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Madeleine Peyroux set for SLO's Fremont Theater / New Times

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Close your eyes when Madeleine Peyroux sings and you can forget when and where you are. It could be a smoky French café in the 1930s, a blues-drenched American juke joint in 1940s, or tonight Saturday, Sept. 22, in the Fremont Theater. Peyroux had a fairly peripatetic upbringing. Born to "hippie" parents in Athens, Georgia, she was raised in New York and California before her parents divorced when she was 13 and she and her mother moved to Paris. Today she lives in Brooklyn, though she said in a recent phone interview, "I travel so much I'm not super grounded to any one place."

Her newest, Anthem, was produced and co-written by four-time Grammy winner Larry Klein (Joni Mitchell, Herbie Hancock), who she's co-written with in the past. What sort of show should people expect when she appears this weekend at the Fremont?

"Right now, we're going to be presenting songs on this recording in a traditional jazz context," Peyroux said. "We're a quintet, and I think the approach, in a way, is a pop approach. A lot of the great jazz standards were pop songs at the time. It's more about the lyrics and the story, a story that's a personal plea from one person to a whole bunch of other people, a personal message, a political message."

Anthem's title track perfectly encompasses that sentiment and sounds like a classic American Songbook jazz standard with a contemporary twist: "The birds they sang at the break of day/ Start again I heard them say/ Don't dwell on what has passed away/ Or what is yet to be// Yeah the wars they will be fought again/ The holy dove she will be caught again/ Bought and sold and bought again/ The dove is never free// Ring the bells that still can ring/ Forget your perfect offering/ There is a crack in everything/ That's how the light gets in."

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