Breaking & Entering: A look at acts breaking at radio and retail and entering Billboard charts. This week: Madeleine Peyroux.

Profiling acts breaking at radio and/or retail and entering Billboard's charts.

Husky and elegant, Madeleine Peyroux's voice is one that transports to a time of hidden, smoke-filled haunts, rouged lips and lavish horns.

The jazz singer/guitarist's mix of deep Southern U.S. roots and Parisian upbringing give her voice the distinctive quality that landed her Rounder album "Careless Love" on several 2004 "best of" lists, including those published by Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal and Time.

The album enlists guitarist Dean Parks and jazz keyboardist Larry Goldings for an unexpected mix of originals and material by Leonard Cohen, Hank Williams, Bob Dylan and Elliott Smith. A highlight is her dusky cover of Gene Austin's 1920s hit "Lonesome Road."

Tracks like "J'ai Deux Amours" reflect Peyroux's inspiration as a street musician in France's Latin Quarter. The singer toured Europe with groups like the Riverboat Shufflers and the Lost Wandering Blues and Jazz Band before being discovered in New York by an Atlantic Records scout.

Peyroux debuted in 1996 with "Dreamland" on the label, but it's last year's longtime coming follow-up "Careless Love" that's attracting the attention. Almost five months after its release, the album is climbing the Billboard charts, reaching No. 2 on the Top Jazz Albums list this week and improving her first appearance on the Top Heatseekers chart to a No. 3 berth.

"We had strong support from non-commercial radio, great NPR coverage and good support from retailers like Borders, Barnes & Noble, Amazon and the indie [retailers] throughout the fourth quarter," says Rounder GM Paul Foley of Peyroux's recent chart successes. "Madeleine is one of our top developing artist priorities for 2005."

Peyroux's current North America touring leg will end March 5 at New York's Town Hall. She will open a European jaunt March 11 at St. Ingebert, Germany's Stadthalle before returning to North America in May, where her dates through November include a performance at Tennessee's fourth annual Bonnaroo Festival in June.

Links:
Artist: madeleinepeyroux.com
Label: rounder.com

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