Skip to main content

What's Up Magazine

Alluring Jazz Singer Performs New Album

Jul 29, 2011 08:52PM ● By Anonymous

Strathmore Presents



Alluring Jazz Singer Performs Songs from New Album Standing on the Rooftop

NORTH BETHESDA, MD – Beguiling singer Madeleine Peyroux will share songs from her new 2011 release Standing on the Rooftop with opening performer the singer Nellie McKay on Friday, September 30, 2011 at 8 p.m. in the Music Center. Peyroux will nimbly explore genres from the jazz canon, to the pop, country, blues and folk-tinged tracks from Standing on the Rooftop. For more information or to purchase tickets, call (301) 581-5100 or visit

Peyroux is beloved by audiences for her “gift of totally inhabiting a song, whatever the mood” (The Telegraph, UK). While she is often likened to Billie Holiday for her hallmark arrangements of early American blues and jazz, her sound is a perplexing hybrid with nuances from many genres. Her dynamic repertoire is informed by a childhood spent in Athens, Georgia, Southern California, Brooklyn and Paris. She began her career as a teenage busker, honing her vocal and guitar skills on the streets of Europe, where she molded her style on the cornerstones of jazz. Interpretations of great jazz artists such as Holiday and Bessie Smith were the crux of her well-received 1996 debut Dreamland, which also included covers of Patsy Cline and French chanteuse Edith Piaf. In later recordings, Peyroux explored modern musical influences such as Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan and cult legend Elliott Smith, in addition to her torch songs and early blues. The combination of these influences helped “to refine an enigmatic, low-key personal style that is all her own” (The New York Times).

Standing on the Rooftop is Peyroux’s sixth studio album and includes eight original compositions, three covers and a reimagining of the poem “Lay Your Sleeping Head, My Love” by W.H. Auden. The culmination demonstrates a broadening of her musical palette to embrace an organic, American roots sound. Cannily selected covers on the album are Robert Johnson’s “Love in Vain,” a wistful take on Bob Dylan’s “I Threw It All Away,” and a banjo-laden twist on The Beatles’ “Martha My Dear.”

Nellie McKay’s vocal blend of pop, jazz and cabaret creates a quirky charm that belies lyrics that are unexpectedly unorthodox, biting and sharp with wit. “McKay is funny and touching, ceaselessly clever and scarily talented,” writes the New Yorker. Her most recent album is Home Sweet Mobile Home. The multidimensional musician won a Theatre World Award for her portrayal of Polly Peachum in the Broadway production of The Threepenny Opera, appeared in the film PS I Love You, has written for The New York Times Book Review, composed original music for the Rob Reiner filmRumor Has It and recently contributed to the soundtrack of the Martin Scorsese HBO series Boardwalk Empire.

Madeleine Peyroux and Nellie McKay perform as part of Strathmore’s Celebrating American Composers, a sweeping year-long exploration of the dynamic talents and innovations that have shaped American music and its diverse genres