Between her excellent new covers record, Kicks, and her fall tour, Rickie Lee Jones has been riding a late-career resurgence this last decade.
The veteran singer/songwriter still delivers her brand of magic onstage, whether performing her own classics from over 40 years of recording or doing eclectic covers chosen from the Great American Songbook. Now settled in her adopted hometown of New Orleans but ever restless, Jones has always enjoyed interpreting torch songs of yore for her nightclub jaunts. Including It’s Like This from 2000 and The Devil You Know from 2012, Kicks is the chanteuse’s third collection of covers.
Jones still writes her own inimitable, boho ballads, as reflected on 2015’s The Other Side of Desire, but, in the delicate touch and funky brio she brings to these projects, it’s clear she takes delight and inspiration in rearranging other writers’ standards.
Jones opens Kicks with a bold reimagining of “Bad Company” by the ’70s group of the same name. With her band’s help, she turns this anthem into a slinky swagger with brooding arpeggios, conga percussion and her own scrappy electric guitar flourishes.
Elsewhere, Jones updates America’s “Lonely People” with elegant panache, emphasizing empathy and sweet slide guitar. Though piano has always been her main instrument, she’s also an accomplished guitar player, something that becomes immediately clear at her intimate shows as she effortlessly switches from keys to six-string. One of the deep cuts on Kicks is Elton John’s “My Father’s Gun,” in which Jones blends Southern defiance with Gospel fervor for a bravura version.
It’s not all Classic Rock covers — Jones glides from the jazzy romp of “Nagasaki” to the Country croon of Skeeter Davis’s 1963 chart-topping single “The End of the World,” which provides the record’s emotional anchor as she eschews the original’s little-girl-lost sorrow for a grittier world-weariness, perhaps all the more appropriate for these times.
8:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19. $35-$60. Ludlow Garage, 342 Ludlow Ave., Clifton, ludlowgaragecincinnati.com.