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Sound Check

3/2/2016

Bonnie RaittBonnie Raitt
“Dig in Deep”
Redwing Records

Bonnie Raitt stands as one of the greatest counter-arguments to those who say that great musicians have to write their own music. For much of her career, Raitt’s strength has not been in penning her own songs, but in taking someone else’s work and realizing its fullest potential. With her trademark slide and unmistakable vocals, Raitt has always had the ability to give songs more emotional weight than they sometimes deserve. In “Dig in Deep,” Raitt shows no hint of slowing down, as the years have done nothing to soften the dusky crags of her voice or slow her fingers. The album’s two ballads — “You’ve Changed My Mind” and “The Ones We Couldn’t Be” — are the strongest because Raitt’s voice is best suited for them, but she even takes covers like Los Lobos’ “Shakin’ Shakin’ Shakes” and INXS’ “Need You Tonight” and makes them feel completely original. CV

Ira Grace & The Bible Belt ProphetsIra Grace EP Cover
“The Heartsleeves EP”
Nova Labs

After taking a couple of stabs at releasing its debut album, Ira Grace & the Bible Belt Prophets have now returned with new material in the form of “The Heartsleeves EP.” Anyone who has heard the band in the past couple years or experienced the previous release will immediately see the differences in the new product. Everything that is good about the duo of Marc Bailey and Sara Williams — the simple, unadorned guitars and the floating harmonies — is back with more polish and greater confidence. On top of which, the duo’s songwriting feels tighter, and Williams vocals feel stronger and more nuanced. Bailey and Williams have a great working dynamic and understand their roles within the band really well, and that has always been Ira Grace’s biggest asset. Both players understand what the other brings to the table, and nobody tries to do too much. That dynamic not only keeps them from stepping over one another, but it keeps the finished product as clean and light as possible. CV

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