Etta James

It's rare to see a line-up like this one roll through town: Etta James and the Roots? Don't get us started on our intense admiration for Roots drummer ?uestlove. Though the Roots are also well on their way to becoming a legend themselves, it's James' presence on the marquee this time that requires some real recognition. Though James stirred up some trouble with her recent caustic marks on Beyonce Knowles' rendition of "At Last," Weekly contributor Kate Carraway pointed out the last time James stopped by our parts: "There are worse things to have than a voice synonymous with romance. Etta James, whose omnipresent wedding classic "At Last" has kicked off an infinite number of marriages with bluesy orchestral chords and perfect, pure vocals—why Christina Aguilera continues to publicly embarrass herself with a subpar rendition remains in question—serves as a high-water mark for every jazz and R&B siren of the past 60-odd years. James' other tracks, among them "A Sunday Kind of Love" and a steamy version of Muddy Waters' "I Just Want to Make Love to You," were indisputably made to be heard on vinyl—the soundtrack to any number and quality of romantic occasions as envisioned by Hollywood, Hallmark and the rest of the American advertising industry. Clichéd positioning aside, how many other singers compel you to put down your pen or pull off the road to listen to every cadence? Not the shrill Aguilera, to be sure."
Sat., March 21, 8 p.m., 2009
 
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