Artists - Blues Rock and Roots

Bettye LaVette

Hailed by the New York Times as “one of the great soul interpreters of her generation,” five-time Grammy nominee and Blues Hall of Famer, Bettye LaVette is a vocalist who can take any type of song and make it her own. LaVette’s commitment to artistry has earned the admiration of her musical peers. To quote the late, great George Jones: "Bettye is truly a 'singer's singer' ". Over the course of her remarkable, six-decade career, LaVette has sung for two US Presidents, published an autobiography, placed six records on the rhythm & blues charts, and starred in the hit musical, Bubbling Brown Sugar.

Her career began in 1962, at the age of 16, in Detroit, Michigan. Her first single "My Man - He’s a Loving Man", was released on Atlantic Records. She later charted with such singles as “He Made A Woman Out Of Me” and “Do Your Duty”. She recorded for numerous major labels, including Atco, Epic, and Motown, over the course of the 1960s through the 1980s. 

The 2000's started what she calls her "Fifth Career". Her CD, A Woman Like Me, won the W.C. Handy Award in 2004 for Comeback Blues Album of the Year. She was also given a prestigous Pioneer Award by The Rhythm & Blues Foundation. She has received Blues Music Awards for Best Contemporary Female Blues Singer and Best Soul Blues Female Artist. She recorded 4 CDs for hipster indie label ANTI- Records over the course of 8 years, 2 of which received Grammy nominations. Her 2015 CD, Worthy, was also nominated for a Grammy.

She performed a critically acclaimed version of "Love Reign O'er Me" at The Kennedy Center Honors in a tribute to The Who. She also performed "A Change Is Gonna Come" as a duet with Jon Bon Jovi for President elect Barack Obama on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

In 2018 she released Things Have Changed, an album of all Bob Dylan songs, for Verve Records. It received two Grammy nominations, one for Best Americana Album, and one for the song "Don't Fall Apart On Me Tonight" for Best Traditional R&B Performance. 

Her latest album Blackbirds represents a further step in her artistic evolution. Working again with producer Steve Jordan and a group of celebrated musicians, LaVette delivers impassioned readings of songs mostly associated with African American female vocalists of the 1950s. The album finds her in top form with renditions of Dinah Washington’s “Drinking Again,” Nina Simone’s “I Hold No Grudge,” Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit,” Nancy Wilson’s “Save Your Love For Me” and more. The final track is her version of The Beatles' song, "Blackbird", from which the album title was gleaned. In curating the songs for Blackbirds, LaVette has established a dialogue with the great women who preceded her while reaffirming herself as a vital, living presence.

Fans, critics and artists have nothing but high praise for her live show and her vocal prowess. Now, at 74 years old, she is still performing with the ferocity of a woman half her age. She is one of very few of her contemporaries who were recording during the birth of soul music in the 1960s and is still creating vital recordings today.