Concert Review: Bettye LaVette at Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley

Bettye LaVette

Concert Review: Bettye LaVette
Venue: Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley, Seattle
Date: May 24, 2015




Bettye LaVette is one of those singers that had brief fame early in her career, only to see the record label shelve her debut album into obscurity. This is what great comebacks are all about.

I first saw Bettye LaVette at Bumbershoot in 2006. My good friend, Jeff Hofman, host of the “Dusties” radio show on 90.7 KSER educated me on this legend and he was right. Bettye LaVette was and still is the real deal. Her performance in 2006 was the prelude to what was to become the comeback. In 2007 she released the album “The Scene of the Crime” with the Drive-By Truckers as her backup band. This album was recorded at the legendary Muscle Shoals’ Fame Studios, the same studio where her unreleased album was recorded.

This evening’s performance was highlighted with the release of her newest album “Worthy”. LaVette is not a songwriter, but a wonderful interpreter of others written lyrics. She is a singer that can take a song and make it her own. And she did something that I had never heard an artist do before, introduce and sing the entire album to new ears. Yeah, I’ve seen many bands play a classic album live, but for someone to come out and say” Here’s my new album, I want to share it with you, let me know what you think?”

It was so refreshing to hear each song in a new arrangement and styling. LaVette sang a Bob Dylan song, a Beatles tune, and a Rolling Stones rocker, all in a soulful and bluesy fashion that could only be pulled off my an artist that can mold a song into something new.

During the course of the evening, LaVette shared stories and acknowledged each songwriter on every song. We also learned that LaVette had written her autobiography, “A Woman Like Me: A Memoir” and that soul/pop diva Alicia Keys had obtained the movie rights, so the comeback story continues.

The evening began with local singer Tess Henley, who has been on tour supporting her new EP, which was produced by Don Was in Los Angeles. Henley presented a pleasant soul/jazz pop that is sure to continue to get her attention she deserves.

Check out more great concert photos at Peter Dervin’s Website HERE

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