Spotlight: Bonnie Raitt

Feb 28, 2016

Gary Clark Jr. and Chris Stapleton recruited Bonnie Raitt for their moving tribute to BB King who passed away this May at the age of 89. The performance would have made King proud as the guitar solos from Clark and Stapleton were hauntingly reminiscent of King’s style. Raitt’s vocals were pure and unhurried, really giving a special feeling to the tribute. The result was a powerful and evocative performance that stood out in the Grammys line-up. This power trio left everyone nostalgic for the late King, and as Raitt put it, the dignity, eloquence, and thrill he was known for.

As we’ve seen, the tribute is a difficult form to master. Some artists overreach, putting out cheesy homages of musicians’ styles they cannot grasp. Others lean into the influence of the artist, pulling out their most authentic sentiment for a late musician. How does one honor the music of another, while still maintaining their own individual touch? How do you think these three fared?