Naomi Shelton has had six decades to develop her powerful soulful vocals.
At the age of 6, she began singing in Midway, Alabama churches with her sisters. A decade later, she moved to New York and started singing soul in city clubs.
Now the 68-year-old calls Brooklyn home and is the lead singer of the band Naomi Shelton and the Gospel Queens.
Her queens — on the harmonizing vocals — are Cynthia Langston, Edna Johnson and Bobbie Gant. Cliff Driver is the band's leader and plays the keys.
In "What Have You Done, My Brother?", Shelton is, "Not just talking to the brothers, too. I'm talking about me and you, too." (Listen in at 3:04 to hear her sing it. Amen!) The call-and-response-style gospel song is the title track on the band's first album, which was released two years ago on Daptones Records.
Naomi Shelton and the Gospel Queens perform with Zlatne Uste Balkan Brass Band on Wednesday night at the Bell House. Proceeds from the show will go to farms devastated by Tropical Storm Irene.
Check out the band performing live in WNYC's Soundcheck studio below.