“I Can’t Make You Love Me” performed by Bonnie Raitt (1991)

23 12 2008

You really can’t go wrong with a Bonnie Raitt album.  She’s been making great music for a long time, with a firm foundation in the blues (I practically learned how to play the guitar to her 1982 album, “Green Light,” so you can blame her for all the noise).  This track, dominated by piano and keyboards,  is not typical for her.  Usually her music showcases her impressive chops on the guitar, but in this track Ms Raitt just lets her earthy voice and the stunning piano-centric arrangement (with Bruce Hornsby) speak for themselves.

This song is almost too much to bear.  It’s achingly sad and heartbreaking, and there is a divine beauty to it.  A hint at redemption, of final self-awareness.  A chance to admit it’s over, making a new day and a fresh start just a little more possible.

One of the guys who wrote this song, Mike Reid, used to play on the defensive line of the Cincinnati Bengals.  I’m guessing a large guy.  A large “jock,” a type of person I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve underestimated before.  It reminds me that you can’t judge the depth of a person with your eyes alone.  Sometimes you have to listen for it.

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