Julia Gets Wise with Bonnie Raitt

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Today on Wiser Than Me, Julia sits down with 74-year-old music legend and Grammy Award winner Bonnie Raitt. Bonnie talks to Julia about performing live, the experience of external vs. internal validation, and managing grief. Julia also gets Bonnie thinking about her songwriting in a whole new light. Crying, laughing, raging — this episode has everything. Plus, Julia discusses the deep emotions tied to meeting your heroes with her 90-year-old mom, Judy.

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Bonnie Raitt, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Mother

Julia Louis-Dreyfus  00:00

For me music, while listening to music is both an escape from what’s going on and a way to feel what’s going on more intensely, you know, always has been when I was little, I loved The Beatles. Little kids love The Beatles. I especially loved Ringo was my favorite, because he had that big nose. You know, that’s irresistible. And I had a John Lennon doll too, that somebody gave to me. Of course, I was only five years old, so I didn’t know they were geniuses. And I love The Monkeys partly because they’re cute and funny, but Last Train to Clarksville is pretty fucking good, truth be told. My grandma Didi gave me a monkey’s record, somebody must have told her to do that because I think she was more Benny Goodman than Mickey Dolan’s. And of course, crashes are tied to music. I mean, I’ve already talked on this show about Bobby Sherman. But how about James Taylor? Oh, Lord Jesus, James Taylor, on the cover of the album sweet baby James. I just looked at it. And I felt so deeply in love all over again. And I have to say, sidenote, there was this guy that worked at a woman’s clothing boutique that was really funky and cool, called the elephant trunk. And it was in Mount Kisco, New York. And I used to go into that, that store, practically on a daily basis when I was visiting my dad because that man was there. And he looks so much like James Taylor, and I would just look at him. And I can look at him right now in my mind’s eye, and I’m leaving my husband for that man, because he was so fucking gorgeous. Anyway, I’m talking about music. It’s very, very evocative, Holy Christ. And I think the most important musical discovery for me was around middle school when I fell in love with rhythm and blues, soul music and funk. I started to go to concerts in Washington, DC with my best friend Carlene, we saw the Commodores, Sly and the Family Stone Parliament Funkadelic we love to funk you Funkenstein your funk is the best. And it was the best, I still can’t get enough of that music. And then a couple years out of high school, I got to be on Saturday Night Live. And I got to see all these artists up close when they were the musical guests on the show. And we got some great ones like Queen and The Clash, and Randy Newman, and that band Squeeze. Excuse me, does anyone remember Squeeze? They were so great. Just saying those names takes me right back. But to top them all one week, who is the host? And the musical guest? Stevie Wonder, yeah, Stevie Wonder. And he shows up, and of course, he’s exactly what you want him to be. He’s funny, he’s charming, he’s singing all the time. And he’s a genius. I mean, of course. I mean, come on, he’s Stevie Wonder. So there’s this meeting in the executive producers room with all the actors and the writers and everybody with Stevie Wonder to pitch sketches or something. I don’t really exactly remember, but I was late. Okay, oh, God. So I get there, and they’re, like, 25 people crammed into the room, and I’m very embarrassed to be late, of course, so it kind of sneak into the room. And Stevie Wonder from across the room says, well, there she is my pretty baby. And everybody looks over. And I’m blushing of course, because I’m caught being late. But mostly because Stevie Wonder just called me pretty. And then I thought, Wait, what? How do you know it was me? The guy who is blind? How did he know it was me. And it turns out, he loves to make jokes about his blindness, probably because he’s never let it hold him back in any way. I mean, he kept pitching sketches where he was driving cars and heavy machinery. And there was a controversial sketch where he plays tennis against Joe Piscopo and actually got into the show. Anyway, just so many memories are tied to songs and artists, you know, just one or two notes and everything floods back the crush, the breakup, the sadness, the joy, the adventure, you know, the life. Music is the fastest way to get me to feel something here in my body and not in my head. I mean, even Honestly, even Christmas carols. God dammit sometimes I get so choked up, I can barely sing along. It’s power. Music has real power, a direct connection through your ears, to to your to your heart to your emotions, your soul. I really do believe music might be the best part of being human. That’s something to consider. And then there’s an artist that I haven’t mentioned, and I haven’t mentioned her on purpose. I was saving her for last. She’s that important to me. I have goosebumps as I’m saying this. Her music how she writes how she sings how she plays guitar how she plays slide guitar. If I could boy, I’d want to do it just the way she does. Today, we’re talking to Bonnie Raitt.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  05:07

Hi, I’m Julia Louie Dreyfus, and this is Wiser Than Me, the podcast where I get schooled by women who are wiser than me.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  05:31

All right, so even though I love music, it’s kind of hard to get me out of the house to listen to people live. For some reason, I don’t know. But today’s guest is one artist I never miss. One time, I saw her outdoors in San Francisco. It was August. And so of course, it was freezing. And she was playing. I remember James Taylor, and my husband said, how was she going to play? It’s too cold, and she came out and she actually said, Oh, God is fucking freezing. And she got somebody to give her a pair of gloves that have half the finger cut out. So she was basically playing in mittens, and it didn’t matter. She played so beautifully. And afterwards, I wanted to go and say hi to her, but I couldn’t stop crying, so it’s just too embarrassing. I’ve seen her over and over and yet she still makes me cry to songs, I’ve heard her sing 1000 times. She is the one singer who I kind of feel like she’s mine, too. You know what I mean? I have my own relationship with her music that makes me feel like more than just another fan. And of course there are 1000s hundreds of 1000s of her fans who feel exactly the same way. And oh my god, the way she plays guitar, oh, she is such a distinct singular artists. Whether she’s playing blues, or soul or rock’n’roll covering something or playing one of her perfect original song she kills it. You know, it’s her instantly. She got her first guitar when she was eight or nine and discovered she had real talent on it a Quaker summer camp in upstate New York. Cut two decades later, BB King called her the best slide player working today. I mean, come on. She’s just all red hair no bullshit, right? I’m so crazy about her tough, don’t fuck with me get it done attitude, all while being indisputably hot. She’s navigated the music business for more than five decades, always on her own terms. And that’s an industry notorious for its misogyny. When she started her own record label, she hired a team of four superstar women so that they would be the ones calling the shots. Yep, our guest today is the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer with 18 studio albums under her belt, who has been nominated for 30 Grammy Awards, and won 13 of them including Song of the Year, which she just won last year. The woman is a living legend, ranking on the Rolling Stones list of the Greatest Singers and the list of the Greatest Guitarists of All Time, and she’s absolutely at the top of my list in both. And I haven’t even mentioned her social activism, her political power, her devotion to original blues artists and her extraordinary personal journey. Oh, and by the way on her very first album, 1971 She even had a tune called Women Be Wise, how about that. So let’s welcome a woman who is so much wiser than me, Bonnie Raitt. Hi, Bonnie.


