Bettye LaVette is a true legend with a musical career spanning more than 50 years, she is now rightly recognized as one of the finest vocalists and one of the great interpreters of song. Her discography spans five decades, but it is within the past decade that she has finally been recognized as one of America’s finest vocal talents.

The story behind Bettye LaVette’s Blackbirds is similar to many albums that were due for release in 2020. It was her sophomore record for Verve. It was an album of mostly songs that were associated with female R&B singers who came before her: Dinah Washington, Billie Holiday, Nancy Wilson, etc. Steve Jordan, who Produced her Things Have Changed album of Bob Dylan songs, was again on board as Producer and drummer.

It was recorded in 2019 and was scheduled for a March 2020 release date. A promo tour of the Northeast and the midwest was booked. All was well…and then, the pandemic began, forcing the tour to re-schedule for the fall of 2020, also pushing back the release date to August. Then the fall 2020 tour was re-scheduled for fall 2021, and then that was rescheduled to the current dates of Feb 2022! In the meantime, Blackbirds received a Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary Blues Album.
So this is the “promo” tour for Blackbirds, albeit two years later. Bettye and her band will be performing songs from the album, along with other songs from her catalogue. They will be performing the entire album, plus others, at The Blue Note.
Her latest Grammy-nominated album, Worthy, features 11 songs composed by writers such as Mick Jagger & Keith Richards, Bob Dylan, John Lennon & Paul McCartney, Mickey Newbury, Beth Nielsen Chapman & Mary Gauthier (who wrote the album title track) and producer Joe Henry among others.

Betty Jo Haskins was born January 29,1946, in Muskegon, Michigan. The afamily moved to Detroit when she was six years old. Her parents sold corn liquor and her living room was oft-times visited by The Soul Stirrers, The Blind Boys of Mississippi, and many other traveling gospel groups of the day. Unlike many of her contemporaries, Bettye did not get her start in the church, but in that very same living room, where there was a jukebox, filled with the blues, country & western, and R&B records of the time. The “5” Royales, Dinah Washington, Bobby “Blue” Bland, Red Foley, …these were her roots.