Review: Bonnie Raitt's album mines rockers, ballads, blues

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Posted: Feb 25, 2016 1:28 PM
Review: Bonnie Raitt's album mines rockers, ballads, blues

Bonnie Raitt, "Dig In Deep" (Redwing Records)

Four years after her Grammy-winning "Slipstream," Bonnie Raitt lights up with passionate vocals, appetizing tunes and adventurous cover songs on "Dip In Deep," her 17th studio album.

Raitt had a hand in composing five of the 12 tracks and they are some of the best, including the funky opener "Unintended Consequence of Love" and the piano-driven closing ballad "The Ones We Couldn't Be."

Raitt has molded songs from everyone from Del Shannon to Gerry Rafferty on previous records, and here she takes "Need You Tonight" by INXS to a bluesy zone crisscrossed by George Marinelli's Keith Richards-like weaving guitar. "Shakin' Shakin' Shakes" is closer to the Los Lobos original albeit with her perfectly fine slide.

Backed by her road band and handling production duties herself, Raitt sounds at her usual ease in every song. "I Knew" by Pat McLaughlin is another standout, its soaring chorus belying the helplessness of the lyrics — "I would have run, but I couldn't run, would have flown, but I couldn't fly."

Raitt's 1991 hit, "I Can't Make You Love Me," remains a career peak and "Dig In Deep" includes several similar ballads, painful confessions of what could or should have been.

Paired just ahead of "The Ones We Couldn't Be," Raitt rescues "You've Changed My Mind" from the "Slipstream" sessions, produced by its writer Joe Henry, and brews a tender nightcap of emotions and melodies.

Add the rockers, shakers and blues and "Dig In Deep" offers abundant rewards.