Bonnie Raitt, one of music’s most beloved artists, returns to Portland on Saturday for a concert at the Arlene Schnitizer Concert Hall. The show caps off the first week of the fall leg of her continuing national tour in support of the Grammy-winning 2012 release “Slipstream.”
“Slipstream” is Raitt’s first release since her 2005 “Souls Alike” release and the current tour is her first since a 2009 run with blues great Taj Mahal.
The period since 2009 has been a tough one for the singer. Within a short time span, Raitt’s parents and best friend passed, prompting her to take a step back to reflect, recharge and consider what may be next in her illustrious career.
I took a hiatus from touring and recording to get back in touch with the other part of my life. On the road, under stress, it’s hard to stay in balance and move forward.
Her return has been phenomenal. “Slipstream” has sold more than 250,000 copies, showing that demand for her work remains strong. In fact, it is now fashionable for other artists to cover Raitt’s work, with Adele and Bon Iver being among the latest contemporary acts to pay tribute to her.
“Slipstream” has received nothing less than stellar reviews, with many calling it Raitt’s best work yet. The album is a collection of 12 covers where she pays homage to some of music’s pioneers, including Bob Dylan, Joseph Lee Henry and Al Anderson.
The album title is no accident and is a tribute itself. “I’m in the slipstream of those who came before me, and I’m leaving one for those behind me,” says Raitt.
The album is also available now as part of a special double disc set titled “Now & Then.” In addition to including the entire “Slipstream” album, the set includes a collection of 16 Raitt classics, which was briefly available by itself at Starbucks in 2011.
In addition to Raitt’s music, the one constant in her life has been her activism and support for a variety of causes. She helped organize NukeFree.org in 2007 and has been constantly involved with her favorite non-profit organizations.
During what limited free time she has, Raitt also can be found traveling to various festivals, checking out the music and connecting with old friends. I have run across her several times backstage at the annual New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and am always amazed at how many people she knows and her very genuine warmth and caring.
The 2000 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee comes to Portland Saturday, Oct. 12, for an 8 p.m. performance. At the time of this writing, only single tickets are available through the ticket portal at Portland’s Center for the Arts.