Bonnie Raitt  08:25

Hey, how are you? Julia, I don’t know how I can live up to this. I’m shaking my booty shaking.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  08:32

I’m shaking.


Bonnie Raitt  08:33

I’m so honored that you get me so, so deeply because it takes all of those qualities you like and me are in you. And that’s how we make that connection. I know that’s the truth. And I’ve seen them in you, so thank you.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  08:46

Oh, my God. I’m already crying because I love you so much, I really do and I’m just.


Bonnie Raitt  08:53

I’m very touched, I’m for clumped myself.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  08:56

Well, anyway, thank you for being here today. Let me start by asking the requisite question. Are you comfortable? If I ask you your age?


Bonnie Raitt  09:06

Absolutely proudly 74 as of November, last year.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  09:11

Nice. And how old do you feel Bonnie?


Bonnie Raitt  09:13

Oh my god, probably 50. Uh huh. Maybe I you know, some the wear and tear on joints from being active and injuries here and there and all that stuff. You know, just wear and tear from age is the only way I feel a little bit more. Not a lot. I wouldn’t say less vibrant, but it takes a little bit more to get up off the couch. You know, I can tell that the parts are getting a little creaky worn a little worn. I’m trying to keep this soft tissue in the spirit, still gooey.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  09:48

Smart, but are the parts getting? I mean, you still do what you want to do physically, or are you?


Bonnie Raitt  09:55

Yes, and I work out I mean, I try to do at least three times a week and I can I move around and try not to sit around too much, but it’s yeah, it’s it’s 74 is different than 64. And, you know, I know we’ll all have to keep lifting each other up through these rough times because that’s the part that beats us down more than gravity, I think, you know, the cruelty and the suffering and the war and the endless stupidity. And what are you kidding? I think that.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  10:25

Beats down the spirit.


Bonnie Raitt  10:27

It’s harder to get up off the spiritual couch when you get that pounding.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  10:31

I’d like that. What is, what do you think is the best part about being your age?


Bonnie Raitt  10:35

I really think that you’re more relaxed about the things that could bother you a lot more that triggers you recognize that you’re, you get reactive and trigger, and it’s just not worth the agita, you know.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  10:50

Yeah, it’s not healthy for you, right?


Bonnie Raitt  10:52

It doesn’t end up, you know, harboring resentments, harboring anger, and key stuffing it and not saying how you really feel that works to get you in the world. But somehow I can’t separate the fact that I’ve been, I’m in a tremendously lucky position of having enough power to be self powered, you know, in the business. I mean, I run my own ship with a great team, but I don’t work for anybody. And I don’t have to answer to anybody. And I’m living in a time when women can carve their own destinies, a lot more than my mother’s generation even. So I think I’ve earned the ability to be more relaxed from 36 years of work in a sobriety program, but also spiritual and therapy. And some of it is just the age I can’t separate, the times we’re in from having been a feminist. You know, I mean, if we were fighting what women had to fight in the 1930s.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  11:44

Oh, please.


Bonnie Raitt  11:45

I probably look like my grandmother did when she was 74. It was tougher be a woman before. And I think we know more. We know how to get out of situations that are really unpleasant and not working. We’re wiser. And we get the hell out of that situation and stop hanging out with people that are draining us. And that’s a wisdom that hopefully could come earlier. But for me, it took a long time, so every decade, I’m more, I’m not putting up with any more of this crap, and I’m more comfortable where I’m at. And if I’m not comfortable, it’s up to me to move out of the way.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  12:22

So it sounds like you’ve found a way of being more sanguine about either certain things that maybe used to bother you. And now you can let them go. And if they really bother you, and they deserve attention, you handle it, you know, sort of maybe without apology, by the way.


Bonnie Raitt  12:40

That was very well spoken. But I yeah, I think that I’m better at that than I was, I’m less, I’m less at the mercy of other people. And, and I’ve heard a lot of women on your podcast and heard a lot of other women that I admire and read their books and have friends that are older than me, and they also have told me, they are just more comfortable with themselves than they used to be.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  13:03

I’ve heard you differentiate before between capital B. Bonnie and lowercase b. Bonnie , can you explain the difference between I mean, I have a feeling I know what you mean. But will you tell us what you mean between those two types of Bonnie ?


Bonnie Raitt  13:18

Yes, and that’s that’s dive in deep early on, but why not?


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  13:22

Yeah, let’s do it, yeah.


Bonnie Raitt  13:23

The way those two uppercase and lowercase came up for me, it was being asked about the balance of my life. You know, what’s, what bugs you and what bugs me is, and what has driven a lot of as I’ve learned over the years with therapy, and in sobriety, working on my programs, and finding out trying to analyze why I do what I do and why I was moved to over indulge in this or pick the wrong partner or why do I you know, why have I been the way that I’ve been when it’s clearly not working. And that’s something that comes with age but one of the problems that I recognized early on was ever since I was little, I really got more strokes and attention and love by performing outside of my family unit at school. Even for my relatives. I became Bonnie that cute little redhead with dimples that if I did a little Shirley Temple tap dancer and then later, you know, if I played the guitar for my folks, friends, I got a lot of positive attention by being extroverted, and I think that redheaded personality thing are you born with that color here and you’re supposed to grow into it so I I got, I got what I didn’t get at home by being big Bonnie with you know, and I’ll say that that became later when I became professional. I’m more comfortable on stage and I always wondered why, why when I come offstage. I don’t have this am self esteem or lack of self judgments, I was beating myself up a lot and privately as a little girl when I went back and so I wonder when that started, I was never that comfortable when I wasn’t performing the version of myself that was a good little girl or the cute girl or the talented girl or the all A’s are the daddy’s little girl and you know, not cause too much of a raucous. And then when I was just back in my room, I would pour my heart out and play the guitar and just sing these sad ballads and you longing and look in the mirror and hate what I saw, you know, so I had a double life early on. And I have to be careful now that I don’t let that schism happen. And I remember the metaphor of the Wizard of Oz being found out to be just a regular man, you know, pay no attention to […]


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  15:53

The man behind the curtain, the best movie ever, the best.


Bonnie Raitt  15:56

I totally related to that, because I have been given this mantle of so much power and responsibility. And I look I look so badass to everybody, but I’m really not is like that. And I and I’m in my private life, I have to really wrestle who that is in the ground and see, don’t spend too much time just stoking the BR machinery otherwise, you lose who you are when you’re just a smaller case.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  16:23

Well, that is just fascinating. And I think that that well, there are two things I need to say. One is I think even in my own life as a performer, obviously, I don’t do what you do but when I perform there is a it’s like a hit of something. And it’s very delicious. And intoxicating, right? It’s intoxicating. And I love it. I love it. But it isn’t who I am, either. I mean, it is who I am. But it’s not the whole thing at all. And you know, when I walk into a room, people expect me just to be funny.


