It’s hard for me to be objective about a Bonnie Raitt album. I’ve been in love with her ever since I saw her face and heard her voice on “Give It Up” back in my college days. For over 40 years she has been making great music, combining her gutsy but controlled voice with her amazing slide guitar playing. She has always had great taste in material and musicians.
Her new album is “Dig In Deep”. All but one of the tracks were recorded with her touring band: George Marinelli on guitar, Hutch Hutchinson on bass, Ricky Fataar on drums , and Mike Finnigan on keyboards. That’s fortunate, as this group has been playing together forever and has tremendous cohesion and a fantastic groove.
Bonnie wrote about half the songs on this album, more than usual for her. To me though, the two tracks that really stand out are two of the covers: “I Need You Tonight” by INXS which has a great stop and start rhythm, and the smoking hot Los Lobos song “Shakin’ Shakin’ Shakes”. Bonnie’s songs tend to be a bit generic, invocations of lost love, but her voice always soars above the material, tender on the ballads and ballsy on the rockers.
Is this her best album? No, but it’s a great listen nonetheless. I’d give a good solid A-. The only albums from 2016 I’d put up the this level are Bowie’s “Blackstar” and Lucinda Williams’s “Ghosts of Highway 20”. Still love you, Bonnie!