New music from the queen of old-school Detroit R&B
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Bettye LaVette moved from Muskegon to Detroit when she was six, and she's one of the Motor City's unsung musical treasures—the queen of old-school Detroit R&B. She's been compared with Aretha Franklin, but she says her inspiration came mostly from the blues and R&B rather than from gospel. Her early records like "You're a Man of Words—I'm a Woman of Action," are soul classics that are just now being rediscovered. In recent years Bettye has been better than ever, winning the W.C. Handy Comeback Album of the Year award for her emotionally torrid "A Woman Like Me," and she has become a major creative force in her seventh decade, reinterpreting music from various genres in her own style of classic soul. Bettye comes to Michigan with a new release, "Blackbirds," featuring songs by the women singers who were, in her words, "the bridge she came across on."