At Last...

Perhaps terms like “living legend” get thrown around a little too frequently in the music world, but it’s hard to argue with Etta James’ resume. She’s 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. She’s had 13 singles crack the Billboard R&B Top 10 and two of them - 1961’s “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, 2006’s All the Way, is arguably the most eclectic of her 50-plus year career, featuring James’ take on Prince’s “Purple Rain” and Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” alongside such unlikely selections as John Lennon’s “Imagine” and (no joke) Simply Red’s “Holding Back the Years.”
Wed., April 15, 7:30 p.m., 2009