WUMB November Program Guide

Bonnie Raitt – Smooth As Silk

Listening to Bonnie Raitt it’s easy to get lost in her voice.  From her earliest albums like Give It Up, right through to her later years albums like, Slipstream, one of the traits that she carries through each album is her great bluesy sounding voice.   Whether covering songs or doing her own originals, Raitts’ songwriting ability and her voice has always been there for her.  However, one feature that I feel has gotten lost through the years is just how great of a guitar player she is. 

Very early on in her career Bonnie Raitts’ guitar playing is what got her noticed, not her voice.  It wasn’t your typical guitar playing, but her slide guitar style that made casual listeners and old grizzled bluesman sit up in their seats and notice this red head.

Raitt dropped out of college and relocated to the blossoming folk scene taking place in Boston during the late 1960’s.  After spending time playing in smoky bar rooms word quickly spread that catching this maestro playing slide guitar was a “must see”.  Ironically, Bonnie Raitt didn’t achieve commercial success until the late 80’s even though in guitar circles she was already well established.  (Watch this clip of Raitt playing her slide guitar alongside of Jeff Beck at the Kennedy Center Honors for Buddy Guy, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f56_Eg4i89c).  I find myself getting lost in her slide guitar and will often forget to listen to that great voice of hers.  Early on in her career Bonnie Raitt battled with alcohol and substance abuse.  She has fought through those dark days in her life and despite those days, continues to remain relevant.

Multiple Grammy Awards are not what keeps Bonnie Raitt going, it’s her tireless efforts off stage that she seems most proud of.  She has become masterful at taking the spotlight off herself and shining it on some great causes such as “Musicians United for Safe Energy” or lending her name to various Presidential campaigns. Bonnie Raitt is one of the many female musicians that WUMB is featuring during the month of March, for more info check out Jay Mobergs’ entry.

I’ll leave you with one more clip of Bonnie Raitt.  Watch and listen to her slide guitar on this version of Big Boss Man as she shares the stage with the Grateful Dead. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E4uZZByKlsI

Talk with you in the morning,



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