her slide guitar playing. “That’s just me being a music fan,” she says. “Ever since INXS came out I’ve just been crazy for them. I mostly know their singles, like everyone else, but I had such great respect for them. And ‘Need You Tonight’ really hit me as something that would be killer on slide guitar. It’s a very sexy song.” Raitt has received a note of thanks from the song’s writer, Andrew Farriss, who also came to see her perform it in Nashville.

• An avid political and social activist, Raitt is, like money, upset with the current presidential administration and what she considers a regressive agenda. “Every day is a challenge,” Raitt says. “We just have to try to stay in the positive solutions and to try be active and promote what I can to make a change happen and, as much as I can, support the people who are working on the ground and standup for what we think is right and not put our head in the sand. But I really have to parse how much of the time I expose myself to the news cycle and reading to many articles and things. There’s so much that’s just upsetting; I would end up pulling my covers over my head if I looked at it all. I have to figure out what times of the day I’m strong enough to take it but not look away too much, either.”

• Raitt is starting to think loosely about what she’ll do next, including writing some songs and finding more material she likes from others. “Hopefully I’ll get a break,” she says. “Y’know, I don’t even plan anything, whether it’s my music or outside guest appearances or causes that I care about. So I’m never really off, but I’m hoping after this tour I’ll be able to travel for fun or stay home for fun, and then I’ll think about what I’m going to do next when I feel ready. I’m not going to be in a big hurry.”

If You Go:

• James Taylor and Bonnie Raitt

• 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 8.

• DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township.

• Tickets are $45-$130.50 pavilion, $26 lawn.

• Call 248-377-0100 or visit palacenet.com.

Web Site: www.palacenet.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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