Posted October 22, 2007 in

Redheaded guitar slinger Bonnie Raitt—offspring of mid-century Great White Way fixture John—was born with perhaps the most bafflingly inappropriate background for one who has spent decades trading in the blues. Despite the cozy elitist rearing, she demonstrated, early on, more than enough grit to hold her own within the primitivo boundaries of the idiom, and ultimately parlayed her music into a Grammy-winning, big-selling American pop phenom. Much of this success can be traced back to her very shrewd choice to not only immerse herself in the blues but, more importantly, to learn it first hand at the knees of its master practitioners, a move she made while matriculating at Harvard-Radcliffe and coinciding neatly with a period where the brothers were commercially MIA but regularly featured on the folkie fest and club circuit, which was so magnetically appealing to the Ivy League set. The knowledge gained ultimately helped propel her to the top of the heap, and to her credit, Raitt not only recognized that fact, she acted on it. As a co-founder of the Rhythm & Blues Heritage Foundation, she put into place an organization that not only helped faded blues stars recover long-since-gone record royalties, the awards given out each year by the Foundation are also accompanied by a healthy hunk of cash—and that kind of payback ain’t no bitch. (Jonny Whiteside)

Bonnie Raitt with Jon Cleary & the Absolute Monster Gentlemen at Pechanga Resort and Casino, 45000 Pechanga Pkwy., Temecula, (877) 711-2946; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m., $50-$90; Sun., 10 p.m., $85-$135.


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