• subscribe
  • Search
  • The Show on the Road – Bettye LaVette
    Sign Up For Weekly Dispatch
    Get the best of BGS delivered to your inbox.
    We Respect Your Privacy
Roots Culture Redefined

Header Main

Place Ads

The Show on the Road – Bettye LaVette

Apr 1, 2021

The Show on the Road – Bettye LaVette

This week on The Show On The Road, we feature an intimate conversation with beloved soul and R&B singer, Bettye LaVette.


Covering her remarkable six decades in show-business, we dive deep into LaVette‘s beginnings as a Detroit hit-making teenager during Motown’s heyday (her neighbor was Smokey Robinson), to her early career touring with Otis Redding and James Brown, and the hard times that followed, as a music industry steeped in racist and sexist traditions largely turned its back on her.

While other soulful song stylists like Sharon Jones, Tina Turner, Mavis Staples and others saw their status and popularity rise with time, LaVette remains an underrated, best kept secret on the Americana circuit, with younger listeners just discovering her remarkable work covering anyone and everyone from The Beatles to Neil Young to Billie Holiday.

After nearly dropping out of music, her remarkable comeback began in 2005 with a string of acclaimed records — bringing her from half-filled bars to singing “Blackbird” at The Hollywood Bowl with a 32-piece orchestra, being nominated for five Grammy awards, and being inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame.

One thing you’ll notice immediately is her fiery laugh, which punctuates the episode — even when telling the darkest stories, like her early manager getting shot and her 1960s hits being recorded by white artists, leaving her versions largely forgotten. Her Grammy-nominated newest LP Blackbirds, produced by legendary drummer Steve Jordan, shows her at her most vulnerable best.

Photo credit: Mark Seliger

Suggested Reads

Sitewide Footer Banner

The Show on the Road – Bettye LaVette
The Show on the Road – Bettye LaVette