Bonnie Raitt: Dig in Deep – 20th Solo Album Review

Death is a profound teacher, and music a great healer…

This was the building blocks to this blog as I struggled to overcome my own personal challenges nearly 10 years ago. I’m reminded of this while listening to the upcoming release, Dig in Deep from Bonnie Raitt due on Feb 26th. Raitt went though her own dark moments, wrestling with the loss of her father, mother and brother in a short span of time. The album is Raitt’s 20th solo release, the second on her label Redwing Records, and is a look into those darker moments in life.

The journey begins with the boisterous foot stomping “Unintended Consequence of Love.” A frisky robust groove with sweltering slide guitar and awesome keys. The song co-written with New Orleans keyboardist Jon Cleary beckons you to reach for the repeat button – until you hear the album’s second track, “Need You Tonight” – On this song Raitt mixes things up with a sensual and funky rendition of the INXS hit.

One of my favourites on Dig in Deep is the album’s third track, “I Knew.” There’s something about the beat, along with Raitt’s expressive slide and lyrics that hooked me.

The first of several heartfelt ballads on the album, “All Alone With Something To Say,” is a terrifically crafted song about reflecting on what you could have said back at a particular moment in time…

Dig in Deep – Track List

bonnie-raitt-dig-in-deep-album- cover1. Unintended Consequence Of Love
2. Need You Tonight
3. I Knew
4. All Alone With Something To Say
5. What You’re Doin’ To Me
6. Shakin’ Shakin’ Shakes
7. Undone
8. If You Need Somebody
9. Gypsy In Me
10. The Comin’ Round Is Going Through
11. You’ve Changed My Mind
12. The Ones We Couldn’t Be

There’s a lot of talk about this being one of the best Bonnie Raitt albums in a while, and with brawny shuffle’s like, “What You’re Doin’ To Me,”  it’s hard to deny. Raitt’s pulsating version of the Los Lobo’s song “Shakin Shakin Shakes,” will have you grooving on the spot, and is sure to be a fan favourite on her upcoming live tour. Things slow down a bit with the cover “Undone,” by Texas songwriter Bonnie Bishop, who also wrote “Not Cause I Wanted To,” on Raitt’s previous album Slipstream in 2012.

Talking about grooves, “If You Need Somebody,” with Raitt’s tasty vocal phrasing is certainly a highlight. “Gypsy in Me” is a catchy blues rock number, with a great driving rhythm. I saved this one on my playlist for my next workout at the gym… “The Comin’ Round Is Going Through,”  a politically burly tune where Raitt mentions in a previous statement is her, “frustration and anger about the hijacking of democracy by big money.”

Bonnie Raitt  – 2016 Tour Dates:

March 12 – Albany, NY – Palace
March 13 – Rochester NY – Eastman Theatre
March 15 – Toronto, ON – Sony Centre
March 16 – Detroit, MI – Opera House
March 18 – St Louis, MO – Peabody Opera House
March 19 – Louisville, KY – Palace
March 22 – Chicago, IL – Chicago Theatre
March 23 – Pittsburgh, PA – Heinz Hall
March 25 – Philadelphia, PA – Verizon Hall
March 26 – Washington DC – Kennedy Center
March 29 – Boston, MA – Orpheum Theatre
April 1 – New York, NY – Beacon Theatre
April 2 – New York, NY – Beacon Theatre
April 17 – Portland, OR – Keller Auditorium
April 20 – Seattle, WA – Paramount Theatre
April 22 – Reno, NV – Grand Sierra Resort
April 23 – Oakland, CA – Fox Theater
April 26 – Dallas TX – Winspear Opera House
April 27 – Austin TX – Moody Theater
April 29 – Houston TX – Bayou Theater (Revention Music Center)
May 3 – Nashville, TN – Ryman Auditorium
May 4 – Nashville, TN – Ryman Auditorium

The album closes with two deeply personal ballads, “You’ve Changed My Mind,” and “The Ones We Couldn’t Be,” a final reflection on loss, relationships and regret.

This latest release from Bonnie Raitt is truly a special album. Every song on this masterpiece gleams with musical finesse. Raitt manages to Dig in Deep with songs of anguish, remorse and love lost with catchy heartfelt retrospect. And in the end, comes through with one of her best album’s in the past 20 years – Her band consists of George Marinelli on electric guitar, keyboardist Mike Finnigan, drummer Ricky Fataar and bassist James “Hutch” Hutchinson. The musicianship on this album is remarkable.

It doesn’t happen often enough, but sometimes an album comes along that strikes a chord in each and every one of us. It’s becomes nourishment for the soul and a healer for the tougher moments we go through. This is the best album I’ve heard this year, and it just may be for a long time to come.

Are you a Bonnie Raitt fan? Do you have any moments captured in time where her songs play like a soundtrack in your life? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment box below.

The Blues Blogger

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Jeff Bilby
Jeff Bilby
8 years ago

Very well said review, at one point we all have to come to terms with loss and this superb collection of American “roots” music. The singing and musicianship is exceptional in that it’s not slick but almost a live right in the studio feel. There seems to be so much joy through all the regrets and loss, hope and renewal and that helps heal so many of us that have gone through this in our lives. DIG IN DEEP is remarkable in its candor on subjects that aren’t always easy to spell out. This music is full of Funk, Soulful R & B, blues-rock to straight ahead rock, gorgeous ballads. Two striking covers, INXS’s “Need you tonight”(sensual vocals and steamy slide guitar work their magic along with George Marinelli’s swirling guitar work and Los Lobos”s “Shakin Shakin’ Shakes” is a great rock almost rockabilly workout dueling guitars again a highlight to this awesome romp. I love the tune “All alone with something to say”, this needs to be on radio, its a beautiful song and Bonnie just feels this groove. “What you’re doin’ to me” is pure fun with the great Jon Cleary joining in as he does with the opening funk rock gem “Unintended consequence of love”, co-written with Bonnie, they work so well together. Yeah, I do feel some of that Little Feat love making its way through Dig in Deep. “Undone”, the Bonnie Bishop penned lyrics that Bonnie Raitt chose to sing is a perfect Raitt vehicle in the “I can’t make you love” sentiment, such a heartbreaking song and will melt you down, the phrasing and anguish combine to just give you the chills. I’m also loving the new political rocker “The comin’ round is going through”, right from the opening line “You got a way of running your mouth, you rant and rave, you let it all out”, I know Bonnie is pissed off and rightly so. Another highlight among so many highlights and then we hit the closing ballads, both again exceptional songs and words that hit so hard when it comes to dealing with life, loss, regrets, things we could have changed but really couldn’t in the long run, looking right at yourself in the mirror and owning up but moving on and making yourself better somehow. Bonnie Raitt has been doing this for so long, its so easy to say, oh they all sound alike, so doesn’t Keith Richard’s guitar, but its all in the way you pick out these great songs and somehow find new ways to say things that set Bonnie Raitt apart(not to mention that slide guitar she plays, man!) All the things you like about Raitt are magnified on DIG IN DEEP, the vocals stand right out in the mix , solo’s put in there when they need to be, this is one of the best of the year for sure, I’m hoping radio stations across the country support Bonnie’s music, music has changed so much. DIG IN DEEP is a rare thing and needs to be listened to on repeat to take it all its shine…