Liz McComb: Gospel stew
McComb began singing when she was 3 years old. But the true revelation came when somebody else stopped singing: It was Easter Sunday, and her older sisters went missing right when they were supposed to perform at church. "I will never forget that as long as I live," laughs McComb, who stepped up and sang her heart out and hasn't stopped since. She plays Central Park SummerStage on Saturday.
The Cleveland-born McComb has since traveled the world with her all-embracing approach to gospel music that includes New Orleans jazz, funk, rap, soul and traditional. Her new CD, "Soul, Peace & Love," mirrors the first time she left the U.S. and found her musical home in Europe
"I was in my late 20s," she says, "but I was a kid because I'd been under my mom's wing. I had a backpack, I didn't care about clothes or anything, I just wanted to travel and learn."
Travel she did, sharing the stage with legends like Ray Charles and James Brown and making a second home in Paris. It's an amazing path for a woman whose father died when she was young and whose mother was a Pentecostal pastor who, far from strict in terms of influence, encouraged all types of music in their home.
Now she's coming to New York, and, she insists, all those years of good living haven't taken spice from her soul.
"I'm not a perfect person," she says. "And I don't try to make people think
that I am. I'm a human being. Some days have been good, some have been bad. But
God's grace has been around me."
(Central Park SummerStage, July 28; Rumsey Playfield, E. 72nd St.; 212-360-2777)