Imelda May makes retro contemporary 

How did Celtic rockabilly queen Imelda May keep her “Love Tattoo” debut and the upcoming “Mayhem” follow-up sound simultaneously contemporary and retro-rollicking?

“I wanted to keep it that way so it’s up to date,” says the singer, who first came to stateside attention at last year’s Grammy Awards, singing Mary Ford’s part on “How High The Moon” alongside her mentor, Jeff Beck.

“You know, I am living in 2011, and I didn’t want to be some old-fashioned rock and roller with a backwards view on it,” she says. “Looking back at this lovely music was fine, but I wanted to keep it up-to-date.”

May’s ’50s-chic fashions, however, just landed her on the cover of the Irish Sunday Times Style Magazine. And she and Beck have continued their partnership — a Les Paul tribute concert they recorded at New York’s Iridium Jazz Club last year has just made its way to DVD, as Jeff Beck’s “Rock ‘N’ Roll Party — Honoring Les Paul.”

But before “Mayhem” hits these shores this summer, May will return to San Francisco at the Fillmore on April 9.

Stay in tune with her at

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Tom Lanham

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