Bonnie Raitt  17:08



Julia Louis-Dreyfus  17:08

And I’m not. I mean, I have a funny Bo. I have a sense of humor, but I’m not like, you know, Sheki green going off. You know what I’m saying? I’m not but that thing. I know what you’re talking about that they bump up against each other. When you’re a performer, right? They really do I completely get that. The other thing I just wanted to mention is because you mentioned the Wizard of Oz, which is like top five movie for me of all time.


Bonnie Raitt  17:33

I agree.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  17:34

And incred every time I watch that movie, I die. I cry so hard, it’s so beautiful. Have you ever heard Judy Garlands? There was a scene in the movie that they cut in which she’s singing Somewhere over the rainbow when she’s being held in the castle by the witch. And evidently, oh, but listen, Bonnie, seriously, you’ve got to find it because you’ll start crying. It is so gut wrenching. Because she can barely get through it. She’s weeping so much, and they they decided to cut it because it was too sad. But if you hear it, you will hear what a magnificent performer she is, which you already knew, of course, but it is an elevated performance of that tune. So do me a favor and look for that. okay, or have somebody find that.


Bonnie Raitt  18:20

Thank you, for thank you for telling me about that. Because I immediately get her vulnerability in her voice for all the strength that she had. That’s why so many people relate to her.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  18:30

That’s right. There is a real vulnerability.


Bonnie Raitt  18:33

Oh my gosh, it’s just and to be put through what she was put through as a child. Uppers and downers and dance for this and.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  18:42

Right exactly, do you feel pressure to create? Do you feel frustration when you’re not creating? what’s what?


Bonnie Raitt  18:50

Oh, no, here’s you go. Here’s where the rubber hits the road. I am frustrated, not being on tour. There’s nothing like what happens on stage nothing like it. I mean, I make records so I can tour. My dad loved it till the day he stopped performing it at six years old and he only mostly stopped because his audience was passed away. And but I’m telling you that I am frustrated when I’m not it’s not the adulation of the crowd. It’s the gang comradery it’s, travel. It’s the you know, the waking up in a different city and a new opening act an opening night every night show those people you still got it? I love since I was 20 years old being on the road. So when I’m home, I have a satisfying beautiful life here. I live where I want to live. I got a small circle of chosen family friends. And I’m healthy and I’ve lucky but I really miss what happens playing with other people on the, I mean playing by myself is not as satisfying.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  19:56

But do you play every day?


Bonnie Raitt  19:58

No, I only play when I getting ready to tour.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  20:01

You really, you’re so you’re not sitting around noodling on the guitar or the piano at home? No way.


Bonnie Raitt  20:06

No, I’m too busy managing the big career of this woman who wears my name. So the business of being Bonnie Raitt is taking up a lot of my time. And I’m glad to do it and answer it as diplomatically and kindly when I can’t do a benefit or I can’t sing on someone’s record. Or I can’t write a blurb. And when I when I hear a song that I really love, and I want to do it live, then I pick up the guitar and learn. I mean, I’m not one of those. When I was a teenager, I just played all the time, but I don’t do that so much anymore. But now I’m now I’m planning for fun and I gotta get my calluses going again, I did my vocal warmup today. And I’m singing on a session after we dock on this podcast. I’m singing on someone’s record, so I’m getting that fires going again in life fingers are going where is it? Where is it?


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  21:00

My son is a musician. And he’s always noodling and writing. I mean, he’s young, of course. And he wanted me to ask you how written out beforehand are your solos? Are they fully improvised on the day or notated beforehand?


Bonnie Raitt  21:14

I wouldn’t know how to notate a solo. I didn’t, I didn’t take guitar lessons, so I don’t know how to read music. But I play I took a little piano lesson so, but I do everything by ear pretty much I just sort of make chord charts when I’m learning a new song. But I play mostly by ear but yeah, it’s pretty spontaneous. And if when I’m making a record, I like to get it as live as possible on the first or second day. So minimal rehearsal just pick the key, learn the lyric, you know, get a lyrics in front of me so I can just be present and get the band and I rock and on this tune, and then later, I do my guitar solos, so I might do three or four takes, but when I pieced together from two different takes, if I want to make a combo a lot of times I start with that as the scaffolding for the for the solos on tour. I’m not a big jam. I’m not a big jam stretch out for three or four times around. I’d rather play I’d rather play more songs in the set and save the guitar duels for the you know the rockers. I then I get that I turned on my other guitar player and we just let it rip for a while, that’s fun.


Bonnie Raitt  22:18

Yes, yes good memory.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  22:18

That’s so fun, so you took piano I think you said for five years when you were little?


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  22:19

And I took piano for two years. And then I quit when my piano teacher hit me if you can believe it.


Bonnie Raitt  22:33

Are you serious?


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  22:34

That bitch hit me.


Bonnie Raitt  22:36

I want to hit her back. Bless Sidney Poitier and to serve with love and not not to serve with love and in the heat of the night when he slept Rods, when he slept Rod Steiger. Yeah, unbelievable.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  22:48

But anyway, so that was the end of my piano lessons, but you wanted to play, like, rock tunes and stuff of the day. And I guess they wouldn’t let you do that or what?


Bonnie Raitt  22:59

No, no, I love taking my piano lessons. My teacher passed away. And I also fell in love with a guitar and I was playing a guitar more. And I got enough out of the piano. I only want to learn piano enough so that I could back myself up and play theme from Exodus and pop songs. You know, I had my mom was my dad’s musical director and rehearsals, and so we had racks and racks of drawers of alphabetize sheet music and I would just come on when it wasn’t time for me to learn my classical piece, I would play you know, Richard Rogers song. You know, if you’re if ever I would leave you I do all the Broadway songs. And I would play by ear and sing along with them. So I’m so lucky that I grew up with two incredible music parents.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  23:44

And let me ask you something. How do you know when a song is the right fit for you? Does it hit you in the gut right away? Do you know instantly?


Bonnie Raitt  23:52

I pretty much know when I hear a song, that I love so much that I just want to sing it. I mean it started with you know, when we’re little and Joan Baez. That was one thing to fall in love with that first Joan Baez or Odetta record but I just had I had to sing and play it, not for performing it but just to take in the communing with her, something about the song where it wasn’t enough to just hear her do it. And it wasn’t about her as much as it was just what that made me feel I wanted to make myself feel so I would sing for myself. And I’m still when I hear a song that I go nuts over, I go, man, we’re gonna kill that.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  24:33

And you know, right away, you know, right away. That’s so interesting because I have the, I mean, just like reading a script, for example, if you know, you know, it’s a gut feeling. It’s like Oh, I I have to do this is the feeling I have to do.


