Thursday, June 21st, 2007
NEW ORLEANS -- When he was growing up in the 1970s, Michael Franti listened to lots of Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder and Bob Marley -- musicians who weren't afraid to risk album sales in order to make a statement about issues in the world around them.
Today, fewer and fewer artists ...
Wednesday, June 20th, 2007
&The R&B singer enlists an unlikely backing band, and police hassle The Coup's Boots Riley.
By August Brown, Times Staff Writer
BETTYE LAVETTE'S 2005 album "I've Got My Own Hell to Raise" was one of the year's most unlikely and welcome comebacks. It's a teary and raw R&B record of songs written for her by Lucinda Williams and Fiona Apple, among others, and it brought the 61-year-old singer a bit closer to the spotlight that eluded her for much of her decades-long career.
Her follow-up, "The Scene of the Crime," could have proved to be an even stranger move. At the suggestion of her record label, Anti-, LaVette enlisted the Skynyrd-deconstructionist Southern rock group Drive-By Truckers as her backing band, a conceit that seems thrilling in its possibilities but also potentially primed for a mismatch disaster. Both acts love them some whiskey and loose morals, but how would LaVette's singular slow burn work in front of the band responsible for ;Dead, Drunk and Naked?"
As it turns out, tastefully. "I'm 61, there's only so far they could pull me," LaVette said. "But I do move a lot onstage, and I didn't have to lay back."
Despite the Truckers' raucous pedigree, "Scene" is absolutely LaVette's album, full ...