Bonnie Raitt: One Life To Live

The changes aren’t drastic on her new album Dig In Deep, but they reveal how she's taking charge of her music.

BonnieRaitt_Beige_jacketFULL_HORIZ_Credit_Marina_Chavez (1) Photos by Marina Chavez

“I Knew,” the third song from Bonnie Raitt’s new album, Dig In Deep, begins with her longtime band punching out a funky groove, but the singer's slide guitar hovers uncertainly, as if pondering its next move. The red-headed singer’s huge soprano also seems undecided, unsure whether she can keep going in the face of so much loss. “Time ain’t never healed the wound,” she sings with a world-weary sigh, “can’t think of anything that gets any better ‘cause it's old.”

Time looms large in this new project, not just in the lyrics to the songs but also in the challenge of an artist staking out some new territory that won’t repeat what she’s already done. By the time you turn 66, as Bonnie Raitt did in November, you can’t ignore the past; you have to wrestle with it. “I would have run,” she sings on the chorus of “I Knew,” “but I couldn’t run; I would have lied, but I couldn’t lie, ‘cause I knew.”

She knew that if she wanted to release a 17th studio album, she would have to write and/or find a dozen songs that said something she hadn’t said on the 16 previous projects. She knew that if she wanted to escape the curse of the aging-pop-legend-turned-oldies-act, she had to have songs that could hold their own in her live set. And she felt she had more to communicate. “How cruel is it,” she sings on another song from the new... Sign In to Keep Reading

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