Award-winning blues artist Karen Lovely tours in advance of her new live album, "Live! in Los Angeles," to be released officially in October.

Award-winning blues artist Karen Lovely tours in advance of her new live album, "Live! in Los Angeles," to be released officially in October.

The album was recorded before a packed house, which included such luminaries as Bill Withers, Chris Tucker and Babyface, at Herb Alpert's Vibrato club in Los Angeles.

"It's a great mixture of contemporary and classic blues," Lovely says. "That's my genre. That's where I live."

"Live! in Los Angeles" features 13 blues, R&B and soul tracks, including songs from her first two albums, previously unrecorded material and tunes by Big Maybelle and Big Mama Thornton.

Longtime music critic Don Heckman described Lovely's performance at the Vibrato as "one of the most unexpected pleasures of recent memory."

"Lovely's style begins from sources within such classic blues singers as Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith," says Heckman in a BluesNotes review. "And, like Janis Joplin before her, she has translated those influences into an utterly gripping contemporary style of her own. Her set, which ran nonstop for nearly two hours, was superbly supported by a band that could do no wrong."

Lovely, who recently moved to Portland, will perform at 9 p.m. Friday, Aug. 24, at Alex's Plaza Restaurant, 35 N. Main St., Ashland.

She and a lineup of musicians, including guitarist Leonard Griffie, bassist Bob DiChiro and drummer Taylor Murphy, plan to tour Europe and release a studio album in the spring.

A limited number of advance copies of "Live! in Los Angeles" will be available at the show. The cover is $5. Call 541-482-8818.

— Teresa Thomas