For better or worse (and the jury is definitely on the side of the former), Billie Holiday is intrinsically linked to Madeleine Peyroux. A pair of wondrous voices sharing timbres, phrasing, and a sly melancholy, both work in painterly washes of muted colors characterized by mysterious shades of blues and jazz. Peyroux absorbed the work of Holiday and other vintage jazz and blues artists while busking in Paris in her youth, and continues to evoke their spirits while forging her own path, which is unfolding to find her an interpreter of original material rather than covers. Peyroux had a hand in writing all the songs on her new Bare Bones, collaborating with the likes of producer Larry Klein, Joe Henry, and Steely Dan's Walter Becker. What emerges over the 11 tracks is a sort of existential life philosophy, cautiously optimistic even while dealing with the residuals of various losses: loves, lives, dreams, possessions. As with Holiday, much of Bare Bones has a sophisticated after-hours vibe. One exception is "You Can't Do Me," which rides a jaunty, Steely Dan-like groove. All ages.
Sun., March 15, 7:30 p.m., 2009