Bonnie Raitt is like fine wine. It’s pretty good when it’s young, but as it ages, it gains richness and maturity that makes it special.
It’s hard to believe that Bonnie Raitt started her recording career in 1971. Fifty-one years ago. Five decades. It’s hard enough to get a start in the record business, but to still be relevant after fifty years is remarkable. Not only has she managed to stick around that long, but having her biggest success in the second half of a career is unheard of. Is there anyone from that generation of music legends that can say that?
Raitt’s musical journey has been documented many times. While her early albums were well received by critics, they didn’t sell well. She lost recording deals and struggled to find companies that would take a chance on putting out her music. Then in 1989, almost two decades after her start as a recording artist, she finally hit it big with the release of her tenth album, “Nick of Time.” Two years later she followed up with “Luck of the Draw.” At a time when people were no longer buying albums in the same number that they did when Raitt started, “Luck of the Draw” sold more than seven million copies. Three Grammys followed. It’s been onward and upward since then.
Bonnie Raitt is now seventy-two years old. Yesterday, she released her seventeenth album. “Just Like That” is her first album of new music in six years. It’s what you would expect from a Raitt record. There’s a mixture of rock, blues and funk with a few ballads mixed in. There is plenty of guitar, highlighted by Bonnie’s unmistakable slide guitar sound. By the way, did you know that Prince ask her to teach him how to play slide guitar, but I digress?
Anyway, although there’s not a lot of new ground covered on this latest Raitt recording, that’s okay. Other than a couple of songs dealing with illness, death and mortality, it’s the same Bonnie Raitt formula that we’ve known and have loved since 1971. Like that fine wine that we’ve savored over and over again, the sound of Bonnie Raitt’s music is just as sweet.
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