Bonnie Raitt doesn't like the phrase "opening act."
Singer/songwriter Maia Sharp says Raitt calls her a "special guest" -- even though she is technically opening the show. When Sharp called herself an opening act, Raitt corrected her.
"She wouldn't let it go," Sharp said in a recent phone interview.
It illustrates a certain humanness that helps drive Raitt's appeal. She's a legendary musician known for songs like "Something to Talk About," "I Can't Make You Love Me" and "Love Sneakin' Up On You."
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Raitt and Sharp perform at the RiverCenter's Bill Heard Theatre on Saturday.
The tour is in support of Raitt's recently released "Slipstream" disc, her first new album in seven years. It's Raitt's 19th album. In recent years, she's dealt with multiple deaths, including her parents and brother.
"I took a hiatus from touring and recording to get back in touch with the other part of my life," Raitt says on her website. "On the road, under stress, it's hard to stay in balance and move forward."
Raitt remains an activist. Among her causes? She's a founding member of Musicians United for Safe Energy. She initiated the Bonnie Raitt Guitar Project in 1995 with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.
Raitt's passion for social activism helps erase visions of a gap between her life and the real world.
The result? A sense that all fans are "special guests" at Raitt's shows. She attracts music lovers who feed into Sharp's on-stage energy.
"Her crowds are always a fit for me," said Sharp, who grew up in Los Angeles.
Sharp is promoting her album, "Change the Ending," which was released at the end of August. Through time, her primary career focus has shifted from being a saxophone player to a songwriter to a touring singer.
Artists like Raitt, Cher and Trisha Yearwood have recorded Sharp's material. "I just jump at any good, smart chance to get out there," she said of promoting her career.
A stint as Raitt's "special guest" seems in line with that goal.
Sonya Sorich, reporter, can be reached at email@example.com or 706-571-8516.