"Oh wait, it is Valentine's Day, isn't it?" Beth Orton said quizzically to the audience last night at Jazz at Lincoln Center's Allen Room, where she appeared as part of the American Songbook series. "How many of you are here on a date? Oh Christ . . ."
Orton, whose songs offer a stark, brutally honest view of relationships, might not have been the best choice for those couples seeking a Hallmark-style night out. But, for those looking for something a bit more genuine, Orton's stripped-down set was just what the doctor ordered. Possessing one of the most powerful, distinctive voices in folk-rock, Orton started out with several tracks from 2012's Sugaring Season, her first album in more than six years. Accompanying Orton were guitarist Emmett Kelly, bassist Tony Scherr, drummer Ben Perowsky, and singer-songwriter Sam Amidon, whom she married in 2011.