Bonnie Raitt  24:50

I have to just do a sidetrack and say you hurt my feelings is so great.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  24:56

Thank you.


Bonnie Raitt  24:58

It is so fantastic. As are all your performances, I just adore you. So don’t get me started. I bet you I bet you when you read that script you said, I have to do?


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  25:11

Well, I’ll tell you interestingly, first of all, what’s so uncanny is that you mentioned that because your voice if I close my eyes, your voice sounds a lot like Nicole Hall of Senators voice who’s the director and writer. But when I sat down with Nicole, before she’d even written the script, and she said, she told me the premise. Being that a woman who’s a writer who relies on her husband, they’re madly in love with one another for his support. And when he says he likes something, obviously, he likes something of hers. And then she only finds out that in the film is about her finding out that he’s been lying to her about her work, and he actually hates it.


Bonnie Raitt  25:52

It’s so profound, […] this so much that I almost wanted to go ask everybody in my life that is, are you lying to me? It’s very risky to do it with your romantic partner though.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  26:08

No shit.


Bonnie Raitt  26:09

I like to keep them kind of separate for that reason. I don’t know. Yeah, I don’t want to be asked what my opinion is of what they’re doing, or the other way around. I just think it sounds great.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  26:21

We have to take a really quick break my conversation with Bonnie Raitt continues in just a bit.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  26:38

Now, your record company, your label is called Red Wing, right?


Bonnie Raitt  26:42



Julia Louis-Dreyfus  26:43

First of all, why is it called Red Wing?


Bonnie Raitt  26:45

Because of this shock of here on the side.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  26:47

I thought so.


Bonnie Raitt  26:48

It’s down and then I put a little white streak in the bird wing. And the little logo. It’s like, the Red Wing with the little white streak.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  26:56

I love that.


Bonnie Raitt  26:57

Which I’ve had since I was 24, by the way, just showed up out of the blue. And I’ve had that white streak and when I finally it’s 31 when my red hair kind of faded a little bit, it was still just that one white streak and I tried Dine, dyeing it when I dyed my whole hand and I just went you know, I’m used to this thing being here. It felt weird. So it’s always asked me why do you dye your hair white? I go because it’s the only real color that’s been there all this time. I just never touched.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  27:24

It’s so chic, it’s so unusual. I love everything about it. And it’s a matter of fact, you’ll be you’ll get a kick out of this. I’m doing a Marvel movie.


Bonnie Raitt  27:24

And you are?


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  27:28

Yeah, but listen to this. I’m wearing hair with a streak in it in the front.


Bonnie Raitt  27:39

Get outta here, fantastic.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  27:41

Swear to God.


Bonnie Raitt  27:41

I’ve been told by someone that said, Oh, it means you’ve been kissed by an angel. So just wear that when you?


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  27:47

Oh, I’ve been kissed by an angel. Can I say something funny? I’m gonna use that line in the movie. Can I use it good? Yes, I’m gonna.


Bonnie Raitt  27:54

It was it was the hospice nurse that was there with my dad when he passed away in the Palisades. She said, I’ve always loved that white streak. You know, it means you’ve been kissed by an age.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  28:05

Oh, I love hospice workers.


Bonnie Raitt  28:07

As she opens the window when my dad passed away and let his spirit out. I mean, whoa, I said, okay, I’m gonna take, I’m taking that. And I’m more I’m gonna be kissed by an angel. That’s why I have the white streak.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  28:18

Oh, my God.


Bonnie Raitt  28:21

I mean, it was within wasn’t at the exact moment is just mean that was the same person who was kind of connected to the other realms in a way that when you are blessed enough to be able to be with a loved one as they’re getting ready to go. And those angels, those saints, those hospice nurses are there helping you get through it? She just said, does anyone mind if I open the window? And then he passed away? And she you know, she said, I like to let the Spirit out, you know, and I just was, it was so moving to me. I wasn’t anything I would question because she was an incredibly empathetic, compassionate, wonderful nurse. Well, not only my dad, but the whole family gets through that.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  29:02

You know, I think hospice workers are the most admirable, the most tender. My dad passed away with hospice workers. And I had the same experience, although now having heard this about the window, I should have opened the window, but I know his his spirit definitely found a way out of the house. Anyway. I mean, we’re all over the place, which is good. That means well,


Bonnie Raitt  29:32

We were talking about my record company.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  29:34

Oh, yeah so wait a minute. So obviously, songwriting, generally speaking is a male dominated field. And I think, isn’t it? Is it not?


Bonnie Raitt  29:44

I don’t think so.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  29:46

Well, you would know better than I thought it was.


Bonnie Raitt  29:48

Well, I’m just saying that I’m not a country music artists but I was surprised with this amount of zillions of streams and appreciation of so many women artists in the country field that it turned out that for a couple of decades, they were mostly just playing guys on the radio. And I couldn’t understand what that gap was, you know, like we can understand the wage gap. Are you still are you kidding? Still there? But no, I think I mean, Joni Mitchell and it’s so many great Carole King. Great singer songwriters and artists have always been instrumentalist as well, but.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  30:27

Well, we like when you’re writing a song, Bonnie, is it important to you to write a song through a female lens? I mean.



No, I don’teven think about.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  30:37

You don’t think about gender. You’re just writing.


Bonnie Raitt  30:39

What when I sing Angel from Montgomery, yeah, some of my strongest songs have been written by men about women that Nobody’s Girl is a beautiful song from nick of time, Larry, John McNally. And oh my god, there’s a whole slew of them that are so inside what women are feeling. There’s a song of mine on longing in their hearts called All At once, so it was the first time I wrote in the third person, about a woman that had a fight with her daughter, and her teenage daughter. And you know, it was just like a short story, that was really, that really felt good to write and sing from a woman’s point of view. So I sing from women’s point of view. Women be wise, you know.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  31:18

Keep your mouth shut. Don’t advertise your man, I love those lyrics.


Bonnie Raitt  31:23

Oh, thank you. I think I written a lot of really strong.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  31:27

So please, just just like that is incredible. I mean, I was just really listening to that yesterday, and then this morning, and every time I hear it, I cry, I lay my head upon his chest. I was with my point again.


Bonnie Raitt  31:41

I mean, thank you, thank you. I watched that go down on TV, a news team brought a crew for a woman to meet the man who had her son’s heart. And that just inspired me. I mean, I wrote a story about a woman who actually caused the death of her child because she was looking the other way. And she just was so ashamed and so horrified. She just disappeared. And there was no way for her ever to have fun. Any redemption, no, she was just one of those people that that crazy lady down the street with the blinds closed. And that this guy who had her son’s heart that she didn’t even know was donated, spent all this time to find her. But anyway, it answered, there are a lot more songs I sing. From a woman’s point of view. I should probably say I right, from a woman’s point of view, and not not I just don’t think about a conscious.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  32:30

I understand, well, I mean, it’s your experience as a woman, so that’s why you don’t think about it consciously, I would imagine. But I mean, also, I wanted to mention too, that your cover of Baby Mine.


