149 Westchester Avenue
Port Chester, NY, 10573
Doors 6:30 PM / Show 8:00 PM
This event is 18 and over
With the release of her nineteenth album, Slipstream, Bonnie Raitt is starting anew. The album marks her return to studio recording after seven years; it's coming out as the launch of her own label, Redwing Records; and it delivers some of the most surprising and rewarding music of her remarkable career, thanks in part to some experimental sessions with celebrated producer Joe Henry.
The years before and after Raitt's last album, 2005's acclaimed Souls Alike, weren't an easy time for her, with the passing of parents, her brother, and a best friend. So after following that album with her usual long run of touring—winding up with the "dream come true" of the "BonTaj Roulet" revue with Taj Mahal in 2009 and a triumphant appearance at the all-star Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 25th anniversary concerts the same year— she decided to step back and recharge for a while.
"I took a hiatus from touring and recording to get back in touch with the other part of my life," she says. "On the road, under stress, it's hard to stay in balance and move forward." Excited to have time at home and with her family and friends, she could go to the symphony, check out live jazz and Cuban shows, and so much else. She continued her ongoing political work, helping to organize NukeFree.org in 2007 and supporting her favorite non-profit organizations. "I didn't have to be the professional version of myself for a long time," she says. "It wasn't so much a vacation as a chance to take care of a lot of neglected areas of my life, a lot of processing after all that loss and activity."
When she started thinking about making music again, Bonnie knew she needed to try something out of the ordinary. "I was really interested in working with different people, and someone I had always been drawn to was Joe Henry," she says. "I'm a big fan of his writing and albums and love the work he's done producing Allen Toussaint, Solomon Burke, and others. I thought it would be really intriguing to see what we could come up with. Coincidentally, he had been wanting to call me as well. Our first phone call lasted over two hours."
They found a brief window when Henry's usual crew of musicians was available, augmented by a new friend of Bonnie's, the magnificent guitarist Bill Frisell. "I didn't have to produce or get the band together, I could just show up and sing," she says. "I came to Joe's with, to use a Zen expression, 'beginner's mind.'" The experiment yielded eight songs in 48 hours, and Raitt was inspired to get back to work full force. "I loved singing these songs and playing with these guys so much," she says, "This was just the jumpstart I needed to get me back in the saddle and wanting to work on a new album."
She plans to release the full results of the Joe Henry sessions down the line, but for now she chose to include four of these tracks on Slipstream —the Henry originals "You Can't Fail Me Now" (co-written with Loudon Wainwright III) and "God Only Knows," and two songs from Bob Dylan's Time Out of Mind album, "Million Miles" and "Standing in the Doorway."
A few months later, Raitt gathered her long-time touring bandmates—George Marinelli on guitar, James "Hutch" Hutchinson on bass, and Ricky Fataar on drums—along with a new addition and an old friend on keys, Mike Finnigan (Taj Mahal; Joe Cocker; Crosby, Stills and Nash) in a Los Angeles studio. Bonnie was also pleased to have Maia Sharp, one of her favorite artists and a collaborator on Souls Alike, joining her team once again, adding back-up vocals to several songs.
Where Raitt's last several albums concentrated on material from lesser-known and younger songwriters, Slipstream draws from more of her contemporaries, including Paul Brady and Michael O'Keefe's "Marriage Made in Hollywood" and a reggae-fied version of Gerry Rafferty's "Right Down the Line." Her longtime friend Al Anderson, formerly of NRBQ, contributes three songs and plays on four; his hard-bopping guitar work adds to the general sense of six-string gunslinging throughout the album. "One of the new things about this record is that we let the guitar jams go on for a while," says Raitt. George and I got into some rockin' back and forth like we do live, and I had a ball going head-to-head with Al Anderson, one of my all-time favorite guitarists, on his 'Split Decision.'
More than just a best-selling artist, respected guitarist, expressive singer, and accomplished songwriter, Bonnie Raitt has become an institution in American music. Born to a musical family, the nine-time Grammy winner, who Rolling Stone named one of the "100 Greatest Singers of All Time," is the daughter of celebrated Broadway singer John Raitt (Carousel, Oklahoma!, The Pajama Game) and accomplished pianist/singer Marge Goddard. She was raised in Los Angeles in a climate of respect for the arts, Quaker traditions, and a commitment to social activism. A Stella guitar given to her as a Christmas present launched Bonnie on her creative journey at the age of eight. While growing up, though passionate about music from the start, she never considered that it would play a greater role than as one of her many growing interests.
After forging an alliance with Capitol Records in 1989, Bonnie achieved new levels of popular and critical acclaim. She won four Grammy Awards in 1990—three for her Nick of Time album and one for her duet with John Lee Hooker on his breakthrough album, The Healer. Within weeks, Nick of Time shot to number one (it is now certified quintuple platinum). Luck of the Draw (1991, seven-times platinum) brought even more success, firing two hit singles— "Something to Talk About" and "I Can't Make You Love Me" —up the charts, and adding three more Grammys to her shelf. The double-platinum Longing in Their Hearts, released in 1994, featured the hit single "Love Sneakin' Up On You" and was honored with a Grammy for Best Pop Album. It was followed in 1995 by the live double CD and film Road Tested (now available on DVD).
