The Center For The Arts Presents Bettye LaVette
Wednesday, April 18th 7:30 PM Main Stage Theatre
Bettye LaVette is no mere singer. She is not a song writer, nor is she a “cover” artist. She is an interpreter of the highest order. Her gift is being able to take a song, whether well known or obscure, from any genre and making it completely her own. The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Dolly Parton, Neil Young, Willie Nelson, and Bruce Springsteen are just a few of the artists who have had their work re-imagined by Bettye.
“Is there any soul singer who brings more guts, more conviction and more emotion to her singing?” – NPR
“The High Priestess of R&B… It’s astonishing to hear what depths can be found in these songs… LaVette inhabits these tunes, wraps her skin around them like some kind of song-eating monster. There’s something so deeply human going on here that it’s incantatory, so distinct that it’s indelible. So true that it dares to be ugly sometimes. So right that it can cause you pain.” – The Huffington Post
Now, in her 55th year in show business, she has been signed to Verve Records, and has recorded an album of all Bob Dylan songs. Things Have Changed is a masterpiece of interpretation of the songs of one of the greatest songwriters alive, by one of the greatest soul singers alive. Bettye has recorded Dylan songs in the past, but this is the first time that she has devoted an entire album to one writer. She will be performing the album in it’s entirety, along with other songs from throughout her career.
Her career began in 1962, at the age of 16, in Detroit, Michigan. Her first single “My Man – He’s a Loving Man”, was released on Atlantic Records. She recorded for numerous major labels, including Atco, Epic, and Motown, over the course of the 1960s through the 1980s.
The 2000’s started what she calls her “Fifth Career”. Her CD, A Woman Like Me, won the W.C. Handy Award in 2004 for Comeback Blues Album of the Year. She was also given a prestigous Pioneer Award by The Rhythm & Blues Foundation. She has received Blues Music Awards for Best Contemporary Female Blues Singer and Best Soul Blues Female Artist. She recorded 4 CDs for hipster indie label ANTI- Records over the course of 8 years, 2 of which received Grammy nominations. Her 2015 CD, Worthy, was also nominated for a Grammy.
Although still not a household name, fans, critics and artists have nothing but high praise for her live show and her interpretive vocal skill. Now 72 years old, she is still performing with the ferocity of a woman half her age. She is one of very few of her contemporaries who were recording during the birth of soul music in the 60s and is still creating vital recordings today.