Fans of House, MD, know that star Hugh Laurie, besides being a Cambridge graduate with an anthropology degree, has a distinct musical bent, as evidenced by his website, hughlaurieblues.com. Naturally the French (and PBS’s Great Performances) are all over his New Orleans blues album, Let Them Talk.
Laurie’s parlayed that interest into a live tour that brings him to Seattle’s Benaroya Hall on June 4, which may seem a long way off, but only about 300 tickets remain in the 2,500-seat hall. Regular ticket prices range from $35 to $105.
Laurie will be performing on piano and vocals and is joined by the Copper Bottom Band (on the album, his musical collaborators include Irma Thomas, Allen Toussaint, Sir Tom Jones, and Dr. John). Laurie is refreshingly deprecating about his own gifts:
I was not born in Alabama in the 1890s. You may as well know this now. I’ve never eaten grits, cropped a share, or ridden a boxcar. No gypsy woman said anything to my mother when I was born and there’s no hellhound on my trail, as far as I can judge. Let this record show that I am a white, middle-class Englishman, openly trespassing on the music and myth of the American south.
He’s singing and playing this music because he loves it, not because he imagines he’s the best interpreter handy. Laurie superfans may not care either way, but I think it will be heartwarming to those who love the New Orleans blues strain to hear someone who cherishes the music as they do.