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Cultural Percussionist

Bonnie Raitt Day

Bonnie Lynn Raitt (born November 8, 1949) is an American blues singer, guitarist, songwriter, and activist.

During the 1970s, Raitt released a series of roots-influenced albums that incorporated elements of blues, rock, folk and country. In 1989, after several years of critical acclaim but little commercial success, she had a major hit with the album Nick of Time. The following two albums, Luck of the Draw(1991) and Longing in Their Hearts (1994), were also multimillion sellers, generating several hit singles, including “Something to Talk About“, “Love Sneakin’ Up on You“, and the ballad “I Can’t Make You Love Me” (with Bruce Hornsby on piano).

Raitt has received 10 Grammy Awards. She is listed as number 50 in Rolling Stones list of the “100 Greatest Singers of All Time” and number 89 on the magazine’s list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”. Australian Country Music Artist Graeme Connors has said, “Bonnie Raitt does something with a lyric no one else can do; she bends it and twists it right into your heart.”

In the summer of 1970, she played with her brother David on stand up bass with Mississippi Fred McDowell at the Philly Folk Festival as well as Opening for John Hammond at the Gaslight Cafe in New York, she was seen by a reporter from Newsweek, who began to spread the word about her performance. Scouts from major record companies were soon attending her shows to watch her play. She eventually accepted an offer from Warner Bros., who soon released her debut album, Bonnie Raitt, in 1971. The album was warmly received by the music press, with many writers praising her skills as an interpreter and as a bottleneck guitarist; at the time, few women in popular music had strong reputations as guitarists.

While admired by those who saw her perform, and respected by her peers, Raitt gained little public acclaim for her work. Her critical stature continued to grow but record sales remained modest. Her second album, Give It Up, was released in 1972 to positive reviews. Though many critics¬†still regard it as her best work, it did not change her commercial fortunes. 1973’s Takin’ My Time was also met with critical acclaim, but these notices were not matched by the sales.

Raitt began to receive greater press coverage, including a 1975 cover story for Rolling Stone, but with 1974’s Streetlights, reviews for her work were becoming increasingly mixed. By this point, Raitt was already experimenting with different producers and different styles, and she began to adopt a more mainstream sound that continued through 1975’s Home Plate. In 1976, Raitt made an appearance on Warren Zevon‘s eponymous album.

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