Canadian blues singer Elise LeGrow plays London’s Jazz Cafe (opens in new tab) next week to promote her new album Playing Chess.
An album of songs drawn entirely from the catalogue of Chicago’s iconic Chess Records – home of pioneers like Muddy Waters, Etta James, Bo Diddley, and Chuck Berry, among others – Elise and S-Curve Records founder Steve Greenberg dug deep into the Chess catalogue to choose the songs, helped by R&B legend Betty Wright, and studio wizard Mike Mangini (the same trio of Grammy-winners behind Joss Stone’s twelve-million-selling ‘Soul Sessions’ album), and The Root’s Questlove & Captain Kirk Douglas.
A mix of beloved classics and obscure rarities, the album’s eleven tracks showcase LeGrow’s stunning voice and wildly inventive arrangements. For evidence of this, check out her stunning version of Chuck Berry’s You Never Can Tell – a version that foreground's Berry's astonishing songwriting talent as much as it does LeGrow's smokey voice – and for a modern take on an obscure classic, listen to her new single, a cover of Sugarpie DeSanto’s Going Back Where I Belong.
“Recalling Selah Sue and Alice Russell, LeGrow’s voice is soulful and bluesy but with a raspier rock quality,” wrote The Independent.