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Bettye Levette celebrates 50 years in music

Friday - 10/26/2012, 3:54am  ET

Bettye LaVette (Courtesy of Bettye LaVette)
Known as a masterful interpreter of songs, LaVette's powerful voice and emotional delivery are captivating. (Courtesy of Bettye Levette)

Tim Bracken, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - Soul singer Bettye LaVette is celebrating her 50th year in the music business with the release of an autobiography, a new album and a concert tour that brings her to D.C.

Known as a masterful interpreter of songs, LaVette's powerful voice and emotional delivery are captivating.

LaVette's career has taken her in many directions, from touring with the likes of Otis Redding and the James Brown Revue, to performing in the Broadway musical, "Bubbling Brown Sugar."

The 2003 album, "A Woman Like Me," introduced Lavette's voice to a whole new generation of music fans.

Lavette's latest album, "Thankful N' Thoughtful," features fresh takes on songs by Tom Waits, Neil Young, Bob Dylan and even the Black Keys.

"I'm far more selective about what songs I'll sing," LaVette said in a statement. "If I can't re-sculpt them and, in many instances actually reinvent them to be part of my story, I can't make them come to life."

Watch LaVette's performance of the Who's "Love Reign O'er Me" at the Kennedy Center Honors:

The recent autobiography, "A Woman Like Me," details the ups and downs of LaVette's career, including her eventual comeback after decades of obscurity.

Catch Bettye LaVette at 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27 at the Howard Theatre. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 the day of the concert.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)