Thursday, August 09, 2007


Transcendent soul stylist BETTYE LaVETTE returns to the New York stage to perform at Highline Ballroom September 24, the night before the release of her eagerly awaited new CD (and second from Anti- Records), titled "THE SCENE OF THE CRIME." Recognized as the "Sexiest Female Vocalist Alive" by Esquire, BETTYE is sure to deliver a rousing set of songs filled with majesty, richness and strength packed with more than enough raw visceral emotion to raise the hair on the back of the neck of any fully alive, blood pumping, breathing human being.

On "THE SCENE OF THE CRIME," BETTYE is backed by the freewheeling renegade Southern rock band Drive By Truckers and produced by the DBT's own Patterson Hood, David Barbe and Bettye LaVette. The forthcoming disc is already generating a buzz with journalists including Josh Freedom du Lac from the Washington Post: "Mark your calendar, cuz this one's absolutely worth getting," August Brown of the Los Angeles Times: "'Scene'... is full of simmering open space that lets her hard-fought revelations on love and liquor resonate," and USA Today's Ken Barnes: "this album... just rips, with some truly sublime peaks."

Recorded in the classic soul mine of Muscle Shoals' FAME Studios, the set is fraught with dire psychological elements. "THE SCENE OF THE CRIME" represents a volatile bid to dispel the shadow still cast by BETTYE's simmering frustration over her stillborn Muscle Shoals-recorded 1972 masterpiece "Child of the Seventies," an album that Atlantic Records maddeningly -- and inexplicably -- shelved before anyone heard it.

BETTYE's vocals, a richly calculated union of blunt force trauma and unspeakable tenderness, boil over with long-carried need to flout that blow. Using a hand-picked set of titles by a diverse set of writers (from Willie Nelson to Elton John), BETTYE foments another artistic revolution as she quells an aching personal thwart. "THE SCENE OF THE CRIME" equation is enhanced further by contributions from two Muscle Shoals mainstays, keyboardist Spooner Oldham and bassist David Hood (who just happens to be father of Drive By Truckers guitarist Patterson Hood), and the sound achieved -- gritty, restrained, fuzz-gilded, deep soul-rock grooves -- provides ideal support.

The result of this striking convergence is profound, a resonant, emotional conquest of forty five years of hurt and bad memories. BETTYE is captured in full fury, cementing the promise of 2005's extraordinary "I've Got My Own Hell to Raise," a glorious reintroduction which also re-asserted her as one of America's most forceful and accomplished soul singers. Now, "THE SCENE OF THE CRIME" delivers an even more intimate session with the unrivaled singer. It also underscores the might of the Drive By Truckers, a young band who have been steadily increasing their own cachet. This powerful, multi-generational mixture brings a remarkable gravity, and "THE SCENE OF THE CRIME" is a passionately declarative artistic achievement, one that could only have originated with the incomparable BETTYE LAVETTE.

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