Carnegie Hall to Welcome Bettye LaVette to Zankel Hall, 3/21
Award-winning rhythm and blues singer Bettye LaVette performs songs from her 50 year career, including selections from her latest album, Thankful N' Thoughtful, on Friday, March 21 at 10:00 p.m. in Zankel Hall.
Best known for her breakout hit, "My Man-He's a Loving Man," her collaboration with Motown Records, and her acclaimed performance of "Love, Reign o'er Me" at the 2008 Kennedy Center Honors in tribute to Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend of The Who, Ms. LaVette's career spans over fifty years. Of her most recent album, and her longevity as an artist, Ms. LaVette explains, "Like all voices, mine has changed over the years. I'd like to think that the change has to do with wisdom. I'm far more selective about what songs I'll sing. If I can't re-sculpt them and, in many instances, actually reinvent them to be part of my story, I can't make them come to life." The concert concludes Carnegie Hall's 2013-2014 WFUV Live at Zankel series.
The annual WFUV Live at Zankel concert series celebrates the art of singer / songwriters, highlighting the eclectic nature of their music with WFUV's Program Director Rita Houston curating the series with Carnegie Hall and serving as host for the concerts. The series, which began in October 2005 as City Folk Live at Zankel, is based on WFUV's pioneering music format which blends adult rock, singer-songwriters, and roots music. Artists who have performed as part of the series include Rosanne Cash, Citizen Cope, Cowboy Junkies, Alejandro Escovedo, Richie Havens, Indigo Girls, Nick Lowe, Shelby Lynne, Aimee Mann, Nellie McKay, Joan Osborne, Jane Siberry, and Suzanne Vega, among others.
WFUV (90.7 FM, wfuv.org) is a non-commercial, listener-supported public radio station, licensed to Fordham University for more than 60 years. Serving over 350,000 listeners each week in the New York area and thousands more worldwide on the web, and a leader in contemporary music radio, WFUV offers an eclectic mix of rock, singer-songwriters, blues, world, and other music, plus headlines from National Public Radio, local news, and sports.
Prior to all WFUV Live at Zankel performances, beginning at 9:00 p.m., concert-goers are invited to enjoy a laid-back pre-concert experience with drinks in the Zankel Hall lounge where they can meet others who share their passion for music. For more information, visit: carnegiehall.org/latenights.
Opened in September 2003, Zankel Hall-Carnegie Hall's modern, underground performance space-celebrates its tenth anniversary this season with concerts that reflect the wide variety of music for which the venue has become known, including appearances by up-and-coming and established artists in the classical, jazz, world music, and pop genres.
About the Artist: Born in Muskegon, Michigan, Betty LaVette and her family moved to Detroit when she was six years old. She got her start in her family's living room, where there was a jukebox, filled with the blues, country & western, and R & B records of the time. She released her first single, "My Man-He's a Loving Man," in the fall of 1962, and the song was quickly picked up by Atlantic Records for national distribution, hitting number seven on the R&B charts. This success was followed by her first national tour-with Ben E. King, Clyde McPhatter, and Otis Redding. After a brief period of time at Detroit's Lupine label, Ms. LaVette went back to New York and became the featured singer in the Don Gardner & Dee Dee Ford Review. Her association with Don and Dee Dee spawned her next big single for the Calla label, "Let Me Down Easy," leading to a tour with The James Brown Review.
In 1969, after Kenny Rogers heard her cover of his group's "What My Condition My Condition Is In," LaVette signed with Silver Fox and traveled to Memphis, where she made a string of records with a then unknown studio group, which went on to become The Dixie Flyers. In 1972, she was once again signed to Atlantic Records, through its Atco subsidiary, and recorded what was to be her first released full length LP, Child of the Seventies, but the record was never released. From 1979 to 1982, Ms. LaVette appeared in the touring company of the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical Bubbling Brown Sugar in the role of Sweet Georgia Brown. In 1982, she signed a record deal with Motown Records and went to Nashville where she recorded her album, Tell Me A Lie.
In 2000, French collector / label owner Gilles Petard, while searching the Atlantic tape vaults, came up with the tapes to the 1972 Child of the Seventies album, licensed the tracks and released them in France on his own Art & Soul label. At the same time, Dutch fan Ben Mattijssen recorded Ms. LaVette at a live show in Utrecht, Holland, and released Let Me Down Easy-In Concert, on a Munich label. These two CDs, released almost simultaneously, created a renewed interest in Ms. LaVette, and showed that she was still in excellent voice. In 2002, Grammy Award-winning producer Dennis Walker assisted in getting her signed to the new label Blues Express, which released her CD, A Woman Like Me. Following this release, Ms. LaVette was the recipient of the W.C. Handy Award for "Comeback Blues Album of the Year" as well as the Living Blues magazine critics pick as "Best Female Blues Artist."
Ms. LaVette then signed a three-record contract with ANTI-Records. The first of the three albums, entitled I've Got My Own Hell to Raise, with Grammy Award-winning producer Joe Henry, features songs written entirely by women. The second album, The Scene of the Crime, transforms country and rock songs written by Willie Nelson, Elton John, and Don Henley, among others, into mini-dramas. The Scene of the Crime was nominated for a Grammy Award for "Best Contemporary Blues Album" and landed on numerous "Best of 2007" lists.
In 2008, Ms. LaVette received a Blues Music Award for "Best Contemporary Female Blues Singer" and in December of that year, she performed a critically acclaimed version of "Love Reign O'er Me" at The Kennedy Center Honors in a tribute to The Who. In January 2009, she had the honor of performing "A Change Is Gonna' Come" with Jon Bon Jovi for President-elect Barack Obama on HBO's telecast of the kick-off Inaugural concert We Are One. In April of the same year, she shared the stage with Sir Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr at Radio City Music Hall for David Lynch's Change Begins Within benefit concert.
In May 2010, her third CD with ANTI-Music, Interpretations: The British Rock Songbook, in which she re-invents songs from the British bands initially influenced by American R & B music, was released to rave reviews. The album was nominated for a Grammy Award for "Best Contemporary Blues Album." In 2012, her latest album, Thankful N' Thoughtful, was released as well as her autobiography, A Woman Like Me, co-written with David Ritz.
Tickets, priced $43 and $50, are available at the Carnegie Hall Box Office, 154 West 57th Street, or can be charged to major credit cards by calling CarnegieCharge at 212-247-7800 or by visiting the Carnegie Hall website, carnegiehall.org.
For more information on discount ticket programs, including those for students, Notables members, and Bank of America customers, visit carnegiehall.org/discounts. Artists, programs, and prices are subject to change.
Photo Credit: Marina Chavez