MUSIC: Bonnie and the Blues

Bonnie Raitt is back with a flinty, resonant new album, as bluesy and beautiful as they come

The music isn't called just blue. It's the blues; it holds a hundred shades of misery and ecstasy. And Bonnie Raitt, the show-biz baby who went to Radcliffe and looks like Meryl Streep's grittier sister, finds those shades in her songs. She wears tinges of folk and rock, country and pop, but her regular outfit is multihued blue. She makes it so smart that when she sings it, it's everyone's favorite color.

Raitt knows the blues is gut music, halfway between groin pulse and heartbeat. The trick, or the wisdom, is to embrace those sexual and spiritual polarities. That's Raitt's strength....

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