Bonnie Raitt – Just Like That… (Redwing)

Bonnie Raitt releases her 21st album and Just Like That…we are back to that warm, happy place where blues, folk and rock come together to make something magical.

It’s hard to believe, but it’s been 50 years since young Bonnie released her debut album. Back then, fans and critics alike warmed to her seemingly effortless approach to the blues…her voice, her songs, her good taste and especially her slide guitar playing quickly became the foundation to a career that shows no sign of letting up.

Recently Bonnie got some good exposure when she accompanied a frail Joni Mitchell to the podium during the recent Grammy Awards.

Now, just a few weeks later, we are gifted with Bonnie’s first new album in about six years.

Just Like That…was recorded during the pandemic with a core of ace musicians including long-time ally James “Hutch” Hutchinson on bass, drummer Ricky Fataar, keyboard player Glenn Patscha and Kenny Greenberg on electric guitar.

Recorded in Northern California, the 10 tracks that make up Just Like That all have that warm, live-in-the studio sound that only comes when the right musicians are together in the right studio playing the right songs.

Speaking of the songs, 4 are Raitt originals while the rest are chestnuts written by the likes of Al Anderson, Toots Hibbert and John Capek.

At age 72, Bonnie sounds as good as ever. Her playing is superb and her vocals…always underrated…have an added depth that only age can provide.

The album kicks off with her signature slide guitar sound and the band sounds tight and funky as ade Up Mind gathers steam over its 3 minutes and 41 seconds.

Al Anderson’s Something’s Got A Hold Of My Heart get a mellow, almost jazzy treatment with Glenn Patscha’s organ laying down the groove until Bonnie’s guitar takes over at the end.

Among the originals, Livin’ For The Ones…co-written with guitarist George Marinelli, who sits in…is a COVID-inspired rocker about “the ones that didn’t make it”.

It is followed by another Raitt composition, Just Like That, a beautiful song inspired by a heart-breaking organ donation story. You’ll be wiping away the tears during this one.

One a more upbeat note, When We Say Goodnight is slinky and sexy while Waitin’ For You to Blow, another Raitt original, really cooks. Ricky Fataar’s drum pattern is mighty groovy.

New Orleans piano man Jon Cleary stops by to add his unique sound to a funky Here Comes Love, but not before Bonnie has her way with Toots & The Maytalls’ Love So Strong.

The record…and this very much feels like a 2-sided LP…closes with Down The Hall another poignant Bonnie tune with Raitt on acoustic guitar and Patscha on the Hammond B3. The song was inspired by a New York Times Magazine article about a prison hospice.

So, you can see (and hear) this is a mature album, full of mature themes played my mature musicians. There’s something to be said for getting older, and Bonnie says it all right here.

Marty Duda

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