Charles Bradley is as authentic a voice as exists in music. His story has now been well-documented, and you cannot find a singer whose experiences ring through more clearly in their voice. His difficulties were myriad, making his triumph in the autumn of life that much sweeter. His live performance is where it’s at, though, exhibiting all of the pathos associated with that rocky journey. It’s incredibly intense at times, intense enough to reduce the macho-ist of men to tears, as he’s likely to accomplish when he takes the stage at Lollapalooza this Satuday afternoon at 2:45pm. Over the past two years, his soul searing performances have already become the stuff of legend; he clearly learned something not just from his personal travails, but also from his time backing James Brown.
In this live performance for KEXP from SXSW, he asks a heart-wrenching question of great salience in this day and age, and one without an easy answer: “Why Is It So Hard?” (to make it in America). Great question Charles, great question.