Bettye LaVette | Spotlight | Indy Week
Pin It

Bettye LaVette 

Just singing

Listen!

Listen to Bettye LaVette's "Down to Zero" and "The High Road" from I've Got My Own Hell to Raise. If you cannot see the music player below, download the free Flash Player.

Bettye LaVette
The ArtsCenter, Carrboro
Saturday, March 10, 8:30 p.m.
Tickets: $24

click to enlarge Bettye LaVette
  • Bettye LaVette

Since her inaugural session as a teen in early '60s Detroit, soul singer Bettye LaVette has recorded a number of songs written especially for her. She shines even brighter, however, when taking ownership of previously recorded songs. Her list of commanding interpretations is remarkable, like her Motor City-born "Heart of Gold," a kinetic take on the whacked-out Kenny Rogers hit "What Condition My Condition Is In," and a "Piece of My Heart" that trumps Erma Franklin and Janis Joplin. "They're just songs I heard that I want to sing," LaVette says of her choices. "I'm not a fan of music. I'm a fan of singing. If I like a song, I imagine myself singing it."

So when LaVette put her unique stamp on songs she'd heard by Sinead O'Connor, Dolly Parton, Fiona Apple and Lucinda Williams for 2005's Joe Henry-produced I've Got My Own Hell to Raise, she was merely doing what she'd done for 40 years. But that album capitalized on the success that producer Henry had experienced with soul legend Solomon Burke and his 2002 comeback, Don't Give up on Me. Lured listeners were rewarded with a collection of stirring turns from LaVette, and she earned a bushel of new fans. She was an overnight sensation—who had been making music since she was 16.

"I sing different from most girls," LaVette says. For the longest time, she insists, labels didn't know how to promote her and what she describes as her "screaming and hollering" vocals. However you label them, though, the emotion-rich performances on I've Got My Own Hell to Raise connected. She's just finished recording its follow-up, the second of three for the Epitaph imprint ANTI-. "I'm the oldest person in the world other than Tony Bennett with a three-record deal," she offers with a hearty laugh.

It's a laugh that shows up often during our talk. And when she closes the conversation with "Thanks for writing about me, baby," wrapped in that voice of a thousand fiery and real soul numbers, she owns me like a song.

Tags: ,

Latest in Spotlight

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Spotlight



Twitter Activity

Most Recent Comments

i love WXYC, except fpr the low power, hillsborough hardley gets it, metaphorically speaking. the sound quality is horrible. can …

by peterhoyt on Uncle Woody Sullender (Spotlight)

almost as good a my son, nique

by peterhoyt on Uncle Woody Sullender (Spotlight)

Juliette Lewis is such a great actress but shes an even more amazing singer! I am so excited she is …

by Gerard on Juliette & the Licks (Spotlight)

We the House Of God Church (Keith Dominion)in Fayetteville,NC is having a Gospel Fest for our Y.F.F.U. Dept. in August. …

by yvette 58 on The Campbell Brothers (Spotlight)

This man, as well as Jasper were very talented. They took there handicap, and made a living out of it.They …

by babyboo on Skeeter Brandon (Spotlight)

Comments

i love WXYC, except fpr the low power, hillsborough hardley gets it, metaphorically speaking. the sound quality is horrible. can …

by peterhoyt on Uncle Woody Sullender (Spotlight)

almost as good a my son, nique

by peterhoyt on Uncle Woody Sullender (Spotlight)

Most Read

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…

© 2016 Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation