Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Bonnie Raitt took to the stage in Louisville on Mother’s Day at The Kentucky Center’s Whitney Hall to celebrate the release of her nineteenth studio album, Slipstream and boldly delivered an emotionally stunning performance decked with hard-hitting new songs and old fan favorites. The hoarse-voiced Raitt happily embraced the friendly crowd, claiming the band was excited to be back in the intimate Louisville setting on such an overcast, dreary Sunday night. And it is not just any Sunday, it is Mother’s Day and to celebrate, Bonnie launced her new partnership with Major League Baseball’s Going to Bat program in support of breast cancer awareness. Mix in the fact that the new release, Slipstream, comes after a seven year hiatus due to the loss of her mother, father, brother to cancer and friend, and it completes all the needed ingredients for a most touching heartfelt, emotional musical journey.
Raitt, complete with flashy, dangly earrings and a beautifully purple lit stage sprinkled with artistically placed blinds from bottom to top, proudly kicked off the show with the funky blues opening cut, “Used To Rule The World,” which flows easily into the reggae infused “Right Down The Line,” in which she gives praise to the passing of the song’s original writer and her late friend, folk-pop songwriter Gerry Rafferty. The set included older familiar hits such as “Come To Me” and “Something to Talk About” off of her 1991 Luck of The Draw album and peaked at an emotional height when Raitt said “with the loss of Levon Helm, who left us much too soon, and the passing of my parents and brother, who also left this world much too soon, somehow John Prine made it through” to a cheering crowd as she slung on her shiny acoustic guitar and delivered an emotional soulful rendition of “Angel From Montgomery,” in which she dedicated to all mothers. The hard-hitting somber acoustic ballad “Not Cause I Needed To,” followed showing Raitt’s emotional depth as a songwriter, proving that a song can painfully reopen the wound to anyone experiencing trials and tribulations of life’s ups and downs through loss.
Raitt’s new album Slipstream, released from her newly developed label, Redwing Records, may be one of the most moving pieces of art created in her forty year career span and if a live performance can move an entire crowd to tears based off of the new material, then the artist has truly done their job. Raitt made it known that she completely understands her narrative place in the world of music as an artist, one in which she takes listeners back in time to a deeply hidden internal place full of memories. Raitt consistently delivered a beautiful, heartfelt, everlasting musical experience to her audience through this performance, one so deep, it can never be forgotten.
photo courtesy Bonnie Raitt