Last year’s Slipstream is Bonnie Raitt’s 16th album and it won her the Grammy for ”best americana album”. Having started her career with raw delta blues much loved by critics, she later adopted a thoughtful Californian singer/songwriter style. It brought her large scale success. On Slipstream the soulful singer and slide guitar player goes, after a 7 year pause in recording, for rootsier and less polished sound on, among others, two lesser known Bob Dylan numbers.
Being the daughter of a Broadway musical star and a pianist mother, Raitt started to play early, but nobody guessed the direction that her musicality would take. Through her friendship with promoter Dick Waterman, Bonnie fell for the blues in the 60’s and got to know personally many of its giants, like Howling Wolf, Sippie Wallace and her mentor Mississippi Fred McDowell. Soon she was the first white girl playing delta blues.
Her early 70’s albums got great reviews, but didn’t sell that much. Though her cover of Runaway from Sweet Forgiveness (1977), turned into funky R&B, became a hit, Nick of Time
(1989) was the first really successful album for her. Having sorted out her alcohol and drug problems, she called it her “first sober album”. Since then, her albums have charted. Raitt was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2000.
Since the beginning of her career she has been a staunch social activist and still campaigns, among other things, against nuclear power. She has also funded headstones for several blues artists, like McDowell, Memphis Minnie and Tommy Johnson.