Bonnie Raitt Preps Personal New LP: 'I Had a Lot of Loss'

Raitt digs deep, gets noisy with her longtime band on her first album since 2012

"We all get shuttered down by life," says Bonnie Raitt of the grief that inspired her upcoming LP, 'Dig in Deep.' Credit: Jason Farrell

Bonnie Raitt's new studio album, Dig in Deep, won't be out until February, but the singer-guitarist has already received her first rave review. "I got an e-mail from Jackson," Raitt says, meaning her friend Jackson Browne. "He said, 'I love the way you use the band as a band. It really sounds cohesive.'"

The LP title comes from a line in the opening stomp, "Unintended Consequence of Love." It is also Raitt's allusion to how she and her longtime studio-and-road band — guitarist George Marinelli, bassist James Hutchinson and drummer Ricky Fataar, with recent recruit Mike Finnigan on keyboards — "have become a unit that can dig deeper," she says, "into the grooves." Two covers come from the Eighties, freshened with blues-rock swagger and Raitt's torrid slide guitar: INXS' "Need You Tonight" and Los Lobos' "Shakin' Shakin' Shakes." "We make a lot of noise for four people and me," Raitt, 66, notes proudly.

Dig in Deep is her most personal record in years, with Raitt's highest tally of original songs since 1998's Fundamental. "I had a lot of loss," Raitt says, referring to the passing of her mother, Marjorie; father, John; and brother Steve, between 2004 and 2009. She points to the resurgent energy in the gospel-influenced "What You're Doin' to Me." "We all get shuttered down by life," she says. "And sometimes people blast the door open and pull you out."