Anytime Madeleine Peyroux sings, her music sounds a little different.
The Georgia-born Peyroux (her last name is pronounced like the country Peru) became famous, in part, for putting her idiosyncratic touch on time-tested standards. Many have compared her voice to Billie Holliday's.
Peyroux moved to France as a teenager, singing in the streets. After making her debut at 22 with Dreamland, she waited eight years before putting out a follow-up album. That was 2004's Careless Love.
For her latest album, Half the Perfect World, she returns only briefly to the older American songbook, choosing to cover more recent material, from Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen to Bob Dylan.
Peyroux recently dropped by NPR's studios to performs songs from the new collection, and threw in a reprise of the lovely old Dylan tune "You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go," which appeared on Careless Love.
Singer Madeleine Peyroux moved to France at age 15. She honed her vocal talents on the streets of Paris, busking with groups with names like the Riverboat Shufflers and the Lost Wandering Blues and Jazz Band.
At 22, she made a splash with her debut CD Dreamland. Now — fully eight years later — comes Careless Love, her second recording.
One of the songs Peyroux interprets on the new CD was sung in 1940s Paris by another American-born artist, Josephine Baker. The sweet melody saluted bonds between America and France while expressing the bittersweet emotions of the expatriate.
Peyroux recently spoke to Sheilah Kast from NPR's New York bureau.