Title - 'Bonnie Raitt and Friends' (Capitol Records)
Artist - Bonnie Raitt
Bonnie Raitt is certainly one of the most consistent artists of the past 35 years. While that might mean that her work is often predictable, it also means that it is usually very good. Since her debut, Raitt's approach hasn't really changed much at all; she still mixes ballads, rock, and folk-oriented music and infuses all of it with a strong sense of the blues. About the only thing that has changed over the years is the level of recognition that she receives. The combination of her voice and slide-guitar tone is now instantly recognizable by just about anyone, and here numerous Grammy awards have helped elevate her to a semi-legendary status.
"Bonnie Raitt and Friends" celebrates her career by presenting a live performance that captures the essence of her artistry, and pairs her with some special guests. Surprisingly, virtually none of the songs performed are taken from the first half of her career, which I see as a good thing. Although I love the material on her early albums "Taking My Time," "Home Plate" and others, those songs have grown a bit shopworn over the years. "Love Has No Pride" and "Angel from Montgomery" do not make the cut, while newer songs like "Crooked Crown" and "I Don't Want Anything to Change" are prominently featured. I believe the oldest song from her repertoire that appears here is "Love Letter," from 1989's "Nick of Time" album. The emphasis on newer material provides this collection with a sense of freshness that is exceptional, especially for an artist with a four-decade career. Appearances on this CD include Keb Mo', Alison Krauss, Ben Harper, Jon Cleary (who is a bonafide bandmember) and Norah Jones.