Dave Grohl was talking to Rolling Stone on the red carpet of the MusiCares Salute to Paul McCartney when he spotted Bonnie Raitt. “Oh my god, there’s Bonnie Raitt. Holy shit, that’s huge, that’s the last one on the list,” Grohl said, all excited. When we pointed out to him that both of them had covered a Gerry Rafferty song, with Foos having done “Baker Street” and Raitt’s new single being “Right Down The Line,” he smiled and said, “Have fun, I’m gonna go talk to her.”
Inside the L.A. Convention Center a few moments later, we bumped into Grohl again and asked him if he had mentioned the Rafferty connection. “No, I just freaked out all over her,” he said, laughing.
The mutual admiration society was in full effect. Raitt said the props meant a lot to her. “It really blew me away, I was so surprised,” she said. “And I’m a huge fan of theirs, so I was able to tell him that. But I would have not expected that. I don’t know why, but it really boosted me.”
And as an added bonus, Raitt got some serious cool points with her family. “I immediately emailed my nephews and grandnephews and said, ‘Guess what?'” she said. “I’m instantly cool, but, for me, musician to musician, it meant a lot. “
Flattery and coolness aside, it also helped confirm Raitt’s decision to go indie with her upcoming album, Slipstream, due April 10th. “I could’ve gone with a couple of great labels that were offering to partner with me, but I have a really good team and I have the right pieces in place and I’ve been established,” she said. “I’ve been around a long enough time, I think my fanbase is pretty secure.”
The album was launched with her take on Rafferty’s “Right Down The Line.” Where did the idea for that song come from? “I just heard it and I went, ‘Man, I just love that song so much,'” she said. “And I immediately thought of the guitar part of how to do it in my style and I had it way before I knew he was ill and was passing away. I wish I could’ve met him, huge fan, and that song in particular. I really love it.”
The rest of the record features a mix of songs she had singer/songwriter Joe Henry produce and some some she self-produced. “Bill Frissell is my special guest on the record, and the rest of the tracks are going to be coming out later, the ones I did with Joe,” she said. “And then I did eight tracks with my band, and we’re just smoking.”