BETTYE LaVETTE continues to make her well-deserved mark with each new recording. Her latest, Change is Gonna Come Sessions (available exclusively on iTunes) has debuted at #8 on Billboardâ€™s Top Current Blues Albums this week. Also, Living Blues Magazine honored Bettye with two nominations in their Annual Readerâ€™s Poll: Best Live Performer and Most Outstanding Blues Singer. Anyone can vote at www.livingblues.com by clicking on 2009 Living Blues Awards Vote Here! All votes must be received by July 5.
LaVette made a huge international impression when she sang â€œA Change is Gonna Comeâ€ on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial at Obamaâ€™s â€œWe Are Oneâ€ inaugural celebration which was televised worldwide. In December, Bettye made another profound impact while doing an extraordinary televised version of the Who classic â€œLove Reign Oâ€™er Meâ€ at the Kennedy Center Honors.
Meanwhile, Bettye recently performed the title track from the new EP on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HgtCX_q8Fu0), which continues to garner glowing reviews. Creative Loafing declared: â€œâ€¦a compelling and intimate set of songs that adroitly combine a smoky jazz club, Saturday night rent party and Sunday morning church service,â€ while Blurt gave it a 10 out of 10 star review: â€œHer version of â€˜Changeâ€™ brings out all her skills and then adds some new onesâ€¦Her version is bittersweet, never wandering too far away from the hardships revealed in the lyrics, yet also cautiously but ultimately triumphant. Cautiously because, well, it has been a long time cominâ€™â€”and thereâ€™s no way to get those years back. In addition to being about Obama and the civil rights struggle at large, her version is autobiographical. Itâ€™s masterfulâ€¦The EP also includes a mesmerizing, minimalist version cover of Bill Withersâ€™ â€˜Ainâ€™t No Sunshineâ€™â€¦She makes anything she sings sound new.”
According to the Detroit Free Press: â€œLaVetteâ€™s Change is Gonna Come Sessions (**** out of 4 stars) features a studio version of the song, plus smoky subtle versions of jazz standards â€˜God Bless the Child,â€™ â€˜Lush Lifeâ€™ and â€˜Round Midnightâ€™â€¦What an absolute thrill to see her finally gain the long overdue recognition she so richly deserves,â€ whereas the Arkansas Democrat â€“Gazette states: â€œOn this six-song EP, an iTunes exclusive, LaVette brings her singular depth to the title song and is achingly poignant on Billy Strayhornâ€™s â€˜Lush Life,â€™ Thelonious Monkâ€™s â€˜Round Midnightâ€™ is wrenchingâ€¦While she reminds us of Otis Reddingâ€™s intense pleading and of Tina Turner and Patti LaBelleâ€™s firepower, it is LaVetteâ€™s soul-deep emotion and transcendent delivery that sets her apartâ€¦It seems LaVetteâ€™s long overdue time has finally come.â€