Bonnie Raitt  32:42

Oh, I love that one.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  32:45

So I like I have to say that when I was listening to that on repeat when I had my first son, and by the way produced by Dawn was who don and Gemma are good friends of ours.


Bonnie Raitt  32:59

Of course, they would be good friends of yours, aren’t they the greatest?


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  33:03

The greatest.


Bonnie Raitt  33:03

Oh, and Sheila? I know because I mean, I knew Sheila more because she booked me for David Letterman.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  33:09

Oh my god, speaking of which, do you know we met on Letterman?


Bonnie Raitt  33:13

Yes, we did. I even I remember I was going to cut she’s just built like a rocket ship. I just remember loving you but man, I am gonna work out more.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  33:23

No, stop it.


Bonnie Raitt  33:25

I remember being thrilled that we’re on at the same time.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  33:28

My god me too. And I have a picture I just have to show you. Here it is, and I mean, I know our listeners can’t see how do I get this big here? Can you see how do I do this?


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  33:29

I see it. That’s oh sweet. Oh my God.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  33:43

Isn’t that fun?


Bonnie Raitt  33:44

Are we are we foxes or what?


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  33:46

We are Stone Cold fucking foxes.


Bonnie Raitt  33:49

I love it. And I was so happy that you were you know friends with Jane Fonda. Your political and I just I love who you are in the world too. So you know, we’re gonna go on and on like this people we’re going to just shake their head and go. You guys just make a date and sleep together, get it over.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  34:06

Well, fuck them. We’re not I mean, we’re doing what we want to do. We can talk about anything we want. What was it like being on the road all the time with men? Was it great? Did you love it? Did they drive you crazy? All of them?


Bonnie Raitt  34:20

No, no, I love I loved it. But I have two brothers. You know, I’m not a I’m not a girly girl, anyway, so it was really fun. Cuz I was kind of a tomboy. I never identified with, you know, hair and makeup. And you know, I just wasn’t into shopping. And I didn’t want to be a wife and mother. You know, I just.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  34:39

Want from the gecko is from the gecko.


Bonnie Raitt  34:41

Yeah, it was a big role model from one when that book and movie came out.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  34:41



Bonnie Raitt  34:41

When she was not accepted in a man’s world of surfing and then she got really good at it.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  34:47

Yes, you’re the […].


Bonnie Raitt  34:53

Yeah, and then I’ve I’ve also said this on interviews, but I really loved Amanda Blake, because she had read here she owned a salon and she didn’t have to get married. But they were way in love. And I just thought that was so cool. Because a lot of women, the mothers of my friends in LA when I was growing up, somehow in the middle of our teen years, a lot of them were getting dumped. You know, the husbands were marrying younger women. You know, either the wives later, I realized might have been pre menopausal or, when the kids, you know, my dad left my mom when we were on, I was 19 and found a younger woman that he was closer with. I mean, I don’t know what went on between them closed doors, but parenting teenagers can put a lot of stress on a relationship. And my dad was away a lot. And you know, my mom was you know, it was difficult. And so I just got the message with I just don’t want to have to depend on any guy. You know, I just rather be way in love, but stay independent and be the not the other woman like breaking up people’s homes. Even before feminism, I didn’t want to have that model of being married and living in the suburbs and having kids.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  36:08

Did you get pushback on that from anybody?


Bonnie Raitt  36:11

No, I didn’t. I was just, I was just naturally a little a tough girl, you know. And I put adopted that blues mama pesona early on when with my band jump ahead from teenage years to my first album, I couldn’t stand the way I sang because it was so fruity. And I wanted to sound like edit James and it wasn’t going to happen.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  36:32

Wait a minute. Wait, you couldn’t stand it it on the first album?


Bonnie Raitt  36:36

I hated, hated, but I love doing it. I just didn’t like listening to it. So I would adopt this kind of swagger and drink and smoke. And you know, talk. I mean, I listened to some bootleg live shows of my early folk days where I was just like, get what I just who was I was I adopted a persona as if I was somebody that did own a saloon.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  37:01

Can you listen back to your music? Or you can’t? Is it hard for you to listen? I mean, that’s you’re talking about your first album in early days. But is it hard for you to listen back?


Bonnie Raitt  37:09

I have great affection and compassion and a lot of great memories of who she was back then. You know, I’m proud of proud of the music that I made. But do I like listening to my voice? Not really. I mean, maybe as I got older, I could like it more. And when you see when you see yourself, do you cringe when you see earlies footage of yours?


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  37:30

I don’t like and I gotta tell you, Bonnie. I don’t like it yeah, I really don’t. I I’m very would I mean, there are a few exceptions, but I’m pretty judgy about it and I just watched mistakes. I see mistakes I’m making and.


Bonnie Raitt  37:47



Julia Louis-Dreyfus  37:47

No, it’s true, I do, which is, you know, but I mean, I like certain things. There are certain bits and bobs I can watch. But for the most part, I would say I just sort of wince.


Bonnie Raitt  37:58

And I have a lot of I have a lot of that too. I know exactly what you mean. And here’s the thing that I found out.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  38:04



Bonnie Raitt  38:04

How about when you think you’re linking a cool looking face at the […]


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  38:09

Oh please see.


Bonnie Raitt  38:11

Here’s see the results. And you look like you’re just trying to go to the bathroom.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  38:16

You look like such a mess. I know, and it’s funny you say that because somebody posted something of me on Instagram or somewhere. And it was anyway with some red carpet event. And I gotten it in my head that I smile too much on the red carpet?


Bonnie Raitt  38:31

I’m right with you or you’re gone with it.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  38:33

So I’m standing there and I’m sort of looking over my shoulder and sort of like a slightly open mouth and I’m not smiling and I look like I’m comatose in the picture.


Bonnie Raitt  38:46

I just I mean, it’s really so embarrassing. I just had to just look at a whole bunch of shots where I could have sworn I was I aren’t even live shots now I’m editing helping pick this the promo pictures for the Austin City Limits show we cut all these shots of me playing guitar they just look hideous. I mean, I’m never I’m now I’m going to be self conscious about how I play.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  39:09

Oh, no, you must be.


Bonnie Raitt  39:11

I don’t want to be I want to just, I just want to wear I wear a COVID mask and just make whatever face I want.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  39:17

Let me explain to you something when you have that guitar on nobody holds a guitar like you. Nobody has swagger like you do. It is incredible. So under no circumstances are you allowed to do a head game on yourself about holding back guitar. I will not permit it.


