THE BOSTON GLOBE – Born in Capetown, South Africa, Juli Finn moved to Colorado at age 4, and then to Tacoma, Wash., at age 19, where, she says, she “grew up” for a second time.
“I started playing guitar in high school. I went the classical route as well,” she said. “My passion is rich instrumental rock guitar.”
She won a scholarship to Berklee College of Music in Boston and became an undergraduate at the age of 42. She has since pursued a career that includes live performing, recording, songwriting, and teaching music.
Her husband, Jon Finn, has been a guitar professor at Berklee for more than 30 years and is the author of five educational books. He grew up in Westwood and has since lived on the South Shore, describing his life as “sort of the opposite of Juli’s in terms of transformations.”
At Berklee, he launched the Jon Finn Group ensemble, which has produced three internationally released albums and performed widely. In addition to his instructional guitar books, he has written for Guitar magazine and performed as a guest solo artist for the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Boston Pops.
Each has pursued a successful musical performance career on their own. “But when we found each other,” Juli Finn said, “we quickly understood that the music we create together transcends our solo work tenfold.”
Performing together, they lend their own interpretations to covers of blues, rock, and classical favorites, performing in prestigious concert venues such as Tanglewood, Carnegie Hall, Sky Church in Seattle, and Roseland Theater in Portland, Oregon.
The Whitman residents create, perform, and record their original music as well. This month the couple is performing a release show of their new album, “Tribute,” at the Cave at the Red Lion Tavern, 71 South Main St., Cohasset, on Thursday, June 2, from 8 to 11 p.m. Tickets are $20; they can be purchased at www.exploretock.com/thetavernattheredlioninn/event/341120.
“Tribute” features the Finns’ and their band’s interpretation of four classic songs by blues-rock artist and pop star Bonnie Raitt, plus a new song written by Juli Finn as a tribute to Raitt’s artistry.
The recording features Juli and Jon Finn on guitar and vocals, backed by bandmates Joe Santerre on bass guitar, Larry Finn on drums, and Rich Cesarini on keyboards.
Juli Finn described the new recording as “a testament to my own music and growth as a musician, as well as succeeding as a woman in the music profession landscape.”
Juli Finn composed and performed an original song based on the music of Bonnie Raitt for Jon and Juli Finn’s new album, “Tribute.”
“I’ve been mindful to record Bonnie’s songs in my own style, taking care not to create a mirror image of her own individual sound,” Finn said from the couple’s home in Whitman.
The tracks covering music Raitt has written or turned into vehicles for herself are “Give it Up or Let Me Go” (written by Raitt), “Love Me Like a Man” (by Chris Smither), “Angel from Montgomery” (by John Prine), and “Walking Blues” (by Robert Johnson).
Juli Finn said she has long admired both Raitt’s music and her continued success in an often volatile industry.
“I am inspired by all she has achieved and how, at 72, she is still out there touring and making music,” Finn said. “I love her humble sense of gratitude in her accomplishments … She’s a powerhouse, yet so grounded as well.”
“Being a woman just being powerful,” Finn said of Raitt’s example. “She fights against the notion that aging women cannot be important in the entertainment business.
Finn said her own original track on “Tribute,” titled “Dig Deep,” emerged from her research into the pop star’s thoughts about her work. The title stands for both Raitt’s and Finn’s own efforts to dig deeply into the musical sources and lived experiences that motivate their music.
By Robert Knox