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Joan Armatrading on Getting 'Into the Blues'

Joan Armatrading has remained willfully eclectic throughout her long career.
Joan Armatrading has remained willfully eclectic throughout her long career.

Joan Armatrading's career spans nearly 35 years, but she's rarely stayed in the same genre for long. The singer, songwriter and guitarist has released 18 albums spanning folk, pop, rock, jazz and beyond, often within a single disc.

Her new Into the Blues finds Armatrading delving, appropriately enough, into the blues. But her definition of the genre is broad enough that the disc never seems predictable or conventional.

In an interview from London, Armatrading talks about her eclecticism, the allure of the blues and the meanings behind her new songs. She also describes the genre's versatility — rejecting the notion that blues music merely dwells on misery and suffering — and touches on the way Into the Blues differs from the way it would sound if Armatrading were 22 instead of 56.

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Liane Hansen
Liane Hansen has been the host of NPR's award-winning Weekend Edition Sunday for 20 years. She brings to her position an extensive background in broadcast journalism, including work as a radio producer, reporter, and on-air host at both the local and national level. The program has covered such breaking news stories as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the capture of Saddam Hussein, the deaths of Princess Diana and John F. Kennedy, Jr., and the Columbia shuttle tragedy. In 2004, Liane was granted an exclusive interview with former weapons inspector David Kay prior to his report on the search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The show also won the James Beard award for best radio program on food for a report on SPAM.