William Blake in Appalachia
Dodge City-esque mean streets." Redbone did a stint as a staff songwriter at Warner Bros., issued an album that became part of the permanent collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, and then moved to London, where she sang R&B and funk and teamed up with UK instrumentalist Aaron Whitby.
Recently she issued The Garden of Love: Songs of William Blake, setting texts of the British poet to songs that return her to her old-time country and blues roots. I admire musicians who insist on coming up with something that reflects their entire complex background rather than simply following one strand of it, and if that were all Redbone had done, her show at the Ark on August 6 (see Nightspots) would be worth hearing. But The Garden of Love is even better than that. It has the uncanny quality of making you feel, at times, that the poems were just waiting for these settings to come along.