Bettye Lavette | photo by Ashley Gellman for WXPN
XPN Fest Recap: Bettye LaVette reminisces on music career during her River Stage set
Bettye LaVette has had a monumental music career thus far. Starting in 1962 at just 16, she has released 10 studio albums and received four Grammy Nominations. Today on stage, she reminisced about her upbringing as a young musician, surrounded by her young and immensely talented band members.
LaVette started things off with “Things Have Changed,” the title track from her most recent album, a collection of Bob Dylan covers which released last year. It was clear from the get-go that LaVette still boasts the same charisma she’s always had. Dancing to the beat and swinging her hips back and forth, LaVette began telling the story of her journey from young artist to soul icon. Poised, she detailed her time spent in Detroit after signing her record deal. After, it was only right that she transition into “My Man – He’s A Lovin’ Man,” the song that got her signed in the first place.
Her eccentricity really began to show as she sang the tune’s multiple vocal runs. One of the best things to appreciate about LaVette is her willingness to let loose, as she did during this song. Leaving the mic behind, LaVette faced the crowd and waled out those high notes, and indeed the crowd went crazy with cheers. During “Ain’t Nothing Gonna Change,” LaVette urged each band member to solo, giving them all the time in the world to.
As she sang “Let Me Down Easy,” LaVette continued the explanation of her journey. She expressed gratitude and explained that the song is without a doubt her most popular song to date, originally released in 1965. Now sitting, LaVette cooled herself off as the songs now began to transition seamlessly from one another. The highlight of her set would have to be “Joy,” off of her 2005 album “I’ve Got My Own Hell to Raise.” LaVette set the mic down again to shout out her lyrics, which could practically be heard throughout the entire crowd. Ending it off with “Going, Gone,” LaVette sang the tune and strutted off stage as she sang its last chorus in true LaVette fashion.
Things Have Changed
It Ain’t Me, Babe
My Man’s A Lovin’ Man
Ain’t Nothing Gonna Change
Let Me Down Easy
He Made A Woman Out of Me