Rhythm and blues singer known for Lovett link to perform in Olin

Rhythm and blues singer Francine Reed performs at Bates.

Singer Francine Reed, known for her work in the rhythm and blues realm and for her long musical association with Lyle Lovett, performs at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 15, at the Olin Concert Hall at Bates College, 75 Russell St.

Seating is by reservation. Advance tickets cost $15 for the general public and $10 for seniors and students, rising to $20 and $10 on the day of the show. Buy tickets at www.batestickets.com. For more information, contact 207-786-6135 or olinarts@bates.edu.

Forthcoming attractions in roots and Americana music at Bates include a Dec. 5 appearance by singer-songwriter Justin Townes Earle. Learn more.

Although Reed did not receive national recognition until she began recording with Lyle Lovett in 1985, she has always been a singer, first performing with her family gospel choir at age 5.

Reed began singing professionally in the 1980s, picking up gigs in jazz clubs and functions in Phoenix, Ariz. She became known for her powerful voice and commanding stage presence, offering an eclectic blend of jazz, blues and R&B. She was asked to open shows for such names as Miles Davis, Etta James, Smokey Robinson and the Crusaders.

In 1985, friends introduced Reed to Lyle Lovett, who was searching for a female singer for his new band. Lovett was still a struggling performer when they met, but as his star rose, Reed became an integral part of his show.

Reed toured with Lovett and his Large Band as a background vocalist, but also performed duets with the country musician. She was featured on several Lovett albums and sang with him on such television shows as Late Night with David Letterman, The Tonight Show and Regis and Kathy Lee.

After moving to Atlanta, Ga., she recorded her debut solo album, I Want You to Love Me (Ichican International, 1990), which featured a duet with Lovett. The follow-up, Can’t Make It on My Own (Ichiban Old Emd, 1996) included a duet with Delbert McClinton. The success of these early works resulted in nominations for the prestigious W.C. Handy Award (Blues Song of the Year and Soul/Blues-Female Artist of the Year, 1997).

Reed performed on Willie Nelson’s acclaimed 2000 album Milk Cow Blues, lending her talent to the title track as well as to Nelson’s countrypolitan classic “Funny How Time Slips Away.” In recent years Reed has appeared as the “Chanteuse” for the avant-garde theater Teatro ZinZanni in San Francisco.

View Comments