Bonnie Raitt: Grace, Grumption and Sincerity
Len “Muddy” Mardeusz
In 1972 after 16 years the Warner label dropped her. Noe she thought she was on the verge of moving her career and fading away. She is, Bonnie Raitt, daughter of Broadway star John Raitt.
Bonnie had been singing and playing guitar since she was nine years old. The pretty red head attended Radcliffe college. But she soon dropped out. She started playing the small club circuit. Bonnie learned much from older blues guys. These guys, who started drinking at 10 in the morning, taught her about the blues and rock. This tutoring helped turn Bonnie Raitt into a highly regarded rock musician. But it also started her on the road to alcohol and drugs.
Her recording career was saved by Capitol Records. “Anytime you switch Record Labels, there is an infusion of new excitement. I spent many years at Warner’s. It was like beating a dead horse”. But the initial feeling at the new label was concern. The knowledge of Bonnie’s alcohol and drug issue was a concern, they knew they were taking a chance on her. It was now the early ‘80’s and new avenues of exposure now existed including VH-1, Adult Contemporary radio and more intimate stage venues. Bonnie admitted, “I got lucky with my first Capitol release, “Nick of Time”. The album reached an audience by the new exposure from which broadened their musical tastes. And more importantly, Bonnie Raitt’s success helped her to newfound sobriety. The booze and drugs were gone.
Bonnie has always been eager to talk about other artist she admires. Every note she sings and every chord she plays on her guitar pays tribute to those who have influenced her. “I will always remember those hard drinking old blues guys, they played with their souls”. Bonnie’s music is absorbed with the history of American pop, rock, country and blues. Following, “Nick of Time”, Raitt recorded two new Capitol LP’s, “Luck of the Draw” In 1992 and in 1994 “Longing in Their Hearts”. Both albums became multi-million sellers. They spawned several million selling singles, “Something to Talk About”, “Love Sneaking Up on You” and “I Can’t Make You Love Me”. Over her career Bonnie Raitt has received 10 Grammy’s and has been inducted in to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Bonnie Raitt credits Stevie Ray Vaughn for helping her to break substance abuse in the mid ‘80’s. Bonnie said, “It gave me the courage to stop, when I saw Stevie Ray was even a better musician after he gave it up”. In 2016, Bonnie Raitt recorded her 17th album, “Dig in Deep”. The album charted on Billboard at #20. Bonnie was scheduled to start a summer tour in 2018, unfortunately a recently medical issue was discovered requiring surgical Intervention. Bonnie Raitt always
positive said, “expect a full recovery”. Her management is planning to have the tour set for June of this year. Bonnie Raitt she has grace, gumption and a sincerity that she puts into every song she sings.