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CD Reviews:
The Listening Room: Bonnie Raitt, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Peter Frampton, Willie Nelson and more...

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

Posted: Friday, February 26, 2016

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Bonnie Raitt

"Dig In Deep"


Grade: A

Bonnie Raitt has mastered the art of staying honest and outspoken without seeming cantankerous. The 17th studio album of a 45-year recording career, "Dig In Deep" does nothing more, or less, than its title suggests, with Raitt musing over lost loves (throw a dart and you'll likely hit one), lost lives (the heartbreakingly intimate album closer "The Ones We Couldn't Be"), politics ("The Comin' Round is Going Through"), a life spent on the road ("Gypsy In Me") and the surprises life can throw you even in the later innings on ("You've Changed My Mind"), a stripped-down change-of-pace track featuring Rochester Adams grad Joe Henry and Bill Frisell on guitars. Most of the time, however, Raitt is breathing fire, as sharp and potent vocally as she's ever been and still wicked with her guitar slide, tearing into tracks such as "Unintended Consequence of Love," "I Knew" and hot covers of Los Lobos' "Shakin' Shakin' Shakes" and a reinvented version of INXS' (you read that right) "Need You Tonight." "Before that dust is settle/I'll kick it up and tear it down again," she sings on "Gypsy In Me," and even if those are someone else's words Raitt delivers them like they were clearly meant for her, and she clearly means every one of them.

New & Noteworthy:

Peter Frampton, "Acoustic Classics" (Phenix Phonograph): Frampton comes unplugged, quite effectively on 10 favorites and one new track. You'll never listen to "Do You Feel LIke I Do" the same way again.

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, "This Unruly Mess I've Made" (Macklemore LLC): A spirited second set of hip-hop magic from the Seattle duo, with a guest list that ranges from Kool Moe De, KRS-One and DJ Premiere to Leon Bridges and Ed Sheeran.

Willie Nelson, "Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin" (Legacy): Willie certainly knows how to sing a standard, and this has 11, including a duet with Cyndi Lauper on "Let's Call The Whole Thing Off," that'll have the Gershwins smiling in their graves.

The 1975, "I like it when you sleep..." (Vagrant/Interscope): The British modern rock troupe didn't scrimp on its sophomore outing, loading the set with 17 charged tracks.

School of Seven Bells, "SVIIB" (Vagrant/Ghostly International): The final album from the dreamy pop outfit, which Alejandra Deheza finished after bandmate Ben Curtis died from lymphoma in 2013.

Various Artists, "God Don't Never Change: The Songs of Blind Willie Johnson" (Alligator); Various Artists, "George Fest: A Night to Celebrate the Life and Music of George Harrison" (BMG): All-star tribute albums can be hit-and-miss, but these each have enough of the former to be worthwhile -- and it's a hit to hear Conan O'Brien take on Harrison's "Old Brown Shoe."

Also Out: Adelitas Way, "Getaway" (Fuel Music); Anthrax, "For All Kings" (Megaforce); Anvil, "Anvil is Anvil" (Steahmammer/SPF); Shannon Bryant, "Light" (Belle Estrela); Paul Burch, "Meridian Rising" (Plowboy); Toronzo Cannon, "The Chicago Way" (Alligator); Bill Carter, "Innocent Victims and Evil Companions" (Forty Below); Celtic Thunder, "Legacy 1" (Legacy); Colours, "Ivory" (Victory); Michael Daves, "Orchids and Violence" (Nonesuch); Destroyer 666, "Wildfire" (Season of Mist); Mark Etheredge, "Connected" (Vipaka); From Ashes To New, "Day One" (Better Noise); Hands Like Houses, "Dissonants" (Rise); Hillsong Young & Free, "Youth Revival" (Hillsong); Jane Kramer, "Carnival of Hopes" (self-released); Jani Lane, "Catch a Falling Star" (Deadline); Lily & Madeleine, "Keep It Together" (New West); Heather Masse and Roswell Rudd, "August Love Song" (Red House); Brian McKnight, "Better" (Kobalt); Naked Truth, "Avian Thug" (Rare Noise); Redemption, "Art of Loss" (Metal Blade); Victoria Reed, "Chariot" (Botanica); Emmitt Rhodes, "Rainbow Bends" (Omnivore); Santigold, "99 Cents" (Atlantic); Jake Shimabukuro, "Live in Japan" (eOne); Masahiro Shimba & Bill Laswell, "Dubopera" (M.O.D. Technologies); Steel Panther, "Live From Lexxi's Mom's Garage" (Kobalt); Supersonic Blues Machine, "West of Flushing, South of Frisco" (Provogue); Tweet, "Charlene" (eOne); Voivod, "Post Society" (Century Media); The Waco Brothers, "Going Down in History" (Bloodshot); Wakey Wakey, "Overreactivist" (The End); Walk the Moon, "You Are Not Alone (Live at the Greek)" (RCA); Gene Watson, "Real Country Music" (Fourteen Carat Mind);

From The Vaults: Phil Collins, "Hell, I Must Be Going (Deluxe Edition)" and "Dance Into the Light" (Deluxe Edition) (Rhino); Michael Jackson, "Off The Wall" (Epic/Legacy); Rich Robinson, "Paper" and "Llama Blues" (Eagle Rock); Todd Rundgren, "The Complete Bearsville Albums Collection" (Rhino); Stephen Sondheim, "The Essential Stephen Sondheim" (Columbia/Legacy)

SoundtracksL "Amazing Grace: Original Broadway Cast Recording" (DMI); Alexandre Desplat, "The Danish Girl" (Decca)

New Music DVDs: Burt Bacharach, "A Life In Song" (Eagle Rock); Celtic Thunder, "Legacy" (Legacy); Steel Panther, "Live From Lexxi's Mom's Garage" (Kobalt)

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