Album Remarks & Appraisals:
Even a quick listen to Souls Alike, the eighteenth album in this Rock and Roll Hall of Famer's remarkable career, reveals a number of surprises. It's her first album ever to bear the credit Produced by Bonnie Raitt. Conspicuously absent is even one of her signature 12-bar blues stomps. And where most of her projects have contained a mix of songs written by both celebrated songwriters and her own new discoveries, usually with some original material, all eleven compositions on Souls Alike come from lesser-known writers with whom Raitt feels a deep affinity and whose work she wants to champion. That connection-together with a flourishing creative collaboration with her beloved touring band and co-producer/engineer Tchad Blake-provided the lifeblood and inspiration for the album's direction, and even its title. It marks a brave, exhilarating step in a legendary body of work. Capitol. 2005.
Rolling Stone (No. 983, p.104) - 3.5 out of 5 stars - "...Her eighteenth disc manages to showcase both the greasy bottle-neck blues guitarist and the pop-friendly mellow crooner, thanks to a lot fo solid material sporting depth and detail...."
Uncut (p.108) - 3 stars out of 5 - "[S]he's still playing stinging slide guitar and the songs, mostly by young unknowns, are well-chosen."
Dirty Linen (p.56) - "[I]t's all thoughtful, interesting, occasionally funny, mostly the sort of songs that you enter with one point of view and at the end find you may have learned something else. In other words, vintage Bonnie Raitt."
Personnel: Bonnie Raitt (vocals, acoustic guitar, slide guitar); Bonnie Raitt; Jon Cleary (guitar, piano, Wurlitzer piano, Hammond b-3 organ, Wurlitzer organ, background vocals); Mitchell Froom (Fender Rhodes piano, Wurlitzer piano, Wurlitzer organ, keyboards, mini-Moog synthesizer); James "Hutch" Hutchinson (bass guitar); George Marinelli (acoustic guitar, electric guitar, background vocals); Maia Sharp (tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone, background vocals); David Batteau (guitar synthesizer); Ricky Fataar (drums, percussion); John Capek (loops); Arnold McCuller, Sweet Pea Atkinson (background vocals).
Audio Mixer: Tchad Blake.
Recording information: Lairiope Studios, Santa Monica, CA (2004); Sound Factory, Hollywood, CA (2004); Studio D, Sausalito, CA (2004).
Photographers: Norman Moore; Sam Jones .
Well into the fourth decade of Bonnie Raitt's recording career, SOULS ALIKE finds the beloved vocalist/guitarist showing no signs of slowing down. In fact, this 2005 album marks the first time that Raitt produced her own record (with assistance from longtime associate Tchad Blake), allowing her a new level of creative input.
The most significant change on SOULS ALIKE is its lack of overtly bluesy numbers. Although Raitt's emotive singing and guitar playing almost always feature an element of the blues, that vibe is downplayed here in favor of a mellower rock atmosphere exemplified by opening track "I Will Not Be Broken," a laid-back tune with a deceptively defiant message. Other standouts are the dreamy "God Was in the Water" and the funky, loop-laden "Deep Water," as well as the gorgeous closer, "The Bed I Made," which carries a light, jazzy feel and showcases the more delicate side of Raitt's vocals. Though SOULS ALIKE does mark a bit of a departure for Raitt, it's true enough to her style and strengths to retain her old fans while gaining some new admirers.