Bonnie Raitt- Slipstream

6/26/2012

It has been seven years since her last studio album, but Bonnie Raitt hardly needs to reintroduce herself. On Slipstream, her distinctive honey-and-whiskey voice sneaks up on you like an old friend — warm, knowing, unpretentious. At 62, she sounds as sexy and self-assured as ever, but her singing, as always, serves the message and the groove above all else.

The same could be said for Raitt's supple slide-guitar work, which is in abundance from the opening track, a witty, funky reading of Randall Bramblett's Used to Rule the World. There are other winning covers, from a reggae-laced version of Gerry Rafferty's Right Down the Line to a couple of Bob Dylan tunes, Million Miles and Standing in the Doorway, respectively, served as burning blues and a haunted, atmospheric ballad.

Several songs combine a buoyant spirit with rueful edges. Marriage Made in Hollywood features a bittersweet Paul Brady melody and wry lyrics by Michael O’Keefe, Raitt's ex-husband. The bawdier, more muscular Split Decision turns a romantic tussle into a bruising barroom brawl.

Slipstream concludes with God Only Knows a lovely, disenchanted ballad by Joe Henry, who produced four tracks on the album. "I'll try to be your light in love/And I'll pray that is enough for now," Raitt sings. Clearly, time has stolen none of her radiance.

Courtesy of USAToday