“I will not be broken,” Raitt sings in the opening track of this, her 15th studio album. Her voice, as always, is full of warm texture; rich and supple as suede. But there’s an extra dimension of resilience, even defiance, in the refrain and it springs, as all blues do, from personal travails. Last year Raitt grieved the loss of her mother due to complications from Alzheimer’s disease. Then, months later, her father, John Raitt—with whom she often performed in concerts—died after a prolonged illness. At the same time, she helped nurse her brother, who suffered from brain cancer but is now in remission. With such a litany of woes, it’s a wonder she found the will to work at all, much less produce an ambitious album—this is her debut behind the boards—that veers from the traditional blues with which she launched her career to the more pop sound of Nick of Time, the disc that won her a mantel full of Grammys in 1990. In place of her signature 12-bar romps, she puts her shimmering slide guitar lines in service of songs full of lament (“I Don’t Want Anything to Change”), hope (“Trinkets”) and humor (“Love on One Condition”).
DOWNLOAD THIS: “I Will Not Be Broken”