In March of 2000, Bonnie was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; this was followed by her welcome into the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame, along with her father, in June 2001. Over the years, Bonnie has appeared as a guest on over 100 album projects, as chronicled in the discography section of her official website. She continues to stretch the boundaries, performing with artists as varied as Cape Verdean singer Cesaria Evora, and legends B.B.King, Tony Bennett, and Willie Nelson.
In 2003, she also participated in Martin Scorsese's acclaimed PBS series, The Blues, performing two songs in Wim Wenders' film, The Soul of a Man, and joining the all-star cast of Lightning in a Bottle, the live feature concert film on the Blues directed by Antoine Fuqua. She also contributed songs for two Disney movies, The Country Bears and Home on the Range. She played guitar on a track on Stevie Wonder's album, A Time To Love, and appeared in the TV/DVD tribute, Music l0l: Al Green.
Bonnie continues to use her influence to affect the way music is perceived and appreciated in the world. In 1988, she co-founded the Rhythm and Blues Foundation, which works to improve royalties, financial conditions, and recognition for a whole generation of R&B pioneers to whom she feels we owe so much. In 1995, she initiated the Bonnie Raitt Guitar Project with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, currently running in 200 clubs around the world, to encourage underprivileged youth to play music as budgets for music instruction in the schools run dry. Bonnie currently sits on the Advisory or Honorary Boards of a number of organizations, including Little Kids Rock, Rainforest Action Network, Music Maker Relief Foundation and the Arhoolie Foundation.
In the summer of 2009, Bonnie Raitt and Taj Mahal—two leading lights of modern blues—joined forces for their first-ever tour together. The "BonTaj Roulet" tour featured Bonnie and Taj on stage alone and together, before closing each night with a collaborative, blow-out Rhythm and Blues revue-style performance. In addition to the glorious sounds made from the stage, the BonTaj Tour also raised over $200,000 for charity. In an act of democracy dubbed the BonTaj Collective Action Fund, concertgoers voted amongst four cause areas and net proceeds were distributed in proportion to overall votes tallied.
Now, Raitt is re-energized and excited to strap her guitar back on and get to work. After spending her career split between Warner Bros and Capitol Records, she is venturing out on her own with a label called Redwing Records. (Slipstream will be distributed by RED in North America and Proper Records for Ex North America.)
The album's title is very significant for Bonnie —Slipstream isn't just a beautiful sounding word, but an indication of her place in the music community. "I'm in the slipstream of all these styles of music," she says. "I'm so inspired and so proud to continue these traditions, whether it's reggae or soul or blues. I'm in the slipstream of those who came before me, and I'm leaving one for those behind me. I'm holding up the traditions of the music that I love."
Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter Marc Cohn has been obsessed with pop music for as long as he can remember: "I was hooked from day one. My older brother had a band that rehearsed in our basement, so I heard Bacharach, The Beatles, Ray Charles, and Motown coming up through the floorboards from the time I was six years old. By the time I was eleven though, the Beatles were breaking up and singer-songwriters were breaking through, and a lot of that music really resonated for me"
1970 was a milestone for Marc – and for pop culture at large, given the unprecedented range of notable artists who made the charts that year. It was the momentous beginning of a new decade, and Cohn himself was moving closer to the precipice of young adulthood. The songs of that eventful year would stick with him forever, the way they would with anyone of a tender age just discovering the deeper meanings and life lessons – the romance, the sex, the sadness, the fun -- to be gleaned from a seemingly simple pop tune.
Collaborating with longtime producer-arranger-multi-instrumentalist and fellow Grammy Award winner John Leventhal, Cohn doesn't merely recreate the sounds of this storied time. On Listening Booth:1970, he transforms songs from such artists as Cat Stevens, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Van Morrison, Smokey Robinson, Creedence Clearwater Revival and even Bread into tracks that are warm, soulful, more than a little sexy and full of easy-going charm. These highly personal interpretations say as much about Cohn's own history – his experiences, his memories, his inspirations – as about the legacy of these songs. They've been so creatively and confidently re-imagined, and sung with such feeling, they practically feel brand new.
As a songwriter and singer, Cohn combines the precision of a brilliant tunesmith with the passion of a great soul man. He's a natural storyteller, balancing the exuberant with the poignant, and able to distill universal truth out of his often romantic, drawn-from-life tales. He similarly finds the emotional essence in the vintage songs he's just recorded, even as he brilliantly reshapes his source material. Cohn's own career took off at the turn of another decade, in 1990, with the recording of his critically acclaimed, self-titled debut disc, which yielded such classics in their own right as "Walking In Memphis," "Silver Thunderbird," and the lovely "True Companion." For Cohn, 1970 - -which saw the release of Moondance, Bridge Over Troubled Water, and John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band to name but a few -- "was still the golden age of the single, but was also the beginning of the golden age of the Album. Even while all these deeply personal and poetic records were being released, there was this eclectic mix of pop music on the radio; it was great to be able to explore that range on this record. Just as a consumer and a total music fan, if I saw a sequence on a record that had songs by Paul Simon, Badfinger, John Lennon, Cat Stevens, The Grateful Dead and Bread, I would immediately be intrigued, and I'd probably buy it just to find out how badly the artist had lost the plot! But somehow all those disparate styles and approaches to songwriting seem like they belong together."
