Four decades after dropping out of Radcliffe College to pursue her dreams of rock and roll, Bonnie Raitt has evolved into the world’s best living blueswoman — a premier slide-guitarist, revered songwriter, and platinum recording artist many times over. Her 20th outing, which boasts her largest collection of original material since 1998’s funky Fundamental, is a frisky reminder of how she got here.
Recorded with her longtime touring band, the 12-track collection captures the road warriors’ propulsive live energy. There’s no doubt that Raitt is one of the genre’s best interpreters and you can hear that all over this album, particularly on her sensuous cover of INXS’ classic “Need You Tonight” and Los Lobos’ “Shakin’ Shakin’ Shakes.”
But the album’s best moments aren’t when Raitt & Co. get lost in a nasty groove. Deep also features some of the most personal songs Raitt has ever recorded: the minimalist electric tune “All Alone With Something to Say” and the delicate piano ballad “The Ones We Couldn’t Be” were partly inspired by the losses of her father (Broadway star John Raitt), mother, and brother in recent years. And it’s on those tunes where Raitt’s signature rasp and world-weary perspective cut deepest.