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By CRYSTAL CAVINESS, United Press International  |  Oct. 24, 2002 at 5:50 PM
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NASHVILLE, Oct. 24 (UPI) -- The title of Bonnie Bramlett's new CD is as much a proclamation as an affirmation.

"I'm Still The Same," released by Audium Records, is now on the streets, boasting the powerhouse music of one of the industry's most impressive singers.

For Bramlett, "I'm Still The Same" is her slice of life.

"It's about being single at this age," the 58-year-old said, "and still feeling the same inside ... (The single) 'No Man's Land' is bottom line about menopause ... It's my age experience. There's a lot going on and it's all mine. It's all mine."

Bramlett's new record comes decades after her run with Delaney & Bonnie & Friends in the late 1960s and early 1970s, as well her time as a solo artist following her divorce from Delaney Bramlett. She spent time in the 1990s in Los Angeles pursuing acting. She even showed up as a regular for a season or two on the popular sitcom "Roseanne," starring Roseanne Barr. Following a second divorce, she headed for the mountains of Idaho.

It was not until July 4, 1999, that she re-emerged from her mountain hideaway at the urging of friends to relocate to Nashville.

"This place is like Tibet for songwriters," she said of Nashville. "You can reach out and feel the energy."

Indeed, old friends surrounded her and "picked her up out of the storm," she said, giving her the confidence and support to make her new album, while serving the multiple roles of singer, songwriter and producer.

"I came into this project a hurt little puppy, confused and disillusioned. I have powerful friends and they held me up."

To say that "I'm Still The Same" fits neatly into one category would be untrue. Bramlett sings the soulful R&B for which she's so well-known along with blues, gospel and jazz. Some of the songs are new, some go back to her days with Delaney.

One particularly interesting tune is "Superstar," a song that she co-wrote with Leon Russell that became a No. 1 hit for The Carpenters, as well as being covered by the likes of Bette Midler, Luther Vandross and Cher.

David Corlew, executive producer on the album, encouraged Bramlett to record "Superstar."

Bramlett recalls that he said, "Here's your shot, Bonnie, to make that song what you always wanted."

"It's exactly the way I intended it, because I'm such a drama queen on that one," Bramlett said of the new version. "I hadn't sang that song in 20-some years ... I started to sing ... I became overwhelmed and just lost it ... that was a spontaneous ending, not a charted performance," she said about the emotional ending of the song.

With her new project under her belt, Bramlett is filling her schedule with more recording.

She has recorded a song for an upcoming George Harrison tribute project that Koch Entertainment is releasing.

The project, she said, will include "dear friends of George Harrison." She can certainly number herself in that group. She chose to sing "Something," one of Harrison's most memorable songs. Bramlett has a special connection to that song.

"When George wrote 'Something,' he told Delaney and me that he had taken the song to Paul (McCartney) and John (Lennon) but they didn't say much about the song," Bramlett said, remembering that long-ago time. "Delaney said 'Why don't you cut it yourself?' So he did."

Harrison was only one of Delaney's legendary friends.

She has toured or recorded with the likes of Eric Clapton, Leon Russell, Gram Parsons, Stephen Stills, The Allman Brothers, Joe Cocker, Little Feat, Steve Cropper and Delbert McClinton.

And yet, on this project, Bramlett chooses to focus on her life now rather than the glory days of the Sixties and Seventies.

"I'm in a good place to learn and grow and learn," she said. "The lessons are in the storm, Honey."

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