Bettye LaVette, one of the greatest r&b vocalist and overall song interpreters, plays the Smith Theater at Howard Community College Tuesday June 22nd as part of the Columbia Festival of the Arts.
Robbed of the riches and fame peers such as Smokey Robinson and Aretha Franklin achieved, largely because a legendary recording for Atlantic sat on the shelf for years, the Detroit-reared singer enjoyed a resurgence in recent years thanks to a Joe Henry-produced record of all-female covers (I Got My Own Hell to Raise) and The Scene of the Crime with the Drive By Truckers.
Her latest acclaimed album, Interpretations: the British Rock Songbook is an emotional tour de’ force of invasion-era rock songs re-imagined by a singer who gets emotions out of lyrics the original authors never knew the song had.
Just ask Pete Townsend, who was visibly moved after seeing LaVette perform “Love, Reign O’er Me” at the Kennedy Center Honors.
Hear the full Bettye LaVette interview.