Interpreting other folks' songs has taken Madeleine Peyroux on an adventurous road that covers miles of styles.
Covering artists as diverse as Billie Holiday, Bessie Smith, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Hank Williams, and Patsy Cline since her first album was released in 1996, Peyroux has decided to take a different career path. Bare Bones, her fourth album (Rounder Records), includes 11 songs she wrote or co-wrote. Her songwriting collaborators included Walter Becker (Steely Dan), friend Julian Coryell, Joe Henry, and her producer, Larry Klein (Mitchell’s ex).
Born in Athens, Georgia, Peyroux spent her teen years in Paris, where she developed a love for jazz. But there are no musical boundaries for Peyroux, who brings her smoky alto back to Colorado to perform on the opening night (August 14) of the Folks Festival in Lyons.
Peyroux, a constant traveler on the tour and festival circuit (she recently opened for Lyle Lovett at the Santa Barbara Bowl in California), headlined a show at the Boulder Theater in March in support of Bare Bones. She took time out from her busy schedule this week to answer a few questions via e-mail.
You’ve performed in Colorado a lot over the years. Why the Folks Festival? Is it your first time at this event?
This is indeed my first time, but I feel at home in the folk atmosphere, perhaps more than one would think, since I am also very much in love with jazz festivals.
What can Folks Festival fans expect from you this time around? Anything different from past performances here?
I've been playing the newly written songs from my latest record this year, much of which is more folk leaning in harmonic structure, and even in content. In the end, my show remains very sparse, centered in the vocal storytelling tradition, a one-on-one dialogue with the audience and the band. But it does so while mixing American styles together: early blues, jazz, torch songs, with rock shuffles, and self-searching folk songwriting. We'll have a rollicking good time and fall in love, with something or someone, in the process. I bet I'm gonna love it!