66-year-old baby boomer Bonnie Raitt has just released her 20th album. She has written and sung music about a range of moods, and as Minneapolis-based blogger Keith Harris wrote for our friends at the PBS website NextAvenue.org, she’s a famous boomer who knows a thing or two about perseverance and pain.
With her wickedly bluesy slide guitar and her worn, yet warm, vocals, Bonnie Raitt has been recording songs for 45 years now about the ways love and desire do and don’t change as we mature.
On her 20th album, the newly released Dig in Deep, the 66-year-old Raitt also confronts the personal losses she has experienced in the not-too-distant past. Both of Raitt’s parents passed away a little over a decade ago. Then, in 2009, Raitt lost her brother and only a month later, a friend died of cancer.
Brittany Spanos recently spoke with Raitt about moving beyond her grief for Lenny. Here are some highlights of their talk:
On taking time away from her career to come to terms with her pain: “I wanted to experience all the sorrow and the grief and deal with it off the treadmill of running my own company and promoting records and being on tour.”
On acknowledging the mutual disappointment that can arise in a relationship: “The inspiration for the song, ‘The Ones We Couldn’t Be,’ was someone in my family. We’ve had a complicated and difficult relationship. I started with the idea of ‘I’m sorry for the ones we couldn’t be’ because I couldn’t be who they wanted me to be, and I know that I let them down as well.”
On the lessons to be learned from loss: “When you’re not getting along, you tend to blame the other person. But really the heartbreak is both of you. You hold each other up to an expectation that is unrealistic. It’s only later that you have compassion and perspective, especially when they’re gone.”
On emerging from grief: “Coming out of any dark period, you eventually step out of it, whether it’s divorce or losing your best friend or your own health crisis or you lose your parents …. Just like love, you don’t think you’re going to be in love again, and, sure enough, life keeps happening.”
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