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Joan Armatrading Semi-Retires With an 18-Month Tour

Joan Armatrading has had a long and varied career. She was born in St. Kitts in 1950 and moved to Birmingham, England when she was very young. Profiles at AllMusic and Wikipedia trace a career that has featured changes in style and a good deal of success. Armatrading always has been more popular in the U.K. than in the United States, but has a strong following on this side of the Atlantic.

The singer/songwriter/instrumentalist is in the midst of what she says will be her last major tour. And quite a tour it is: She is on the road for about a year-and-a-half. The list of concerts is so long that it’s almost funny. And she won’t be able to coast through any part of it: She’s performing solo.

The Guardian’s Paul Sexton wrote a very nice article about Armatrading in 2010. It profiled somebody who is open, honest and confident. Here is a taste of what he wrote:

Her career has been characterised by achievement, against the odds, and grit. There has certainly always been plenty of the latter in her songs, along with a spellbinding musical imagination and an undercurrent of vulnerability.

One reason that there perhaps isn’t more to say about Armatrading is that she is very protective of her private life. She expresses herself through her music but, apparently, doesn’t share too many real world details. We do know that Armatrading has an MBE, which is the Order of the British Empire. She earned a degree in history from The Open University, a distance learning school in England. She now is a trustee. Armatrading and her girlfriend entered a civil partnership in the Shetland Islands in 2011.

Wikipedia, Joan Armatrading’s site and AllMusic were used for this post. Above is “Willow” and below is “Drop the Pilot.”

Here’s What’s Here

The Daily Music Break explores every genre of music, from hip hop to opera. It's simple: Boundaries are dumb. It's all good. Here is more about the site and here is our index:

--A Tribe Called Quest to The Dick Hyman Trio (In other words, A to H)

--Indigo Girls to Queen Ida (I to Q)

--Radiohead to ZZ Top (R to Z)

Reading Music

The stories of the great bands and musicians are fascinating. Musicians as a group are brilliant, but often troubled. The combination of creativity and drama makes for great reading.

Here are some books to check out.

Duke Ellington brought class, sophistication and style to jazz which, until that point, was proudly unpolished and raucous. His story is profound. The author, Terry Teachout, also wrote "Pops," the acclaimed bio of Louis Armstrong. Click here or on the image.

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What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.

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The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

David Dodd's exhaustive study tells the story, song by song. Click here or on the image.

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