Bonnie Raitt  39:33

I will I will take guitar parts fine. I just have to make sure that I’m not making the face that I just saw in about 10 photos.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  39:39

But your voice has changed as you’ve gotten older. It’s gotten a little bit deeper is it? I guess I mean, I think that happens naturally.


Bonnie Raitt  39:47

Yeah, yeah, it happens you get lower. You get more notes down below as you get older and it sounds more […]


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  39:55



Bonnie Raitt  39:56

I feel like I have more more agility, I know that I have to say when I look at my pals Jackson Browne and you know, Bruce Hornsby, Bruce Springsteen, like a lot of people, men and women that are touring now their voices have never been better. And it’s really great because we’re not we’re not 50 we’re like 70s.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  40:16

It’s fantastic. It’s a huge benefit to ageing, isn’t it?


Bonnie Raitt  40:20

And look at Tony Bennett and Willie and Bibi. I mean, my dad was singing his butt off when he was in his 80s incredible I mean, when people go, oh, are you going to retire? I go, why would I?


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  40:30

Why would you do that? No, keep going. Never stop, never stop. Actually, I’m circling back to somebody because I really did want to ask you, all these fabulous people in blues, women in particular, and sippie Wallace, and I know you talk about her like she was your grandmother. I do need to know what cuz she was like a wise old lady for you. Correct?


Bonnie Raitt  40:55

Yeah, exactly. And I hung out all my 20s with these people who are like my age now.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  41:02

Yeah. So what kind of, if you recall, what kind of wisdom did she impart to you? What, what did you learn from her?


Bonnie Raitt  41:10

Well, I’ll tell you what was great. She had all of the inherent swagger still, but she was bemused. And I don’t think that when you’re in your 20s, you’re amused by men’s bad behavior. You know, in her case, you know, if somebody should have paid royalties, and she just wasn’t, you know, she was just really happy to be appreciated. And she would just sit and listen, listen to us clowning around in the dressing room, you know, and she would just that I just looked over at her and she’s like, not winking, but almost she was bemused and relaxed and having the time of her life. And just I said, man, I want to get to that Yoda place. Muddy was like that. John Lee Hooker was like that a lot. Fred McDowell, Mississippi, Fred McDowell, Sippy was, you know, when you’re talking about Ruth Brown, who got did get ripped off and build Atlantic Records, she was from a different generation in the fifth, you know, in the 50s, she kind of built Atlanta Greg, she was pissed. So you don’t cross her but Sippy was for me as a young woman to get to be with somebody that was so wise about men. And she said, you can make me do what you want to do. But you got to know how that was one of the songs of hers. I picked her songs because, you know, feminists would say, what do you mean women? Be wise, keep your mouth shut, don’t advertise your man, that if you talk about yours, they’re gonna come up and steal them. Well, excuse me, that’s what happens, you know, when women don’t do that to each other? I go, Oh, really? What world are you living in?


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  42:48

Right, exactly.


Bonnie Raitt  42:50

You’re gonna brag on why somebody’s so too great lover, and then you’re surprised when you’re on the road and they take a little taste? Come on.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  42:57

What but, you know, I first of all, that’s so funny because you’re you’re sort of describing her and her way of being sort of bemused and it sounds like relaxed. It’s kind of how you’re describing yourself right now. To a certain extent, right?


Bonnie Raitt  43:12

I hope I hope I reached the Sippy Wallace level of amusement. Because it really you got to just sit back and go. It’s all it’s out of my control. But, I mean, there’s a different layer, there’s layers of political stuff that that are on top of being alive now that I don’t know whether any amusement would be called any, you know, but I’m just saying it in her in her as a young woman, she she was just, she was like, what I’m aspiring to feel like now like, okay, she’s okay.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  43:47

She’s okay, yeah.


Bonnie Raitt  43:49

She’s like she couldn’t with it all. She’s sitting with it all. She can breathe deep. Breathe deep. Funny, present, bring it when she needs to, you know, right. She just she didn’t seem to care about what people thought about her, all that stuff that I mean, we’re tyrannized by the weight thing by the you know, am I pretty enough


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  44:11

I now believe me. What about ageism? Oh, yeah. Talk about that, Bonnie.


Bonnie Raitt  44:17

I think in my folk Americana wing of the music business. We only get more legendary and people respect us more as we get older. I don’t see the I don’t see the the discrimination that leading lady’s got in my dad’s business when Connie Towers and other people turned 50 and other actresses.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  44:40

They were over.


Bonnie Raitt  44:42

And so I in my world, I did not face sexism or ageism. But I did face men in the beginning not liking to be told. But that I was self managed that I was the music director of my albums. When I couldn’t, you know, that was odd to be told what you were doing not correctly or you’d like somebody to do it differently in the studio when when I couldn’t play that instrument as well as they could. So like, who are you who died and made you the boss?


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  45:15

So how did you talk about that? I mean, how did you? How did you manage that?


Bonnie Raitt  45:23

Around that? Yeah, you know, first of all you try to get make sure you’re only in the room with people that have a lot of respect for you, and most of that time, and that was the case. There was like one one record where I was with a lot of really heavy hitters in New York, and I was only 24. And there was an actual producer, Jerry Raghava. And so what I would do, oftentimes, it would be a partnership, and when something tricky needed to be said, sometimes I would ask him to rephrase it. He’d be like my Secretary of State.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  45:53

Uh huh, yeah, he was the diplomat.


Bonnie Raitt  45:56

He was a UN ambassador that went in and said that what she means to say here is, sounds great, it sounds great but.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  46:04

Did you ever have any self doubt? Or were you did you stand pretty firm or sort of a combo?


Bonnie Raitt  46:10

Probably a combo.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  46:11

I would think isn’t that.


Bonnie Raitt  46:12

You know, I when it’s when it comes to music, my ears tell me when something’s work. And I cannot lie. If it doesn’t sound right. If the grooves too rushed, or the playing isn’t that track, wasn’t it?  I have to be completely on. And so I’ve and I trust that implicitly since the beginning, I can tell when it’s the right take. And pretty much the people that I picked to work with, they feel the same way so I haven’t had a lot of pushback on that. The pushback sometimes is in the record company, where they don’t like to see a woman represent themselves. And if you say, how come you don’t put enough records in the stores after I just sold out that city. They don’t like to hear that from the artists, so you, they want to have an intermediate and it’s usually a guy.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  46:59



Julia Louis-Dreyfus  47:00

Stay put my conversation with Bonnie Raitt continues in just a moment.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  47:17

So I want to talk a little bit about the relationship between art and pain, especially music, you know, you know, because there’s this mythology around this sort of the out of control lifestyle and the end and pain and then an elevated artistry as a result of that. And I mean, you’ve talked about confronting this, when you were talking about getting sober on your, your sobriety journey. Were you afraid that when you got sober, that it would be harder to make music or to perform? Or were you? What did you have confidence about that? How were you feeling?


