Published May 18, 2010If you're not already hip to the deep rhythm and blues of Bettye LaVette, the surprising blend of classic rock and earthy soul on her upcoming Interpretations: The British Rock Songbook is a good place to start. With a career that stretches back some 50 years, she's paid her dues and then some, and this is evident on her new Anti- release, which is streaming all week on Exclaim.ca.
Interpretations: The British Rock Songbook isn't due out until May 25, but you can listen to it now by clicking here.
Despite LaVette's long and storied history, it wasn't until this past decade that the American singer finally reached a wider audience, and she's done so with unconventional choices. Starting with the Joe Henry-produced I've Got My Own Hell to Raise in 2005, LaVette has specialized in a mature and erudite deep soul sound. LaVette has taken on a diverse range of songs from the likes of Elton John, Willie Nelson, Aimee Mann and Sinead O'Connor. She is a master of interpretation, plumbing new depths of the material in a way its authors would never have imagined.
Such was the case when she appeared at the Kennedy Center Honors in late 2008 to celebrate the Who: her rendition of "Love Reign O'er Me" was astounding, reducing Pete Townsend to tears.
That performance is merely the closing track of Interpretations: The British Rock Songbook, wherein LaVette reinvents both iconic and merely interesting songs of the classic rock canon. Starting off with a funkified take on the Beatles "The Word," she leads her small band through pared-down but ingenious arrangements. But LaVette is always in the spotlight, doing new justice to the Stones, the Moody Blues and even Led Zeppelin's "All My Love." Listen to this one intently.
Interpretations: The British Rock Songbook will be streaming on Exclaim.ca until May 24.
Stay tuned for these future full album streams on Exclaim.ca:
Born Ruffians Say It May 25 to May 31
Tokyo Police Club Champ June 1 to June 7