my runny valentine


The other night I took my sweetheart to hear Bettye LaVette. A great evening. 

In our phenomenally wired up world,  full-to-bursting with refusing-to-stay-hidden talents blazing onto screens surrounding us seemingly 24/7, Betty more than holds her own.  No question she's got the pipes, possesses an incredibly refined technical instrument in the form of her gorgeous voice.

But here's the thing: Ms. LaVette, owing to maturity and a life lived with all the requisite ups and downs (and then some), sings from the perfect center of what you just know is her unashamedly, fully exposed heart, with a rawness that'll make you weep into next year.  The purity of feeling this gifted singer conveys is so indisputably true, so immediate, so all-encompassing, that you risk public embarrassment once you've been hit.  

It happened to me on Saturday night, during a song called Where a Life Goes. If you've ever had a conversation (or several) in your head, inside your most interior questioning self, with someone you love very deeply, but who is no longer walking this earth, this is a song you might relate to.  I thought of my dear brother Jim, who passed away in 2012. 

Give it a listen, and if you find yourself welling up, or even full-on crying -- not delicate wiping-away-with-a-pinky tears, but watery rivers of gritty saline grief with nothin' to stop the flow, necessitating using your winter toque to mop up snot and mascara as your partner lovingly squeezes your hand, for example -- well, I hope you enjoy every sweet second, sharing your humanity, your heart, with Bettye LaVette.