Saturday, April 21, 2012

Slipstream (2012) by Bonnie Raitt


Bonnie Raitt is a wonderful talent in the music world who has been missing on the scene in recent years. She saw great success in the early 90s, especially with pop crossover hits like "Something to Talk About" and "Love Sneakin' up on You". She even shared to stage with some of blues greatest names like Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy and B.B. King. She is a very reputable slide guitar player, something I personally just melt for, and seems to be one foremost practitioners of the art today. So when I learned she was finally releasing another album this year, after 7 years had passed since her last studio effort, I pumped to get my hands on it and hear some of those great slide guitar blues.

Bonnie is a unique artist for her talent and her ability to be a crossover artist when she wants to be. Because she was "away from the game" for seven years, I think there is something a bit missing from this album that makes it stick out right away. The first thing to note when listening through this album is how there are no standout tracks in the bunch, no potential hits that may find themselves onto the radio and perhaps introduce a whole new generation to the wonderful Bonnie Raitt. However, this is still a pretty good album. Bonnie still has a great blues voice and uses it well. She still plays a mean slide guitar, and does so with a feeling and her signature grittiness that makes her stand out.

What makes the album a strong listen is the consistency from top to bottom as a collection of good songs. Raitt, who has written some of her music in the past (though not her big crossover hits), steps back from the pad and pen and assembles a list of songs written by other songwriters and artists, with the exception of a co-writing credit on "Down to You". Adding to the flavor of the guest is Bill Frisell, who appears a few times throughout the album to steal the show with his great guitar playing, which compliments Raitt so beautifully. It is great to see Bonnie back in the game, and she does deliver a solid album here, just not one with any signature tracks or anything to make waves in the modern blues scene.

***

Track Picks: "Used to Rule the World","Not Cause I Wanted To","Standing in the Doorway"

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