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Bettye LaVette w/Eilen Jewell - 11/9
at City Winery Chicago
WNUR 89.3 Welcomes
BETTYE LAVETTE CELEBRATES HER 50-YEAR MUSIC CAREER WITH THE TRIUMPHANT RELEASE OF 'THANKFUL N' THOUGHTFUL' ON ANTI- SEPTEMBER 25 AND HER AUTOBIOGRAPHY. 'A WOMAN LIKE ME' CO-WRITTEN WITH DAVID RITZ OUT SEPTEMBER 27.
R&B legend BETTYE LaVETTE is set to mark her 50th anniversary in the music world with the upcoming release of her mesmerizing album, THANKFUL N' THOUGHTFUL, on September 25 on ANTI- Records, as well as her breathtaking and no holds barred autobiography co-written with David Ritz out on Blue Rider Press through Penguin on September 27.
Produced by Craig Street (Norah Jones, Joe Henry, k.d. lang, Meshell Ndegeocello, John Legend, Charlie Sexton, etc.), TN'T is a selection of contemporary tracks written and previously recorded by Bob Dylan, The Black Keys, Tom Waits, Neil Young, Patty Griffin, Gnarls Barkley and others, which BETTYE consumes whole, rearranges deep within her soul and exorcises as her own through her voice filled with longing, rage, desire, despair, survival and victory. BETTYE's voice - rough, tender, sensuous -- is her instrument of inspiration and her dynamic power seethes throughout each song, wringing out the pathos, sharing her hard earned wisdom and story throughout these tales of her reinvention.
Thankful N' Thoughtful opens with the funk injected Bob Dylan cut "Everything Is Broken" and when Bettye moans and howls the title refrain you have no doubt as to the trouble she's seen. The entire album turned out to be a companion piece to her autobiography as, while she was writing the book, she was also recording the songs on TN'T. On Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy," she slows it down just a tad, then wrings every drop of sweat and blood from each and every syllable till your spine tingles, with "Dirty Old Town" (The Pogues/Rod Stewart), Bettye reworks the lyrical setting to Detroit - singing about her first love at Northern High and the Detroit race riots. Meanwhile, when she takes on The Black Keys' "I'm Not The One," the sensual grit of the song sizzles with her all-knowing rasp.
Every song here is a testament to her life and her unrivaled skill for interpretation. By the time Bettye's finished recording a track, she has fully inhabited the body and soul of the song. From Young's "Everybody Knows This is Nowhere," to Savoy Brown's "I'm Tired" to the title track "Thankful N' Thoughtful," a lesser known gem by Sly & The Family Stone," Bettye expels every word with such visceral passion, you can feel her in the present moment.
"From my ankle to the top of my head
I've taken many chances, Lord
And I could have been dead
I started climbing from the bottom
All the way to the top
Before I knew it I was up there
Ya'll can believe it or not
And that's why I'm so thankful
Lord and I'm thoughtful
I think about it all the time
I'm trying to tell ya that I'm thankful
And I'm thoughtful"
At this triumphant time, after 50 years in the business with all her near hits and dear misses, BETTYE has arrived at this place a Thankful N' Thoughtful woman who is still here to tell her tale whether in song or in story. Track listing for Thankful N' Thoughtful is as follows:
1. Everything is Broken (Bob Dylan)
2. I'm Not the One (Daniel Auerbach/Patrick Carney)
3. Dirty Old Town (Ewan MacColl)
4. The More I Search (The More I Die) (Kim McLean)
5. I'm Tired (Chris Youlden)
6. Crazy (Brian Burton/Thomas Callaway/Gian Piero Reverberi/Gian Franco Reverberi )
7. Yesterday Is Here (Tom Waits)
8. Thankful N' Thoughtful (Sly & The Family Stone)
9. Fair Enough (Beth Nielsen Chapman)
10. Time Will Do the Talking (Patty Griffin)
11. Everybody Knows This is Nowhere (Neil Young)
12. Dirty Old Town* (slow version)
Since her official 2006 debut, Boundary County, Jewell has surveyed a wide range of traditional musical styles, from the folk and jug band leanings of her early recordings, through an album-‐length homage to Loretta Lynn and the country gospel of her work with The Sacred Shakers, right up to 2009's Sea of Tears, which bristled with the electricity of '60s UK garage rock and Chicago blues. Queen of the Minor Key draws on everything from classic country (the fiddle-‐driven "Reckless") to early R&B (the shuffling "Hooked"), with an emphasis on sounds from the seamier side of the tracks. With dirty sax riffs and low-‐slung guitars, the instrumentals that bookend the album—"Radio City" and "Kalimotxo"—evoke the bump-‐and-‐grind exotica of vintage Southern California suburban saloons. Yet on the flipside, Jewell imbues slow, jazzy numbers like "I Remember You" and "Only One" with torch and tenacity that linger long past last call.
Eilen Jewell is the Queen of the Minor Key. Sad songs are her wealth and finery. Lend her your ears, and you will quickly hear why her humble subjects admire and adore her more with each passing year.