How did you know you were ready to go
back into the studio?
After a year at home, little sprouts poked their
head up. I was listening to songs when I called
Joe about working together. This was months
earlier than I was expecting to go back in the
studio, but those sessions were so exciting that
it really jumpstarted the record for me.
when I have to do a song. I’ve already said a
lot of stuff in previous records, and you don’t
want to repeat yourself musically or lyrically.
I don’t plot it—I don’t conceptualize it—I
just let the music speak to me, and when I
have a enough songs that I think are going
to go well together, then I go into the studio.
metal [laughs], but other than that I don’t
have any limitations on the kind of music it
can be. I mean I like listening to that stuff,
but it doesn’t mean I’m going to do it. There
are definitely veins of styles that I stay in. I
just let that mysterious process wash over me
than rather than try to analyze it.
So you got the itch?
At a certain point, you just want to go back
and do the other thing—you don’t want to
do anything too much. I don’t know if you
have members of your family or have known
people whose mom or dad retire or got laid
off after many years of going to the job, and
they don’t know what to do with themselves.
It’s not the music part I was tired of—it’s the
promotion, clothes, sets, tours, interviews,
marketing, and monitoring the distribution.
All the business of being in this business is
what gets wearing, not the music. But without all that, you can’t go on tour.
How did you go about determining
which songs to put on this album?
It’s pretty much the same as it’s been since
my first album: I listen to a lot of different
song ideas that I’ve written, and the ones I
like I put in this pile. Ninety-nine percent
of the stuff I listen to isn’t right, but I know
What makes a song one you have to do?
It’s hard to put into words. It just has to
speak to me personally. I mean, I’m probably
not going to cut polkas or disco or speed
What are your favorite slide tunings?
I play in open A [E–A–E–A–C#–E, low
to high], or I go down to G [D–G–D–G–
B–D, low to high], which is the same but
I DON’T PLOT IT—I DON’T CONCEPTUALIZE IT—
I JUST LET THE MUSIC SPEAK TO ME,
AND WHEN I HAVE A ENOUGH SONGS THAT
I THINK ARE GOING TO GO WELL TOGETHER,
THEN I GO INTO THE STUDIO.
Get a glimpse of Raitt’s mesmerizing, blues-infused picking power
in these videos ranging from 1976 to 2005.
John Lee Hooker and his protégé work up such a sweat that Raitt says, “Somebody
better get this man a towel” during this performance for Hooker’s John Lee Hooker &
Friends 1984-92 DVD.
You Tube search term: John Lee Hooker and Bonnie Raitt play “I’m in the Mood”
A young, charismatic Raitt wields the double-threat of a velvety voice and a thick-sounding ES- 175 with uncanny soulfulness.
Raitt calls fellow blues crusader Keb’ Mo’ “funky as hell” as they trade flirty, smokin’
licks at the Trump Taj Mahal Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, in 2005.
You Tube search term: Bonnie Raitt, Keb’ Mo’ - No Gettin’ Over You