Bonnie Raitt  47:56

It’s interesting, I haven’t been asked this in a very long time. And it’s an interesting when we started out speaking about the uppercase and lowercase I was worried that by personally becoming more at peace and serene, and well, that I wouldn’t the edge that I had that the suffering, that the, you know, anger and the resentment and the betrayal, and I’m singing all of your pain, I’m singing for you, I’m going through it too. And I had this bad relationship. And, you know, I picked all those relationships. So I could be authentic when I sang about. But I’m just saying that what what happens when you get out of agony and you’re not suffering anymore? And you’re not paying? What if you? What if it doesn’t sound as authentic when you’re up there trying to play and in fact, it was just as if the windshield was clear, and I could be more authentically me and feel even stronger. And I watched Stevie Ray Vaughan come out of rehab, and he was worried about whether he’d be able to play the same whether he had the same fire, where, where’s the source of that fire? Is it suffering and pain and self doubt? And all of those even existential questions. And it turns out that the miracle that happens when you can be coming from a different place that’s not inauthentic and phony or a crutch of becoming somebody else or putting in chemicals to try to be that other person. You can be like the Wizard actually came up with the solutions all by himself without being behind there. So that was what was beautiful. And for me, singing, singing my songs straight on because I didn’t sing in my shows messed up I kind of waited till after the show to get high so it wasn’t that different from but being the person that I became when I was more authentically okay, with the smaller case me only made the bigger case me stronger, I think and more compelling and more passionate. And the suffering is right there. I can remember what those pain when I sing, I can’t make you love me. It’s as if I just went through it.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  50:04

It’s like what that, like you said, The Wizard says, you had it all along. It was, you know.


Bonnie Raitt  50:09

That is what, that’s I just got goosebumps from that. That’s what I think I want to know, I want to know that I had it all along, that I don’t have to put it on. Um, it’s not a role that I’m playing. You know, and so it’s, it’s a beautiful thing to just feel so in your moment, when I’m, when I’m singing and playing music and it’s working. It’s like you when you’re when you’re doing your thing, and it’s just perfect, yes, the ultimate.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  50:38

It’s the ultimate.


Bonnie Raitt  50:39

Melding of what you were supposed to be doing on this earth this time. And I know what a gift it is, I’m not gonna I’m not going to cheapen it and mess it up.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  50:46

Right, that’s good. That makes me happy to hear. We were talking about it earlier with your dad in hospice. Grief is obviously a subject that comes up a lot on this show because, you know, we have women who have lived a long time, therefore, they’ve lost important people in their lives. Has music helps you process your grief.


Bonnie Raitt  51:11

Absolutely, it is probably the longing for what I wish I could have and love or didn’t get as a little kid. That’s not grief, but it’s longing and the loss of so many things in my life that I didn’t share a show at the time. Well, I just mean relationships that because I’m on the road all the time. I wish I had nurtured more. You know, that’s something we all kick ourselves for but the loss of so many people has been when I go to sing now I’m just I sing dimming of the day from my brother, Steve, and I wrote this rocker song with my guitar player, I put the words to it called on the list. I’m living for the ones who didn’t make it. You know, and that helps to get the rockers actually get the energy out as much as the sad songs. So that Angel from Montgomery, I mean, wipes me out. I mean, there’s so many different songs that have ache in them.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  52:15

Uh huh.


Bonnie Raitt  52:16

And grief is a big part of that, because it’s been part of my life the last 20 years especially.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  52:21

Yeah, right so it’s cathartic that way, right, Bonnie?


Bonnie Raitt  52:24

Absolutely. And I know the audience is feeling that. And when I sing just like that, I try not to make eye contact with people in the audience. But the guys in the band will tell me those people sobbing in the front, you know, you know, or I’ve gotten letters from a woman, women that have said, I’ve never seen my husband cry. We’ve been married 40 years. And when you sing, I turn and look at him and he was crying. I can make you love me.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  52:51

Oh, yeah.


Bonnie Raitt  52:52

So I know that I’m holding a really holy space on those songs like Angel from Montgomery, and you know, the feisty ones I’m holding that space. And you know, and you’re asking about, do I write from women’s point of view? You know, yeah, I’ve written a whole lot of songs. You know, meet me halfway standing by the same ol love down to you. There’s a whole bunch of tunes, baby, don’t you know, I’m on your side that are about probably, even though we were finished talking about it, I just want I’m standing up for these positions, these lyrics that I pick, I’m standing up for those people in the audience that need to say that to their partners, and a lot of them are women. So yeah, I mean, I, I take back saying I don’t think about gender. I think about me, but because I’m a woman I’m speaking about well beat me halfway.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  53:40

I mean, that’s your default position. That’s where you are. And I like that you use the word holy, because I think I think your music is holy.


Bonnie Raitt  53:51

Oh, thank you.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  53:53

I do.


Bonnie Raitt  53:55

It feels that way when I’m seeing it. Thank you for receiving it. I really means a lot.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  54:01

I do. I totally receive it with open arms. And what did what a dream, what a dream.


Bonnie Raitt  54:10

Can you imagine how it feels for me to be off the road since October and have my first time being me again, be with you receiving me with such an I mean, I knew you were a fan, but not to the extent of soul connection that we have. And so many things line up, you know, and the important and all the important. The real thing is and the real thing, and I admire you so much for you to like me is just, it’s really, right. It’s, it’s mutual, thank you.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  54:42

Tell me, I’m going to just take this moment to ask a couple of very quick questions that I like to ask the ladies when we’re talking on the show. Is there something you go back and tell yourself at 21?


Bonnie Raitt  54:56

Oh, wow, try to pick partners that are more your peers than someone that’s just feeding what you need. And companionship and being okay, you know, see if you can make more of parody and the decision and that’s hard to do when you travel all the time. But then no.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  55:19

That’s good advice.


Bonnie Raitt  55:20

You know, but I wished I had, I had, I’ve had relationships with people that were really even on many, many levels. And those were the ones that had a shot. And when I when I aimed lower, and just sort of like, filled up on fast food for that desire. And I didn’t I was holding out for the higher one later. Well, next thing you know, you know, you’ve I would have liked to have known that sooner.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  55:49

Okay, that’s really good advice. What are you looking forward to Bonnie?


Bonnie Raitt  55:55

Oh, gosh, oh, peace, sanity, coming together. Putting aside our differences and an end to this. A redirect of the road we’re on to one that’s more solid and more loving and more compassionate and more just, and may we be at peace, may I be at peace, may I find a way to be effective, and I’m looking forward to making a difference if I can help make that happen. That’s the future I want to see.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  56:34

Well, that’s the perfect way to end this conversation.


Bonnie Raitt  56:38

Well, I’m a basket case.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  56:42

I am too.


