Bottleneck-style guitar player. Blues singer. Bonnie Raitt. To put it simply, I love her. For a long while when I was singing in bands I tried to emulate her. Not an easy task. Bonnie turns 61 years old on November 8th. Her career has had its ups and downs but she’s never left my cd rotation. Every now and then something doesn’t feel quite right and I realize it’s time for some Raitt.
In 1993 I saw Bonnie in concert and she gained mad respect from me that day. Her ease on stage, soft confidence, wailing guitar, and emotional vocals held their own place on a bill with Neil Young, Simon & Garfunkel, Melissa Ethridge, Warren Zevon, Heart, and Sammy Hagar & Eddie Van Halen.
Angel From Montgomery( written by John Prine)- In a 2000 interview Raitt stated: "I think 'Angel from Montgomery' probably has meant more to my fans and my body of work than any other song, and it will historically be considered one of the most important ones I've ever recorded. It's just such a tender way of expressing that sentiment of longing - like 'Hello In There' - without being maudlin or obvious. It has all the different shadings of love and regret and longing. It's a perfect expression from [a] wonderful genius." (*)
Bonnie released her first album in 1971 and quickly impressed musicians as they noted her strong guitar skills—bottleneck blues was an unusual style for women then and even now it is not the common style for female guitarists. Critical acclaim abounded, but getting her music out into the mainstream proved to be the challenge. It wasn’t until 1977 when she covered Del Shannon’s Runaway that she had a popular following.
Many album releases came and went without much fanfare: The Glow (1979),Green Light (1982), Nine Lives (1986). During this time Bonnie struggled with a drug and alcohol addiction that plagued her for years. She credits the death of Stevie Ray Vaughn as the catalyst that caused her to sober up.
Then Nick of Time was released in 1989. Her collaboration with producer Don Was made all the difference. Twenty years and ten albums later all of a sudden she was an overnight success. She swept the Grammies in 1990 and again in 1991 after her album Luck of the Draw hit it big. In 1994 she picked up two more Grammies for Longing in Their Hearts.