Music

Hard Luck to Center Stage

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Wednesday, January 29, 2014
photo courtesy of IHEG

Soul singer Charles Bradley may sound like he should have been making hit records 40 years ago, but that’s simply because he really should have been—he was around back then. Bradley’s story is one of incredible perseverance: he was abandoned and homeless as a child and later survived dire illness.

For many years, he made money as a James Brown impersonator. That’s a job that clearly demands some mighty vocal pyrotechnics, not to mention stage presence. Bradley has both. That helped get him onto the radar of a Brooklyn record label, if decades later than might be expected.

Now, on the heels of a 2011 debut, which arrived when he was 62, a second album and a documentary, Bradley has come into his own. His influences and tradition are clear, but his songs and his sound are Bradley, not Brown, and full of messages of hope despite his tough circumstances. He visits Northampton this week.

Feb. 5, 8 p.m., $17/advance, $20/door, Pearl Street Nightclub, 10 Pearl St., Northampton, (413) 586-8686, iheg.com.

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