Bonnie Raitt  56:43

I’m singing I’m I’m going to go sing on a record by the man who co wrote I can’t make you love me. And the Mariah and the wonderful Joe Henry that produced like eight songs I’ve put out on the last few one of my favorite songwriters and the two of them are collaborating on a record together and I’m gonna go finally get to pay back oh my greed by seeing on his he sings like an angel. I mean, Scott, you know how Michael MacDonald’s voice on earthly beautiful, Mike Reed is made several albums of his own. He’s just so but for a former Cincinnati Bengal football player to have come up with a music for I can make you love me. And with Allen Shamblin come up with that, don’t patronize me.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  57:27

Don’t patronize me.


Bonnie Raitt  57:28

Oh my god.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  57:30

Oh my god, so you’re going to that now.


Bonnie Raitt  57:33

And I’m going to take this lump in my throat that you’ve watched carefully honed for the last two hours. And I’m going to use that and sing on this beautiful song that they did together.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  57:44

Oh, I’m so happy. Oh, I’m so happy. I can’t wait to hear it, I love.


Bonnie Raitt  57:48

Me too, I can’t wait and just think now it doesn’t exist. And in a couple of hours, it will always exist. All right so amazing. All right, I can’t wait to see you again and make a difference together and have a blast and laugh and hike and do all that stuff.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  58:03



Bonnie Raitt  58:04

We are one.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  58:05

We are one, Bonnie Raitt. The most wonderful, the most authentic.


Bonnie Raitt  58:10

Julia, oh, thank you for everything. Thank you, Julia.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  58:13

I love you too, be well.


Bonnie Raitt  58:15

You too.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  58:19

Oh my god, I love her, I’m like lying on the floor. Oh, Bonnie Raitt. Wow, okay, I gotta get my mom on Zoom. So I can tell her all about this.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  58:38

Hi, Mama, you look so nice with your red lipstick.


Mother  58:41

Oh, they should I put some red lipstick on, what do you think of it?


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  58:44

I love it. I think it’s chic.


Mother  58:46

Thank you, it’s sometimes I used to see a lady with with red lips. And I couldn’t ever decide if I thought it was good or bad.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  58:52

I’ll tell you when it’s bad. It’s bad when the lipsticks out of bounds. As soon as the lipstick goes out of bounds. That’s a that’s a big red flag. Pull over and get that fixed.


Mother  59:03

Yeah. But this is a lipstick is very dry. So in other words, I have I have done it right.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  59:10

Yes, it looks perfect. Okay, wait, put your mouth closer to the screen. Let me say, oh, yeah, mom. It’s good, yeah, it’s very good. All right, well, that’s all we have time for today.


Mother  59:23

So much for activism. The good of the planet.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  59:29

Okay, so, I just had a very lengthy conversation with Bonnie Raitt, who is a hero of mine. And I have to tell you that I started the intro, and I could feel that I was just going to lose it. I knew I was gonna start crying. From the second I started to talk to her. And I felt that way through the entire interview, and I actually did cry a number of times, talking about her and her music and what she’s meant to me, but it’s so much Um, can we talk about trying not to cry? Have you? Have you ever been in a position where you were trying not to cry and you couldn’t get your shit together? And you did, and it was like, bad. I’m not saying it was bad that I was crying talking to her, but that it was awkward or anything like that.


Mother  1:00:18

Yeah, there was one time when I, I met Carl Sandburg’s daughter, and I just started to cry. I mean, I was so overwhelmed with being close to somebody that was a daughter of Carl Sandburg that I felt like I was sort of in this state of grace. And I, but it came as a surprise. I mean, I didn’t expect it. And I couldn’t I couldn’t stop that feeling of overwhelmed. Sort of both join melancholia. I don’t know how to explain it. But it was. It was it. In retrospect, it was wonderful to feel that way, kneeling the glory of the world, right, letting the glory of the world come in through a person.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  1:01:01



Mother  1:01:01



Julia Louis-Dreyfus  1:01:01

Did she did she respond? Was she was it awkward? Or was she happy to receive that? Or what would you recall?


Mother  1:01:13

One of the songs that we sang in those days, because we love folk music was the Colorado trail. And Carl Sandburg wrote it. And we had literally been singing it the night before. And, and I started to tell her that I couldn’t tell her. I couldn’t say it. Because it was so I was so overwhelmed.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  1:01:38

Oh, that’s so good. That makes me feel better today.


Mother  1:01:41

I didn’t know that, that that Bonnie was a big hero of yours. I tell me about that.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  1:01:47

Well her music has been a part of my life, of you know, from being a teenager forward. And she is an unusual singer and songwriter, in that she’s a woman. And she plays blues guitar like nobody’s business. And she sings soulfully her that her style of music speaks to me, I you know, you know how you have certain styles that you love. I love her style, of musicianship. And she’s very, she’s just a remarkable person. And we were talking about the holiness of, of her music, and I think her music is holy. So it was just it was it was really intense, and just incredibly heartwarming, and I love her to death.


Mother  1:02:38

You know, it’s, there are some things that go beyond words and something that happens to us, when we’re in contact with those people or what they what they represent to us or what they’ve said, that means something to us. But there are people that are, I guess, in a way bigger than life or that are who who just have opened you up to certain things. I mean, what can you say? It’s just your your your body and soul just is like hoof?


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  1:03:05

I know.


Mother  1:03:06

Exactly, exactly.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  1:03:08

Well, Mommy, I’m going to talk to you again later very soon as matter of fact, because I’m coming to visit you but thanks for talking now, I love you.


Mother  1:03:15

And I love you and don’t start crying. When you do, I’d love to be that figure for you.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  1:03:26

You are mom you are.


Mother  1:03:27

Much loved.


CREDITS  1:03:45

There’s more Wiser Than Me with Lemonada Premium subscribers get exclusive access to bonus content from each episode of the show. Subscribe now in Apple podcasts. Make sure you’re following Wiser Than Me on social media. We’re on Instagram and Tiktok at @Wiser ThanMe, and we’re on Facebook at Wiser Than Me podcast. Wiser Than Me is a production of Lemonada Media. Created and hosted by me Julia Louie Dreyfus. This show is produced by Kryssy Pease, Jamela Zarha Williams, Alex McOwen, and Hoja Lopez. Brad Hall is a consulting producer, Rachel Neil is VP of new content and our SVP of weekly content and production is Steve Nelson. Executive Producers are Paula Kaplan, Stephanie Wittels Wachs, Jessica Cordova Kramer, and me. The show is mixed by Johnny Vince Evans with engineering help from James Sparber. And our music was written by Henry Hall, who you can also find on Spotify or wherever you listen to your music. Special thanks to Will Schlegel, and of course, my mother Judith Bowles. Follow Wiser Than Me wherever you get your podcasts. And if there’s a wise old lady in your life, listen up.

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