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On her own, nearly. Madeleine Peyroux performs for KNKX

Madeleine Peyroux in the KNKX Studios.
Parker Miles Blohm
/
KNKX
Madeleine Peyroux in the KNKX Studios.

On her last visit to the KNKX studios, singer and songwriter Madeleine Peyroux was debuting music from her then-upcoming album Anthem in a duet with pianist Andy Ezrin. On this return visit, Ms. Peyroux accompanied herself on guitar and brought in longtime friend Steve Cardenas on guitar for her recent single "On My Own," as well as an old favorite and a brand new original song.

Talking with KNKX's Abe Beeson, Peyroux recalled her teen years busking on the streets of Paris. She loves the City of Lights to this day, and her mother lives there still. Her passion for music comes directly from the artists she encountered there, "because I met street musicians, and I was allowed to become one," Peyroux told us. Paris celebrates "being an artist. People also don't have the same disdain for being a poor... in fact, being a poor artist is better. You're more respected in some ways."

That said, Peyroux does prefer a nice setting with good sound. "Radio stations are the top for that," she told us, appreciative of our KNKX studio session atmosphere.

We also talked about the emotion packed into her music, and how difficult it can be to "go through the emotional roller coaster" of a show. "That's a real skill...it doesn't mean I have to sing the song exactly the same way, but the emotional content of the song is the most important thing."

Peyroux also treated our studio audience to a brand new song she wrote, based on a story about Bob Dylan and Irish folk singer Tom Clancy. Misremembering the story where Clancy gave Dylan the advice "no meanness, no envy, no fear." Peyroux took that further and started building a list of her "rules of life" and wrote her new song based on that list.

"We can choose to change the rules," she sang, asking listeners to avoid meanness, judgement, envy, fear and shame. "No Meanness" carries a powerful message and it's a beautiful song you can imagine Bob Dylan would be proud to call his own.

Asked if another new album was lined up to include this new song, Peyroux asked for our patience. Don't expect another record in 2020. So, we're waiting eagerly, and basking in the fantastic Friday afternoon feelings this unique artist gave to us.

Abe grew up in Western Washington, a 3rd generation Seattle/Tacoma kid. It was as a student at Pacific Lutheran University that Abe landed his first job at KNKX, editing and producing audio for news stories. It was a Christmas Day shift no one else wanted that gave Abe his first on-air experience which led to overnights, then Saturday afternoons, and started hosting Evening Jazz in 1998.
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  • Some artists hit you with a soaring voice or a technical prowess. But Madeleine Peyroux approaches her music with a sublime sense of heartbreak and healing that feels more therapeutic than entertainment. She’s affected audiences that way for over 22 years with a wizened vocal sensibility reminiscent of Tom Waits, Leonard Cohn and Billie Holiday.
  • Having just flown in that day from Vancouver, the four men of Kneebody settled into the KNKX Seattle studios to briefly catch their breath and play a few songs. Their new album Chapters comes out Oct. 18, and their world tour is kicking into gear.