Deitra Farr | Buddy Guy's Legends | Blues, Gospel, and R&B | Chicago Reader

Deitra Farr Soundboard

When: Thu., Aug. 11, 9:30 p.m. 2011

The same qualities you could use to describe the persona that blues singer Deitra Farr inhabits in song—independence, self-confidence, a refusal to play on anyone else's terms—also inform the way she deals with the music business. That might explain why, despite her international reputation and undiminished talents, she hasn't released a solo album since 2005's Let It Go! (JSP). Farr melds traditional postwar Chicago blues and fervent deep soul with modern-sounding emotional directness and a panache that few of her contemporaries can match. Let It Go! makes her case: she coaxes fatback funk out of players who usually prefer rootsier fare, like guitarist Billy Flynn, and she runs the emotional gamut from haunted urgency ("In a Dark Place") to swing-inflected joy ("When They Really Love You"). Even on her most anthemic barn burners, which she delivers with full-hearted ebullience, Farr steers clear of "blooze-mama" posturing. She's at her best live, so this all-too-rare hometown show is a must-see. —David Whiteis

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