Perhaps terms like living legend get thrown around a little too frequently in the music world, but its hard to argue with Etta James resume. Shes a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award winner, a member of the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Shes had 13 singles crack the Billboard R&B Top 10 and two of them - 1961s At Last and her 1955 breakout Wallflower (Dance With Me, Henry) have been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. Over the past half-century, James has genre-hopped from R&B and soul to jazz, gospel and traditional blues, but her distinctive, sultry voice has remained relatively unchanged. Like many great blues artists, James has faced her share of demons, namely her well-chronicled battles with heroin addiction and obesity. But James has been sober since 1988 and has lost 200 pounds since undergoing gastric bypass surgery in 2003. Her latest album, 2006s All the Way, is arguably the most eclectic of her 50-plus year career, featuring James take on Princes Purple Rain and Marvin Gayes Whats Going On alongside such unlikely selections as John Lennons Imagine and (no joke) Simply Reds Holding Back the Years.
Wed., April 15, 7:30 p.m., 2009