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Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2012

Bonnie Raitt w/ Mavis Staples

Tonight @ Marcus Center for the Performing Arts, 7:30 p.m.

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The fire-haired woman behind the sassy hit “Something to Talk About” and the lasting piano ballad “I Can't Make You Love Me,” blues vocalist and guitarist Bonnie Raitt returned to the studio after a seven-year hiatus for this spring's Slipstream, her 19th album. Highlighted by a string of slow-burning weepers, the album shows that Raitt's voice has lost none of its emotional force with age. But the record isn't entirely fixated on hurt and heartbreak. It also makes time for dance tunes like the grinding, organ-spiked “Split Decision.” Raitt shares this show with fellow blues legend Mavis Staples. Staples will always be best known for her work with The Staple Singers, a group that recorded a string of great records throughout the '60s and '70s and scored the hit “I'll Take You There,” but her underappreciated late-period records are plenty remarkable in their own right. She reflected on the civil-rights movement, a topic near to her heart, for 2007's gospel-minded We'll Never Turn Back, before teaming with Wilco's Jeff Tweedy for 2010's tastefully stripped-down You Are Not Alone.