She's known as the Duchess of Coolsville, but like Joni Mitchell, to whom she's often compared, Rickie Lee Jones is far more complex and mercurial than the affectations of hipsterism ascribed to her would suggest. Yeah, she hung out with Tom Waits, de facto chief of the bohos, during her early days in L.A.—even wore a beret fer chrissake—and her sly, slurred delivery of lyrics about colorful characters amid noirish, jazzy arrangements seemed to seal the deal. But every album she's issued—sometimes at significant intervals—over the last 30 years has in some sense defied expectations, as she's veered from pop to jazz to romantic duets to standards, each time putting her own signature twist on things. Her last two studio albums were no exception: 2003's The Evening of My Best Day was essentially a skewering of the Dubya crowd's atrocities, while on 2007's The Sermon on Exposition Boulevard she sang her interpretation of the actual words of Jesus (devoid of the religious hustle), often in a wiry rock context. She'll appear here in a rare club performance, kicking off the Dakota's summer-long American Songwriters' Series.
Tuesdays, Wednesdays, 7 p.m. Starts: May 26. Continues through May 27, 2009