Madeleine Peyroux Delivers Powerfully Understated Set at Belly Up

Over the course of eight albums (and 22 years), Madeleine Peyroux has deftly woven her jazz inflected stylings with aplomb. On the eve of her next album “Anthem” (due August 31 from UMG), she dropped into the Belly Up for a lovely evening of song. It was the last evening of a one month tour, and she was in fine form.

Her touring band is comprised of Gregg Fine (electric guitar), Andy Ezrin (keyboards), Paul Frazier (bass) and Graham Hawthorne (drums). The quartet provides a lush backdrop for her confident vocals. The instrumentation is spare (Hawthorne often keeps the beat with brushes), allowing her vocals full flight.

(photo by Shervin Lainez)

The new album was produced and co-written by four-time Grammy Winner Larry Klein, (perhaps best known for his work with Joni Mitchell and Herbie Hancock). The new album finds Peyroux collaborating with writers/musicians Patrick Warren (Bonnie Raitt, JD Souther, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Lana Del Rey, The Red Hot Chilli Peppers), Brian MacLeod (Sara Bareilles, Leonard Cohen, Tina Turner, Ziggy Marley) and David Baerwald (Joni Mitchell, David and David, Sheryl Crow), who are also the basic rhythm section players on the album. The album emanated from the 2016 elections, with observations filtered through the ensuing political landscape. Indeed, Baerwald’s earlier song “Welcome to the Boomtown” still echoes mightily since its 1986 debut. The title track of her new album is the third cover Peyroux has recorded by her idol Leonard Cohen.

Peyroux moved fluidly onstage between French and English, which she has done on record. Her voice has lost none of its luster over the years.

Brad Auerbach has been a journalist and editor covering the media, entertainment, travel and technology scene for many years. He has written for Forbes, Time Out London, SPIN, Village Voice, LA Weekly and early in his career won a New York State College Journalism Award.