This has been a great year for veteran classic Soul female singers. Sharon Jones, fronting the Brooklyn-based band Dap-Kings, had one of the year’s biggest albums, I Learned the Hard Way, while Mavis Staples has a forthcoming new record produced by Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy.
But Bettye LaVette, who's doing a free show Friday night at Dayton’s RiverScape Metro Park as part of that city’s three-day CityFolk Festival, is maybe having the best year of the bunch. Her third full album in her remarkable comeback on Anti- Records, Interpretations: The British Rock Songbook, has proven to be her best-selling and best-praised yet.
The impetus for the British Rock project came when LaVette was asked to perform The Who’s “Love Reign O’er Me” when the group was honored at the Kennedy Center in 2008. The power, authority and slow-building soulfulness of her version moved Pete Townshend to tears. (That performance closes out the album, which also has songs by The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Elton John, Pink Floyd, Traffic and more.)
Be prepared to be similarly moved when LaVette performs it and other songs Friday in Dayton.
Get full details on the CityFolk event, which features a wide range of musical styles, here.
Read Brian Baker's album review of Interpretations: The British Rock Songbook here.