Gladys Knight is from Atlanta, so the indelible 1973 soul-pop hit she had with the Pips, "Midnight Train to Georgia," has a certain resonance for her.
Knight sings with a voice that has warmth and depth along with plenty of expressive upper colors. The Georgia-train song is what she's best known for, but you could also listen to her smoldering version of Kris Kristofferson's lovely "Help Me Make It Through the Night" for a sense of how much control and fire she wields when she sings. (Knight, who recorded a cover of the hit "I Hope You Dance" in 2013, is not afraid of a classic country song.)
The Pips were masters of velvety backing vocals, but Knight, 72, had to have epic skills to justify the elaborate setting. Though she can compete with Aretha Franklin and Tina Turner in the raw belting department, there's an abiding smoothness to Knight's singing.
Gladys Knight will be joined by fellow emissaries of soul smoothness, the Whispers, when she plays at the Grand Theater at Foxwoods, 350 Trolley Line Blvd., Mashantucket, Saturday, Jan. 14, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $30 to $50. foxwoods.com.