Music » Livewire

Leon Russell

Saturday, November 10, at the Beachland Ballroom.

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The cover of Leon Russell's new album, Angel in Disguise, is initially alarming. The veteran keyboardist, singer, and songwriter looks older than Mickey Rooney, and you wonder if he's got any more music left in him. But there's no need to worry; Russell has rarely disappointed. As soon as his familiar rasp breaks through on the opening track, "Sweet Mimi," it's clear that the man who penned "Delta Lady," "This Masquerade," and dozens of other pop classics has plenty of songs left in him. Russell shuns publicity, so fans have to pick through his music to unearth clues about what makes him tick these days. Fortunately, he's always been generous in that department. Itunes tags Angel in Disguise's genre as "unclassifiable"; we couldn't agree more. Songs like "Black n' Blue," "All Through the Night," and "Dyess Colony" defy labels — sorta the same way Russell himself has for more than 50 years.

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