Reviews of Attainable Hi-Fi & Home-Theater Equipment

Reviews of Attainable Hi-Fi & Home-Theater Equipment

  • SoundStage! InSight - Audio Research Reference 160M Amplifier (February 2019)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Livio Cucuzza on Audio Research's Industrial Design (November 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Audio Research Past, Present, and Future (October 2018)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - KEF's New R Series for 2018 (September 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Simaudio Moon 390 Digital/Analog Preamplifier and Streamer (September 2018)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - EISA 2018-2019 Awards Introduction (August 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Simaudio's $118,888 Moon 888 Mono Amplifiers (June 2018)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Totem's Tribe Tower (May 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Amphion's Three Newest Argon Loudspeakers (April 2018)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Making the Hegel Mohican CD Player (March 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Estelon Lynx Wireless Intelligent Loudspeaker (March 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - McIntosh's Five New Solid-State Integrated Amplifiers (January 2018)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Amphion's Krypton Loudspeaker (January 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Anthem STR Preamplifier and Power Amplifier (December 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - McIntosh Laboratory MA252 Integrated Amplifier (November 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Hegel H90 and H190 Integrated Amplifiers (October 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - How Hegel's SoundEngine Works (October 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight  - Estelon History and YB and Extreme Loudspeakers (September 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - What Makes Hegel Different? (August 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Estelon Extreme Legacy Edition Loudspeaker (July 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Amphion Overview and Technologies (July 2017)
  • SoundStage! Insight - Totem Acoustic Signature One Loudspeaker (June 2017)
  • SoundStage! Encore - The Cowboy Junkies'
  • SoundStage! Shorts -- Anthem's STR Integrated Amplifier (May 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts -- Paradigm's Perforated Phase Alignment (PPA) Lenses (March 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight -- Paradigm's Persona 9H Loudspeaker (March 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight -- Contrasts: Dynaudio's Contour and Focus XD Speaker Lines (February 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - New Technologies in MartinLogan's Masterpiece Series
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Dynaudio/Volkswagen Car Audio (December 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Gryphon Philosophy and the Kodo and Mojo S Speakers (January 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts -- What's a Tonmeister? (November 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - AxiomAir N3 Wireless Speaker System (December 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Bang & Olufsen BeoLab 90 (November 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Gryphon Diablo 120 Integrated Amplifier (October 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Dynaudio History and Driver Technology (October 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - The Story How Gryphon Began (September 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Devialet History, ADH Technology, and Expert 1000 Pro (September 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Devialet's Phantom Loudspeakers (August 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - McIntosh Home Theater and Streaming Audio (July 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - McIntosh MC275 Stereo Amplifier (June 2016)

Redwing RWR023
Format: CD

Musical Performance

Sound Quality

Overall Enjoyment

Bonnie Raitt has been making records since 1971, and a few have been commercial successes. Sweet Forgiveness (1977) and Nick of Time (1989) had hit singles that led to brisk album sales, and while her career has had lulls, she always bounces back. She has a good ear for songs that fit her, and her slide guitar playing is immediately recognizable. As with many well-established musicians of her generation, she takes time between albums, and they’re often worth the wait.

Dig in Deep is Raitt’s 17th album, and she produced all but one of its 12 tunes. She recorded the album with her longtime touring band, and wrote or co-wrote five of the songs. She and her keyboard player, Jon Cleary, wrote “Unintended Consequence of Love,” a great, funky tune that gets things off to a strong start. Raitt sounds sassy and confident, and age has brought some grit to her voice that gives it more authority. Her slide guitar boils under her vocal, and Cleary’s electric piano adds swagger, with help from George Marinelli’s rhythm guitar.

Dig in Deep

Raitt has always had good taste in songs, but I was surprised that she decided to cover INXS’s “Need You Tonight.” She turns it into a hard-edged R&B stomper with a searing slide solo and a tough vocal. Marinelli gets some solo time, and Mike Finnigan’s clavinet feature gives the arrangement an early-1960s soul vibe. Raitt’s slide also brings a sharp edge to Los Lobos’ “Shakin’ Shakin’ Shakes,” in a cover that kicks as hard as the original.

For all her savvy in choosing good tunes, it’s Raitt’s own compositions that help make Dig in Deep so strong. “If You Need Somebody,” co-written with Marinelli, is built around an ear-catching chord progression and a strong hook. “The Comin’ Round Is Going Through” is a terrific Stones-style rocker with scorching solos from Raitt and Marinelli, and “What You’re Doin’ to Me” has a hint of gospel that Raitt and her band carry off with ease and spirit.

Joe Henry wrote and produced “You’ve Changed My Mind,” a beautiful ballad featuring guitarists Bill Frisell and Greg Leisz. Raitt still hits the high notes cleanly, but her voice now has a slightly worn, dark quality that expresses more real feeling in slower tunes such as this. Dig in Deep closes with Raitt’s own deeply affecting “The Ones We Couldn’t Be,” with her on piano and Patrick Warren on keys. I can’t think of another singer who handles ballads with such heart and simplicity.

Dig in Deep

With impressive conviction and comfort, Raitt’s crack band plays everything she throws at them, from blues and funk to ballads. Every time, I felt that the players intuitively understood what Raitt needed, and that their history of playing together let them work naturally without going through the motions. Drummer Ricky Fataar and bassist James Hutchinson give the rock and soul tunes their swing and the ballads their soul.

Ryan Freeland engineered Dig in Deep, and Kim Rosen mastered -- the sound has the punch and excitement of a live performance. Bonnie Raitt is in outstanding voice throughout, singing about love and regret with a band that gives her precisely what she needs. The result is one of her very best albums.

. . . Joseph Taylor