The list of amazing woman bottleneck slide guitarists is a short one. Factor in a great R&B-style singing voice, flaming red hair, and a father who'd made a major mark on both Broadway and Hollywood, and the list whittles down to just one name: Bonnie Raitt.
Raitt appears in concert Friday, Oct. 16 in the Johnny Mercer Theatre. This is the makeup show for the date Raitt had to miss (due to a family emergency) last spring. Then, as now, the performance is sponsored by the Savannah Music Festival.
Psst: Her dad was the late singing star John Raitt, of Carousel and Pajama Game fame.
The recipient of nine Grammy Awards, Raitt began her career in the early 1970s, with a string of critically-acclaimed albums that drew heavily on her blues influences - artists such as Sippie Wallace, Howlin' Wolf, John Lee Hooker and Mississippi Fred McDowell - paired with the technically advanced recording techniques popular in Southern California at the time (Raitt was born and raised in Burbank).
It was a good match, but the critics and the record-buying public had decidedly different opinions. Raitt's commercial breakthrough didn't arrive until 1989's Nick of Time album, her 10th, recorded for a new label and released after she'd all but disappeared from the public eye.
Nick of Time, Luck of the Draw and Longing in Their Hearts were monstrously successful, re-energizing interest in Raitt and kick-starting her career well into the present day.
Her best-known songs include the swinging rocker "Something to Talk About" (yes, the title tune to the 1995 movie filmed partly in Savannah), the heartbreaking ballad "I Can't Make You Love Me" and John Prine's deeply-felt love anthem "Angel From Montgomery."
Raitt, who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000, is also a well-known activist for political and environmental causes; she was one of the founders of the No Nukes project MUSE in the 1970s, and participated in the Vote For Change Tour earlier this decade.
Georgian singer/songwriter Randall Bramblett, one of Raitt's frequent touring partners, opens the concert. Listen & learn: www.bonnieraitt.com. At 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 16 in the Johnny Mercer Theatre (Savannah Civic Center), 301 W. Oglethorpe Ave. Tickets are $45 and $35 at www.savannahmusicfestival.com, or by calling (912) 525-5050.
TWO MAN GENTLEMEN BAND
Vaudeville is indeed alive, and to prove it here come Andy Bean and Fuller Condon, a pair of young doo-wacka-doo musicians who write upbeat, funny songs and perform them on banjo and standup bass. These two New Yorkers, ex-rock ‘n' rollers who worked up the Two-Man Gentlemen act whilst earning a (modest) living busking on Big Apple streetcorners, tell cringe-worthy jokes, involve the audience in their hysteria and sing things called "Sloppy Drunk," "The Rabbit Foot Stomp" and "Croquet Playing Girl," all the while keep the energy level up and the pace frenetic. Listen & learn: www.thetwogentlemen.com. At 8 p.m. Thursday at the Sentient Bean, 13 E. Park Ave. $7.
THE REV. PEYTON'S BIG DAMN BAND
Ain't nothing big about this South Indiana blues band, unless you're looking at the collective girth of the Rev. Peyton (who is, indeed, an ordained minister) and his wife, Breezy. It's a trio, with Peyton on fierce slide guitar, his younger brother Jayme on drums - and Breezy, who, with thimbles on fingers, furiously strokes a wooden washboard with cymbals hanging from its bottom. This is good old-fashioned, down ‘n' dirty country blues, a little Mississippi, a little Memphis, a whole lot of energy and much more hot ferocity than you'd expect. If the White Stripes played only acoustic shows, and had a washboard player, they'd be the Rev. Peyton's Big Damn Band. Listen & learn: www.bigdamnband.com. At 9 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 15 at Live Wire Music Hall, 307 W. River St. $8.
The composer of "Mamas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys" has had a long and stored career, and is revered among the great Nashville songwriters. Bruce's credits include "The Man That Turned My Mama On" and "Texas When I Die" (for Tanya Tucker), "Restless" (for Crystal Gayle), and several hits under his own name, including the chart-topping "You're the Best Break This Old Heart Ever Had." He's an actor, too, who co-starred in the 1980s series Bret Maverick with James Garner. Listen & learn: www.edbrucemusic.com. At 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 17 at Randy Wood Guitars, 1304 E. Highway 80, Bloomingdale. $25.
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