Release Date: Feb 26, 2016
Record label: Redwing Music
What do you do if you’ve already got 19 albums to your name, won multiple Grammys, been inducted into the Rock’n’Roll Hall Of Fame and just completed your best tour in years? If you’re Bonnie Raitt you get right back in the studio and make the 20th album. Dig In Deep covers all the bases that Bonnie has made her own – blues, R&B, funk and laidback rock. The spirit of Little Feat is evident in several of the songs here, Bonnie channeling Lowell George by way of her own distinct sensibility.
Bonnie Raitt has always been a pilot light, powering hard love, broken love, lost love and yes, unrequited love. In the valley of the unfulfilled and yearning, her voice has warmed that want into something that infused with the blues with a whole lot of blazing red. It is that red which defines Dig In Deep, the grooves, shuffles and guitar lines all buck and thrust with the promise—or need—for meaningful copulation.
Listening through Dig in Deep, Bonnie Raitt's 20th album, the entire arc of her career becomes clear. In the early '70s she insisted on recording live in the studio with her road band. Later, various producers -- from Jerry Ragovoy to Peter Asher, from Don Was to T-Bone Burnett -- assisted in shaping her sound, often with great commercial success: she's sold nearly 20 million records.
Forty-five years into an illustrious career, Bonnie Raitt's place in music history is well assured. The young hotshot guitarist who idolized — and occasionally opened for — blues icons such as Sippie Wallace, Ruth Brown and Mississippi Fred McDowell is now a legend in her own right and an influence on a whole new generation of musicians that ranges from Adele to Bon Iver to rising country star Cam. Raitt could easily settle into semi-retirement, living off the hits from the multi-platinum LPs that revived her career at the turn of the '90s, which is why it's such a pleasure to find her sounding as vibrant and hungry as ever on Dig in Deep, her first album since 2012's critically acclaimed Slipstream.
When I first read that Bonnie Raitt only wrote five of the songs on her latest record, Dig In Deep, I was bummed. I thought her 20th album was supposed to be a callback to her glory years, a reclaiming of her singer-songwriter roots. Then, when revisiting her past discography, I remembered that Raitt never wrote the majority of her songs, that she’s always been more of a gifted interpreter than a pure singer-songwriter, that the glory years never really went away in the first place.
Bonnie Raitt gets down to business on her new LP, Dig In Deep, churning out some seriously unfussy alt-country. All of the album's strengths are encompassed in Raitt's offbeat INXS cover "Need You Tonight." While the glossy '80s pop hit may appear to be far out of her wheelhouse, Raitt and her backing band stay surprisingly true to its sexy tone and spirit, right down to its famed jostling guitar lick. The country queen's delivery is sultrier and more matter-of-fact than that of the late Michael Hutchence, who was slicker and smoother, but she retains his confident flamboyance, both on "Tonight" and throughout much of the rest of the LP.
To some degree, you know what you’re getting with a Bonnie Raitt album, post 1989’s Grammy-winning Nick of Time. A slick studio portrait on the cover, and a solid collection of adult contemporary blues-rock with songs of love, lust and longing, including at least a couple of heart-worn breakup ballads. It’s all not too rough around the edges, yet not too smooth either.
Bonnie Raitt has long been a singer-songwriter's best friend, a deep-blues interpreter with sublime taste in composers, from Jackson Browne and Randy Newman to the Jazz Age siren Sippie Wallace. Raitt is as bold and sharp on Dig In Deep, made with her longtime road band. She takes sensual charge of INXS' "Need You Tonight" and renders Joe Henry's ballad "You've Changed My Mind" with healing authority.
When Bonnie Raitt sauntered onto the stage at the Grammy Awards earlier this month and planted herself between Gary Clark Jr. and Chris Stapleton with a “let me show you how it’s done, boys” swagger during the telecast’s sublime tribute to B.B. King, it was a potent reminder of the veteran rocker’s estimable gifts. Although the memory jog that Raitt is a badass wasn’t strictly necessary, it’s always good to get one.
Henry Yates on new releases from Bonnie Raitt, Doug Hream Blunt, Grainne Duffy, Henri Herbert and The James Hunter Six Bonnie Raitt: Dig In Deep If 2012’s Slipstream announced Bonnie Raitt’s return from a wretched hiatus – the post-millennium saw her lose both parents, a brother and a best friend in rapid succession – then Dig In Deep finds the first lady of slide-blues making up for lost time as a creative force. Five original songwriting credits is an unprecedented haul for a woman often content as an interpreter. But they’re the standouts here.
Bonnie Raitt has got chops a mile deep on slide guitar. Within a few seconds, her tone is instantly recognizable, with its bluesy bent and hint of lingering melancholy, as if she were trying to savor a note just a little bit longer before it vanishes. Memories linger in much the same way, and Raitt's 20th album, "Dig in Deep" (Redwing), works as a survey of the singer's past and a mature expression of where she is now.