Says Leventhal, "Marc's voice is the unifier. There's a depth and a soulfulness that I don't think people are aware of, and I really wanted to bring that out. That Creedence song, ' Long As I Can See the Light,' is a good example. That track is as empty as can be and Marc just fills it with this unbelievably great singing."
Instead of working out a firm set list or precise arrangements before they began to cut tracks, the pair went straight into Leventhal's Manhattan studio to see what they could do with some of their favorite tunes, and they left the tape rolling. At first it was just the two of them, accompanied by the engineer/producer Rick DePofi; farther along, they invited in such guests as Aimee Mann, India Arie, Jim Lauderdale and up-and-coming vocal powerhouse Kristina Train. It was a process of discovery for the pair; Cohn and Leventhal recorded as they went along, often finding they'd have just about completed a song, with a finished vocal, after only a single day's work.
At first, they considered digging up more obscure material, but Leventhal counseled Cohn to go with what he knew best: "I told him, you love great pop music, let's just put it out there. They're great songs, there's a reason they were popular; let's see if we can find our own unique versions of them. Let's not copy them, let's see if we can make it so that people feel they are hearing these songs for the first time. That's a great challenge, and I like to think that we did it. I think Marc and I are a good combo because we both gravitate towards the same things and we understand good, fresh ways to approach material. Neither one of us were interested in doing anything verbatim."
Hence, Bread's sweetly chaste " Make It With You," performed as a duet with India. Arie, becomes a playfully sexy, Al Green/Willie Mitchell-style R&B groove with a gospel like call-and-response coda; as with the Rev. Al's work, there's no mistaking what the declaration of the song title means. Paul Simon's ode to his fractured friendship with Art Garfunkel, "The Only Living Boy In New York," is recast as a strikingly solitary folk song with a heartbreaking, intimate vocal. Badfinger's "No Matter What," featuring Aimee Mann, has yearning pedal steel rather than gleaming power-pop electric guitar. Cat Stevens' "Wild World" is a bluesy shuffle, with Stevie Wonder-style harmonica -- a cautionary tale narrated from a gritty, grownup point of view. The Box Top's "The Letter" ( sung by the late Alex Chilton and covered in 1970 by Joe Cocker), has a similarly loose-limbed after-hours vibe; Cohn's yearning to get back to his baby, but from the sound of it he may never leave the bar.
Says Leventhal, "The real epiphany was when we grabbed 'Wild World' and 'The Letter.' They had a kind of slinkiness to them, a late night feel. Once we embraced the more relaxed approach, everything felt right to us."
"I'm singing in a different place in my voice on this record" says Cohn. "It was ultimately extremely liberating to just be the singer, not the songwriter, and to try to find the most interesting, unforced way to approach what we already knew were such beautifully written songs.
"To be honest" Cohn explains, "I don't even view this as a 'covers' record in the traditional sense. Records like 'Nick of Time' by Bonnie Raitt, or 'Raising Sand' by Alison Krauss and Robert Plant were more the templates for me in the way these songs were arranged and performed. What those records taught me was that just because the singer didn't write the songs, the record itself didn't need to be any less of an original statement."
In fact, Listening Booth:1970 represents a continuation of a creative resurgence for Cohn, ultimately brought on by one of the strangest and scariest events of his life. In 2005, while driving back to his hotel with his band and tour manager after a show in Denver, Cohn was shot in the head by a would - be carjacker. Although the bullet had to be removed from his left temple, it miraculously missed penetrating his skull by a centimeter, causing no physical damage and allowing him to be released from the hospital the next day. After working through a bout with post-traumatic stress syndrome, Cohn has been busier than ever. Ending a nearly ten-year absence from the studio, he released one of his most critically acclaimed records, Join The Parade, in 2007 and followed it with well over 150 shows across the country. "I had always had my priorities straight when it came to my family. For me, it never felt right bringing children into the world and then spending all your time in a studio or a tour bus. But that night in Denver somehow brought me a new appreciation for my work and my audience."
Now, Listening Booth:1970 ultimately brings Cohn back to where he began-- writing songs like 'Walking In Memphis' which spoke so eloquently about the transformative, healing power of music. Like that hit single, Listening Booth: 1970 is really the soundtrack to his life. As Cohn reflects, "It seemed like such a natural progression for me to do a record like this because, if you've been following my records from my first single, I have been paying tribute to musicians through my writing all along, from Al Green to Elvis to Levon Helm to Charlie Christian, It's really been a touchstone for me. Now I'm just repaying a debt of gratitude to the artists who've changed my life and taught me how to do what I do."
$105.50 / $80.50 / $50.50