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Love Her Sweetly

Madeleine Peyroux
Pabst Theatre
Milwaukee, WI
Mar. 18, 2009
Madeleine Peyroux Madeleine Peyroux Madeleine Peyroux

Story and photos by Gypsy Davey

Madeleine Peyroux is a flask of warm whiskey in a cold ditch. She's shockingly familiar upon first listen, awkward and warbled in vocal intonations, yet pleasantly comforting to the one receiving them. She's often been compared to the likes of Billie Holiday, Bessie Smith, and Patsy Cline. She's made an early career signing standards, and reminiscent to that of the late Ray Charles, Madeleine has the uncanny ability to lay claim to any song simply by her recording it. Can anyone argue that "Song For You" even though penned and originally recorded by Leon Russell, and further recorded by Willie Nelson, isn't a Ray Charles tune? Is anyone going to further argue that Madeleine doesn't now own the Leonard Cohen tune "Dance Me to the End of Love," or Dylan's "You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go" for that matter?

With her latest release Bare Bones Madeleine now ventures to new waters, in that it marks her first collection of all originals. Another installment to the impeccably produced Rounder label releases by Larry Klein, his credited third (Careless Love, Half the Perfect World, Bare Bones). The languid contemplative delivery behind tracks like "Damn the Circumstances", "River of Tears," and "Love and Treachery," are offset by the jazzy lilts of "Instead," "You Can't Do Me," and "To Love You All Over Again." A departure from her past, but one that shows maturity in direction, and tips a hand to what we can expect with future works.

Wasting no time, Madeleine Peyroux opened the night with her Leonard Cohen cover "Dance Me to the End of Love" - from her second solo effort, 2004's Careless Love (Rounder). It was an obvious crowd pleaser to open the night. From there she dipped a little into her back catalog, but never before have I seen an artist rely so heavily on material pulled from their latest release. All but two songs from Bare Bones were delivered, leaving on the table a pile of what we've grown over the years to love, and would've appreciated hearing performed. What was chosen however, was perfectly performed and backed by an outstanding band. The night's highlight came when the band - bathed in blue light - tightened up, and came in for the French number "La Javanaise", where drummer Darren Beckett worked his bushes on a box-top and phenomenal piano player/keyboardist Larry Goldings worked the melodica. A very exciting moment for sure. Backed by the big-band chords of Jon Herington on guitar, and Barak Mori on bass, they stayed together for "Don't Cry Baby", before resuming their places to finish out the evening in top-notch form.
Set List
Dance Me to the End of Love
Bad Bones
Don't Wait Too Long
River of Tears
You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go
Damn The Circumstances
I'm All Right
A Little Bit
La Javanaise
Don't Cry Baby
Love and Treachery
You Can't Do Me
Our Lady of Pigalle
I Must Be Saved

Somethin' Grand
Madeleine Peyroux Madeleine Peyroux
Madeleine Peyroux Madeleine Peyroux
Madeleine Peyroux
Madeleine Peyroux

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