Bettye LaVette


Scene of the Crime, one of 2007’s finest albums, was the sublime, Southern, rockin’ product of Michigan blues singer Bettye LaVette. The veteran diva came by the authority of her voice—and the disc’s multifaceted, Muscle Shoals–minted brilliance—via decades of hard times since debuting at 16. Now possessed of the sensual charm of the woman of a certain age, but still ornery, mean, and fine as hell in impossible stilettos, LaVette takes it to the stage with a show that’s not to be missed. Yes, she’s pure pleasure to behold, yet she tends to be supported by very able players and, best of all, her program takes on the air of an unfussy master class for an era lost to the oversouling of American Idol–atry. LaVette’s motto could be “Mama don’t take no mess!”—if you’re truly grown ’n’ sexy, there’s nowhere else y’all ought to be tonight. With John Hammond

Sun., Jan. 11, 8 p.m., 2009