The Daily Tar Heel

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Monday January 30th

Raitt Finds Her Career's 'Silver Lining'



More than 30 years after releasing her first album, it seems that Bonnie Raitt still can't get enough of those down-home blues.

After a four-year hiatus, the eight-time Grammy Award winner has finally returned to the studio and recorded her newest album, Silver Lining.

With an army of writers and a star-studded band (including former Beach Boys drummer Ricky Fataar and bassist James "Hutch" Hutchinson from the Neville Brothers) in tow, Raitt and company make clear their hopes to turn Silver Lining into another best-selling album.

Despite its attempts, the Raitt camp has failed to produce a musically sound album with real selling power.

It's not for lack of any quality song writing that Silver Lining ends up falling short. Raitt churns out the lyrics and horn arrangements for "Gnawin' On It," a catchy trek back to the grass roots of rhythm and blues.

As Raitt belts the song's lyrics in the husky alto that has characterized her style, listeners are reminded of dimly lit nightclubs and crowded juke joints from back in the day.

And the jam session doesn't end there. A baritone sax loosely grooves down the chorus of the track "Monkey Business." With a series of foot-tapping riffs, the saxophone mimics Raitt's voice as she and singer and keyboardist Jon Cleary belt the bluesy lyrics, "Someone's up to monkey business/ Someone just ain't acting right/ Someone's up to monkey business/ Paying monkey wi'cho mind."

But Raitt fans might have to search for the metallic layer in the singer's title track, "Silver Lining." Annoyingly slow and lacking much of a beat, the song brings Raitt's grass roots soul-fest to an unwelcome halt.

"Help Me Lord" is an equally regrettable track. As Raitt stumbles along each verse in an unconvincing Caribbean accent, the disjointed feel of the song is further offset by a band of monotone backup singers. While the track is likely to grow on listeners over time, the growth that occurs is more comparable to a fungal manifestation than something desirable.

Raitt manages to re-throne herself with the album's final track, "Wounded Heart." A smooth ballad on the struggles of lost love, the track is reminiscent of Raitt's Grammy Award-winning song, "Can't Make You Love Me."

Inevitably though, nostalgia loses out to the bittersweet reality that Silver Lining isn't what might be expected. The album is ultimately injured by its lack of consistency, and there's no denying that Silver Lining won't go platinum anytime soon.

The Arts & Entertainment Editor can be reached at artsdesk@unc.edu.

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