Thornetta Davis, Detroit’s Queen of the Blues, brings her powerhouse voice and indelible stories to Helena’s Myrna Loy May 1. It’s her only stop in Montana.
Davis, winner of more than 30 Detroit Music Awards, has opened for Ray Charles, Gladys Knight, Smokey Robinson, Etta James, Buddy Guy, and Koko Taylor.
“She is the composite of all the major styles of African-American music sans jazz, and is a mash-up of some iconic female singers like Bessie Smith, Big Mama Thornton, and Aretha,” writes a reviewer for Elmore Magazine. “Yes, this is high praise but I’m not kidding.”
Crowned “Detroit’s Queen of the Blues” in 2015, Davis swept the 2017 and 2018 Detroit Music Awards. She tells her stories with a voice that’s strong, commanding, melodic and smooth, and backed by her band of stellar Detroit musicians.
Davis first gained attention in 1987 as a back-up singer for the Detroit soul band Lamont Zodiac and The Love Signs. Shortly after, the lead singer left the band and its name changed to The Chisel Brothers featuring Thornetta Davis. In 1996 Davis recorded her first solo album, Sunday Morning Music on the Seattle-based label Sub Pop. Her song “Cry” from that album was featured on the HBO hit “The Sopranos.”
She has opened for a slew of legendary blues and R&B greats with many memorable performances … like the time she opened for Bonnie Raitt at Michigan’s Ann Arbor Blues & Jazz festival in 1992. Raittasked Thornetta to join her and Katie Webster (queen of swamp boogie) for an encore song that evoked a standing ovation.
In 1999 Davis brought down the house with an astounding performance at the Lillith Fair at Michigan’s Pine Knob Music Theatre hosted by Sarah Mclachlan.
In 2000 she opened the VH1 Vogue fashion awards at Madison Square Garden with Detroit phenomenon Kid Rock, and again performed with Kid Rock in 2006 during Super Bowl week on “Jimmie Kimmel Live.” In 2007 she took a bite out of the Big Apple with Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band during performances on “The View” and “The David Letterman Show”.
A member of the Detroit Music Hall of Fame since 2001, Davis released her highly praised album, Honest Woman in 2016.
“Her voice has the versatility to both caress slow ballads and belt out raw stompers,” writes Elmore Magazine’s reviewer. “It’s about time more of us outside of the Detroit area got to hear this lady sing.”
It’s Montana’s turn at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 1. For tickets, call 406-443-0287 or order online.