Bonnie Raitt • Dig In Deep • Redwing • Release Date: 2.26.16
Could the timing be any better for veteran musician Bonnie Raitt? She recently “killed it” at the 58th Annual Grammy Wards with her mean electric slide guitar and vocal skills during a tribute to the late, great B.B. King that also featured standouts Chris Stapleton and Gary Clark, Jr. Yep, it’s undeniable that Raitt is coming off of a high but regardless, she’s always been a special, versatile musician. Her latest album Dig In Deep, a mix of originals and covers, shows exactly why Raitt is nothing short of the “cat’s meow” – the crème de la crème!
Original “Unintended Consequence Of Love” kicks off Dig In Deep funky (composed by Raitt and Jon Cleary). Raitt’s pipes remain as soulful as ever – age has done ripened her instrument as opposed to weathering or weakening it. The production is tasteful here, with everything feeling like it fits in its rightful place. Could there be any better way to initiate Dig In Deep?
“Need You Tonight” finds Raitt covering INXS’ “Need You To Tonight,” a no. 1 Billboard Hot 100 single for the band back in 1988. While the song maintains its rock qualities, Raitt and band certainly make it conform to their sound and sensibilities – funky, bluesy, and soulful in vibe. “I Knew” follows, with Raitt and company not missing a beat – they remain consistent without objection. Continuing on the covers route, this time, it is Pat McLaughlin who’s the source of material, with “I Knew” hailing from his 2006 LP Horsefly.
“All Alone With Something To Say” (composed by Gordon Kennedy and Steven Dale Jones) slackens the pace, but still maintains a distinct groove propelling the song forward and maintaining the momentum of the three previous songs. This is ultimately a nice change of pace, offering the softer and smoother side of Raitt. Things don’t remain slow for long though as Raitt’s original “What You’re Doin’ To Me” returns to the funky, bluesy fare of which listeners are accustomed to from the versatile musician.
“Shakin’ Shakin’ Shakes” (a Los Lobos cover from their 1987 album By The Light Of The Moon) switches from funky blues to country/folk-tinged Rock with a rollicking pace and emphatic Raitt. The pace once more slackens for radiant, emotional country ballad “Undone,” written by up and coming country singer/songwriter Bonnie Bishop. While “Undone” is the antithesis of “Shakin’ Shakin’Shakes,” it’s a brilliant contrast that Raitt nails – who’d expect any less.
Another Raitt original comes next with “If You Need Somebody,” with guitarist George Marinelli composing the music and Raitt handling the lyrics. What stands out on this mid-tempo number is not only Raitt’s assertive, gritty pipes, but also the harmonic progression with its distinct twists and turns. So much of contemporary music lacks adventuresome chords and relies on a tried and true script, but “If You Need Somebody” features enough quirks to keep things fresh.
“Gypsy In Me,” written by Gordon Kennedy and Wayne Kirkpatrick, continues to place Dig In Deep on the consistent, there are no misses to be found track. Keeping the speed moderately-paced, Raitt bests a respectable “If You Need Somebody” which was no slouch in itself! Maybe it’s the mean sounding guitars or the “hit you in the soul” B3 organ. “The Comin’ Round Is Going Through” provides another original, keeping on pace with Raitt interpreting others works and adding some of her own, this one another collaboration with guitarist George Marinelli. This cut has the feistiness and attitude of a burning country song and blues-rock fused into one.
Penultimate record “You’ve Changed Me” comes by way of Grammy-winning Americana singer/songwriter and producer Joseph Lee Henry. Chilling and incredibly emotional, the tenderness which Raitt executes with here is stunning. Controlled yet electrifying, “You’ve Changed Me” is nothing short of radiant. The use of upright bass doesn’t hurt – particularly during the bowed portions. “The Ones We Couldn’t Be” concludes Dig In Deep fittingly in the hands of Raitt, who covers all songwriting duties appropriately. While typically ballad following ballad isn’t always a winning formula, it is in the case of Bonnie Raitt.
All in all, Dig In Deep is yet another terrific and consistent album from Bonnie Raitt who honestly can’t seem to have an off album as of late. Raitt is one of the best musicians who is a consummate professional and upstanding in every way. There are no misses whatsoever here, with covers and originals alike being exceptional.
Favorites: “Unintended Consequence Of Love,” “What You’re Doin’ To Me,” “Gypsy In Me,” “You’ve Changed My Mind”