Madeleine Peyroux showed at her Arlington Theatre concert that she has been able to accomplish what is surely the goal of every artist; that of finding one’s own voice. That has been doubly hard for Ms. Peyroux, as early in her career she was unjustly labeled as a Billie Holiday sound-alike. Yes, her voice still has a stroke of Lady Day’s lilt and tone, but Peyroux has wisely emphasized the bohemian and gypsy side of life during her career, creating a puree’ for all of her interpretations of material to be sift through.
Teamed up with the gents that accompanied on her recent album Secular Hymns, namely Jon Herrington/b and Barak Mori/g, Peyroux took the audience through various moods and journeys. Sometimes delivering cozy and upbeat swing as on “(Getting Some ) Fun Out of Life” and “Don’t Wait To Long,” she also delivered minstrel-like street performances, acting out lyrics to “Hello Babe” or telling harrowing stories with her flexible voice on “Tango Till They’re Sore” and “Guilty.” With dirge-like string accompaniment, Peyroux penetrated each heart with a haunting read of “ Danny Boy” while having a jolly good time with a Dan Hicks-inspired read of “Getting Better” while even some sensuous samba made sense as Peyroux and her team took you to the beaches of Brazil with an ultra-romantic “Agua de Beber” before landing on the steps of the Left Bank with a solo performance of “La Javanaise.”
Songs from her latest album touched on various hues of Americana, ranging from the upbeat gospel feel of “Shout, Sister, Shout” to the deeply contemplative “Trampin’.” Closing the 75 minute show as a chanteuse, she delivered a folksy “Dance Me to the End of Love” that reached the inner chanson in all of us. With voice, guitar and attitude, Madeleine Peyroux has found her footing with a mix of vintage bohemia, wanderlust and blues, and the audience drank in the mix like a toast to St. Patrick.
Upcoming shows at the Arlington include Regina Spektor Apr 05 and Pepe Aguilar Sept 10