Venerated soul songstress Bettye LaVette's triumphant new six-song EP "A Change Is Gonna Come Sessions," previously an iTunes exclusive is now available from all digital services. It's been a year of much deserved acclaim for LaVette. There was a night at the Kennedy Center Honors where her heartrending interpretation of The Who's "'Love Reign O'er Me' left Pete Townshend noticeably moved and Foo Fighter Dave Grohl remarking: "She was so phenomenal, this performance of The Who song that she did. It will bring you to tears... it was just unbelievable." LaVette followed with a startling version of Sam Cooke's soaring anthem "A Change Is Gonna Come" in a duet with Jon Bon Jovi at the Obama presidential celebration which had Newsday calling it the historic event's "first amazing moment.'"
It culminated with the June release of LaVette's celebrated "A Change Is Gonna Come Sessions" EP featuring a solo version of the title track as well as rousing interpretations of classics by Thelonious Monk, Billy Strayhorn, Bill Withers, Jimmy Reed, Billy Holiday, Sam Cooke. Backing Lavette on the record is a stellar ensemble featuring her pianist and musical director Al Hill, veteran bassist John Heard - who has accompanied such legends as Count Basie, Cole Porter, Ella Fitzgerald, and Art Pepper - drummer Danny Frankel (k.d. lang, Lou Reed), and Tom Hagerman of DeVotchKa providing strings. The result is soul music in the most literal sense, six stirring performances that demonstrate just why LaVette, after so many years, is a star definitely on the rise.
Critical Praise For "A Change Is Gonna Come Sessions"
"**** out of 4 stars...It's been a long time coming as well for LaVette, who spent most of her 40-plus year career in painful obscurity until just recently. What an absolute thrill to see her finally gain the long overdue recognition she so richly deserves." - Detroit Free Press
"There's no one more soulful than Bettye LaVette...Bettye makes great music now because of her obstacles. She has a fire in her belly and a passion that was never squashed over the years...you just hear it and feel it in everything she sings." - Peter Grumbine on CNN
"[Bettye] breaks songs down to their narrative essence...LaVette has the uncanny knack of making you consider anew lyrics that you've heard hundreds of times." - Creative Loafing
"She comes damn close to making you forget Cooke's original 1964 version...She makes anything she sings sound new!" - Blurt-Online