Review: Bonnie Raitt back in music's 'Slipstream'

ROB MERRILL
Associated Press10 April 2012
In this CD cover image released by Red Wing, the latest release by Bonnie Raitt, "Slipstream," is shown. (AP Photo/Red Wing)

Bonnie Raitt, "Slipstream" (Redwing Records)

It takes Bonnie Raitt less than a minute into her new album before she belts out these lyrics: "Now you're mystified / Standing with the rest of us / Who used to rule the world." It's a fitting open to her first studio album in more than six years and a not-so-subtle declaration that before big-voiced singers like Kelly Clarkson and Pink, there was Raitt.

"Slipstream" is infused with the blues. Raitt plays her trademark slide guitar on some of the best tracks — from that opener "Used to Rule the World" to the Dylan cover "Million Miles" and another new song, "Split Decision."

Befitting a blues album, nearly all the songs contain the word "love" and feature simple beats that have you bobbing your head and tapping your toes after just a couple listens. Quite a few of the songs were written years ago, after Raitt's last studio album, "Souls Alike."

The nine-time Grammy winner never overreaches with her voice and smartly lets the music breathe throughout. She sounds less interested in turning back the clock to her multi-platinum "Luck of the Draw" days than she does with sharing the wisdom she's gathered in a career that's lasted more than four decades.

CHECK OUT THIS TRACK: "Ain't Gonna Let You Go" builds from a Raitt guitar solo to a declaration of love in the chorus: "You're not the man that I was looking for / You're every bit of him plus a whole lot more / Now that I gotcha, it feels so good / I don't wanna let you go."