This summer, Bonnie Raitt and Taj Mahal—two leading lights of modern blues—are joining forces for their first-ever tour together. The "BonTaj Roulet" tour will be a coast-to-coast, 30-date outing in August and September, including appearances at such celebrated venues as Wolf Trap, Ravinia, Red Rocks, and the Greek Theater in Los Angeles. These shows will feature Bonnie and Taj on stage alone and together. Bonnie, backed by her always-dazzling group, and Taj, with the six-piece, Grammy-winning Phantom Blues Band, will play full sets separately, before closing each night with a collaborative, blow-out performance. "This tour is just what the doctor ordered," says Bonnie. "Taj and I have so much in common, but there's so much unexplored territory between us. It's been a long time coming, and now is the right time."
"We've been like ships passing in the night," adds Taj. "Some of my musicians used to play with Bonnie, we have so many of the same friends-this is really an opportunity to combine some forces and play some great music."
In addition to the glorious sounds, these two socially conscious artists will also be using the tour to make a difference. The BonTaj Collective Action Fund will utilize several initiatives to raise money for a variety of causes. In conjunction with ticketing agencies like Ticketmaster, Live Nation Ticketing and Musictoday, and some venues and promoters, the concertgoers and artists will all come together with the goal of raising $1 for charity per ticket sold on The BonTaj Roulet Tour.
Additionally, at every concert, Bonnie and Taj are making available ACTION FUND VIP PACKAGES offering premium seats and an opportunity for a limited number of concertgoers to come backstage for an artist meet-and-greet after the show. All funds raised will go into the BonTaj Collective Action Fund.
Concertgoers are encouraged to vote on which causes to support at the BonTaj.com website. Proceeds will be distributed in proportion to overall votes tallied, to benefit organizations that work on the following issues: Safe and Sustainable Energy; Environmental Protection; Social Justice and Human Rights; and Blues/Music Education. For more information, to vote on causes for the Action Fund to support and to buy special premium seating, visit www.bontaj.com/thecollective.
Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Bonnie Raitt is an institution in American music-a best-selling artist, respected guitarist, expressive singer, and accomplished songwriter. The nine-time Grammy winner's most recent studio album was her eighteenth release, 2005's Souls Alike, followed up with a DVD/ CD, VH1 Classic Decades Rock Live! Presents Bonnie Raitt and Friends, released in 2006.
In May, composer, multi-instrumentalist, and vocalist Taj Mahal will be inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame. His work-including last year's studio album, Maestro, which featured such guest stars as Ben Harper, Jack Johnson, and Ziggy Marley- incorporates music from around the globe, from West Africa and the Caribbean to Latin America, the Hawaiian Islands, and so much more.
Bonnie and Taj first met in the early 1970s, when she opened for him at a concert at Skidmore College. In 1973, Taj co-produced Bonnie's third album, Takin' My Time. "I watched her develop under the tutelage of people like Fred MacDowell and Sippie Wallace," says Taj. "She got right in there and stomped it down. She wasn't afraid to play for real."
"It's like we're cousins," says Bonnie. "We're both blessed that we knew those old blues guys, we love the same kinds of music-we have a common language."
As for their nightly jam sessions on the "BonTaj Roulet" tour, both artists sound like they're raring to go. "There's gonna be a lot of fireworks, because it's so fresh," says Bonnie. "I think about it before I go to sleep, toying with the possibilities, and it feels like having an extra slice of pie, getting both of these bands to play together like this. There's so much potential to what we can do."
"At these times," says Taj, "peoples' money is short, there's lots of pressure and distractions, and this is when our job comes deep into focus and we really need to get on the stick. So I don't know about anybody else, but I know I'm gonna have some fun."
BonTaj Roulet Tour Dates
Thu, Aug 6, 2009 Williamsport, PA Community Arts Center
Sat, Aug 8, 2009 Philadelphia, PA Mann Center
Sun, Aug 9, 2009 Wallingford, CT Chevrolet Theatre
Tue, Aug 11, 2009 Newark, NJ NJPAC
Wed, Aug 12, 2009 Brooklyn, NY Prospect Park Bandshell
Wed, Aug 14, 2009 Hyannis, MA Cape Cod Melody Tent
Sat, Aug 15, 2009 Boston, MA Bank of America Pavilion
Sun, Aug 16, 2009 Vienna, VA Filene Center at Wolf Trap
Tue, Aug 18, 2009 Atlanta, GA Chastain Park Amphitheatre
Wed, Aug 19, 2009 Louisville, KY The Louisville Palace
Fri, Aug 21, 2009 Highland Park, IL Ravinia Festival
Sat, Aug 22, 2009 Highland Park, IL Ravinia Festival
Sun, Aug 23, 2009 Grand Rapids, MI Meijer Gardens
Tue, Aug 25, 2009 Indianapolis, IN The Lawn at White River State Park
Thu, Aug 27, 2009 St. Paul, MN Minnesota State Fair
Fri, Aug 28, 2009 Council Bluffs, IA Stir Cove at Harrah's Casino
Sun, Aug 30, 2009 Morrison, CO Red Rocks Amphitheatre
Tue, Sept 1, 2009 Salt Lake City, UT Red Butte Amphitheatre
Wed, Sept 2, 2009 Boise, ID Boise Botanical Gardens
Thu, Sept 3, 2009 Portland, OR Edgefield Winery
Sat, Sept 5, 2009 Bend, OR Les Schwab Amphitheatre
Sun, Sept 6, 2009 Seattle, WA Chateau Ste Michelle
Mon, Sept 7, 2009 Eugene, OR Cuthbert Amphitheatre
Wed, Sept 9, 2009 Friant, CA Table Mountain Casino
Fri, Sept 11, 2009 Los Angeles, CA Greek Theatre
Sat, Sept 12, 2009 Santa Barbara, CA Santa Barbara Bowl
Sun, Sept 13, 2009 Saratoga, CA The Mountain WInery
Wed, Sept 16, 2009 Oakland, CA TBD
Thu, Sept 17, 2009 San Diego, CA Humphrey's Concerts by the Bay
Fri, Sept 18, 2009 House of Blues, Las Vegas
Sun, Sept 20, 2009 TBA
Wed, Sept 23, 2009 Albuquerque, NM Sandia Casino
Thu, Sept 24, 2009 Phoenix, AZ Dodge Theatre
Fri, Sept, 25, 2009 Rancho MIrage, CA Agua Caliente Casino
Official site and ticket info: bontajroulet.com