Soul R&B Royalty
“With each of her albums improving on the last, Thankful ‘n’ Thoughtful continues the upward curve. It is, possibly, the best set of songs she’s ever recorded.” -BBC Music
2011 Grammy nominee for Best Contemporary Blues Album
2012 Blues Music Awards nominee for Contemporary Blues Female Artist of the Year
Soul singer Bettye LaVette has been performing and recording for over four decades. Bettye is just now getting her due, with a Blues Award in 2004 for “Best Comeback Album of the Year.” In 2008, she was named “Contemporary Female Blues Artist of the Year.”
Born in Muskegon, Michigan, LaVette grew up in the musical hotbed of Detroit. She made her recording debut at the age of 16. Her first single, “My Man, He’s a Loving Man,” was a top ten hit on the R&B charts in 1962. Her ability to make every song she sings her own made her a fixture on the charts for the next ten years, with a variety of songs from different corners of the music world. Due to a string of record industry mishaps, LaVette didn’t release a solo album until 1982’s Tell Me a Lie. Even after this moderate success, LaVette’s recordings were few and far between before her recent renaissance and ascension to the elite levels of soul music.
2012 was Bettye’s 50th year in the music business, and September was a special month for LaVette. She released her new CD, Thankful n’ Thoughtful, concurrently with her breathtaking and no holds barred autobiography, A Woman Like Me, co-written with David Ritz. The new record is a selection of contemporary tracks written and previously recorded by Bob Dylan, The Black Keys, Tom Waits, Gnarls Barkley and others, which Bettye completely inhabits and interprets as her own through her voice filled with longing, rage, desire, despair, survival and victory.
• LaVette singing “A Change is Gonna Come” with Jon Bon Jovi at President Obama’s 2009 Inauguration
• “Love Reign O’er Me” at The Kennedy Center Honors for The Who’s Townsend and Daltrey
What Other People Have Been Saying...
“Classic soul singing doesn’t get any better.” -New York Times
“Imagine Otis Redding’s pleading style of Southern R&B rendered with Tina Turner’s leathery lungs, delivered with more emotion than Janis Joplin could summon.” -Jon Bream, Star Tribune
“In a career spanning 40 years she has maintained a level of almost unrivaled quality and consistency, wherever she recorded, for whatever label.” -John Ridley, soul historian
“Bettye LaVette now rivals Aretha Franklin as this generation’s most vital soul singer” –New York Times
“The sexiest female vocalist alive” – Esquire