Bonnie Raitt Talks Politics and Bernie Sanders
Bonnie Raitt is far from shy about her political leanings, and her opinions come straight through to fans on her song "The Comin' Around Is Goin' Through," which appears on her latest album, Dig In Deep.
"I've mined a lot of different aspects of love, and one of the things that that is always new and unfortunately also upsetting is the state of the world. This album [has] the second overtly political song that I've written. I wrote one years ago called "Hell to Pay," ... but this one, I wanted to play this particular musical groove while I was getting my feelings of outrage about the one percent having too much control of the political process," Raitt tells The Strombo Show on CBC Radio 2.
"I knew [this song] would have that particular guitar thrashing, [Rolling] Stones-y kind of feel so that I could play it live. In that sense, I deliberately framed it so that it could be anybody's political spectrum -- whether they're progressive or Tea Party, they're still mad that the system is broken," she continues.
The singer's political leanings may leak into her songwriting, but she says that music also played a big role in shaping her beliefs, especially the folk singers who were making political and musical waves during her young teens.
"It was Bob Dylan who changed everything for me. I was 13. I was raised Quaker, and my folks were very much into banning the test bomb and promote the treaty and the civil rights movement, just being a pacifist humanitarian group of people who liked to give back," she says. "From the early years, we were really involved with a lot of that social justice and environmental protection. I grew up around that, as well as the peace movement and Bob Dylan's "Blowin' in the Wind" and "[The] Times [They] Are a'Changin'" and "Masters of War."
"I was a little 13-year-old folkie singing songs at the campfire and had been a Joan Baez fan," she continues. "When Peter, Paul and Mary had a huge hit with "Blowin' in the Wind," it really turned me around at 11 or 12 years old, and of course ... there was so much political great music coming out of the '60s ... That whole decade of going back to the country in a more organic lifestyle, but more importantly, stop being at the Vietnam War and fighting for racial justice, that really informed my growing up."
Raitt has also been a vocal proponent for Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who has been campaigning on some of the issues that she sees as most important.
"I think what’s making Bernie so viable is that everything that he’s saying makes a lot of sense. There are people throwing aspersions on his program. Hillary [Clinton] in particular is saying that these are all just pie-in-the-sky platitudes, but in fact his programs and how he would pay for these things are very, very concrete and very well thought out. There are a lot of people that agree that it’s quite possible. It’s just re-framing how you’re thinking about stuff," she says in an interview with Lenny Letter. "I don’t know if anybody that progressive would be able to rally the rest of the country, but I’ve never seen so much wildfire, grassroots support and small donations and volunteers and so many people turning up for his rallies.
"The fact is, the system is favoring big money, and big money is buying elections and buying influence in Washington and stalemating a lot of progress on all kinds of issues, whatever side of the aisle you are on," she adds. "Too few people are controlling what’s going on, and it’s not trickling down, and the jobs are going overseas. What’s broken can be fixed, and it needs to be something new and fresh and a way of consciously deciding to not let things like Citizens United stay. We have to change the legislation."
Country's Most Political Artists