Kennett Flash hosts an evening with Bettye LaVette
By J. Chambless
Bettye LaVette, seen here with Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones, is marking her 55th year in show business.
LaVette is a singer in the tradition of great vocalists who have come
before her -- Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett and Dinah
Washington, to name just a few. The veteran vocalist, who will
perform at the Kennett Flash on Dec. 29, is known for taking songs
from any genre and making them her own. The Beatles, the Rolling
Stones, Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson and Bruce Springsteen are a few
of the artists who have had their work re-imagined by LaVette.
The Bettye LaVette Duo features LaVette and her keyboard player, Evan Mercer. The current shows feature songs from throughout her 55-year career, including songs that she used to perform in small Detroit clubs before her 21st century resurgence began.
LaVette's career began in 1962, at the age of 16, in Detroit. Her first single, “My Man - He’s a Loving Man,” was released on Atlantic Records. She recorded for numerous major labels, including Atco, Epic, and Motown from the 1960s through the 1980s.
The 2000s 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 prestigious 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
four CDs for indie label ANTI- Records over eight years. Two of them
received Grammy nominations. Her 2015 CD, Worthy, was also
nominated for a Grammy.
Now, in her 55th year in show business, she has been signed to Verve Records, and has recorded an album of Bob Dylan songs, Things Have Changed.
Bettye LaVette performs at the Kennett Flash (102 Sycamore Alley, Kennett Square) on Dec. 29 at 8 p.m. The doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $60 and $65. Visit www.kennettflash.org.