Country-rocker to perform in Bothell

  • By Sharon Wootton Special to The Herald
  • Thursday, November 1, 2007 5:02pm
  • LifeGo-See-Do

No one can accuse country singer Kelly Willis of churning out recordings just for the money. It took five years from 2002’s mostly acoustic “Easy” to create this year’s more electric “Translated from Love.”

“I always feel like I need some inspiration. I need to have a reason for making a record,” Willis said in an interview with Country Standard Time.

“I need to think the record is going to be really good. I don’t want to just turn something out because it’s time.”

Then there was motherhood. Willis, 39, has four children under the age of 6.

So it takes a bit of schedule-juggling with her singer-songwriter husband to provide a chance to perform on the road again, which she will do tonight at Northshore Performing Arts Center in Bothell.

Although she has several albums, her combination of country and rock is so smoothly interwoven that apparently it’s been hard for genre-specific followers to appreciate, thus no big commercial success.

But Lyle Lovett and Nanci Griffin liked her songs, and their support led to her first major-label contract in 1989. And 1999’s CD “What I Deserve” broke through much of the resistance, with help from a positive review from Time magazine.

Billy Joel: The iconic pop music singer and piano player returned to the touring circuit last year, breaking house records along the way, including a 12-show sold-out run at Madison Square Garden. “All My Life,” his first newly written and recorded pop song done as a Valentine’s Day present to his wife, is his first since 1993’s Grammy-nominated “River of Dreams” album.

Anita Baker: The multiple-Grammy winner continues to do what she does best: put her heart, soul and considerable talents into captivating audiences with her classics. Along the way, the alto has picked up many NAACP Image, Billboard and Rolling Stone awards.

Kid Rock: Give credit to Robert James Richie for perseverance. After being dumped by his first record label after his debut album, he didn’t resurface to any national heights until 1999 with “Devil without a Cause,” his sixth recording, which included the hit “Bawitdaba.” Now he’s back with his 11th CD, the just-released “Rock N Roll Jesus.” Earlier, his “Cocky” album floated in the Billboard 200 chart for more than 100 weeks.

David Grisman: The mandolinist and composer brings his quintet for a six-show stand. Grisman creates “dawg music,” a blend of influences including swing, bluegrass, Latin, jazz and gypsy, a new sector of contemporary acoustic string instrumental sounds. He’s recorded with Bela Fleck, the Grateful Dead, Emmylou Harris, Bonnie Raitt, Earl Scruggs, Dan Fogelberg, James Taylor and others.

Erin McKeown, Kris Delmhorst: Here’s a chance to catch two excellent singer-songwriters, McKeown with her folk-punk sensibilities, and Delmhorst, whose “Strange Conversations” drew four stars each from Irish Times and Los Angeles Daily News.

Ben Lee: Touring with music from his sixth recording, “Ripe,” singer-songwriter Lee brings with him Australian success (four ARIA awards, Australia’s version of the Grammy) for his pop songs and more U.S. success in the future.

Out and about: Swing with Pearl Django (Saturday, Northshore Performing Arts Center) and music of Django Reinhardt, Stephane Grappelli and American swing music … Still several performances left in the Earshot Jazz Festival schedule, including two-time Grammy-winning pianist Billy Childs and the closer, John Zorn’s Moonchild (Earshot Jazz Festival, Seattle) …

The Symphony Legacy Concert, a rock-and-symphony collaboration tonight with Matt Messina, Alice in Chains and Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart, has been sold out … Cambodian pop band Dengue Fever will release a new album in January but meanwhile, they’re still touring (Wednesday, Nectar Lounge, Seattle) … Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley has been voted top live music venue in Seattle in a Best of Citysearch poll of its users …

The Classic Crime celebrates its acoustic “Seattle Sessions” with an acoustic show (Saturday, Showbox at the Market) … Frames frontman Glen Hansard teams with classically trained Czech vocalist Marketa Irglova for a concert with music from “The Swell Season” (Monday, Moore) … The Bird and the Bee (Inara George, vocals; Greg Kurstin, instrumentals) put their own spin on classic pop conventions (Monday, Crocodile Café).

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