Lucy Kaplansky revisits classics, celebrates family
BY SUZI STEFFEN
Ten Year Night, the album Lucy Kaplansky released in 1999, burst onto the folk scene with a delightful mix of Kaplansky’s loving, lusty, angry and wistful songs. Only the final song, the weak “A Child’s Hands,” gave some indication that Kaplansky’s background as a psychologist could undercut her gorgeous voice. Of course, many people had heard that voice harmonizing with Shawn Colvin years before on Steady On or with Richard Shindell and Dar Williams on the Cry Cry Cry album and tour, and those fans appreciated Kaplansky’s ability to let loose on the wonderfully furious “Turn the Lightzs Back On” and the calmly sweet title song.
|Lucy Kaplansky and Antje Duvekot. 7 pm Saturday, May 12. Luna • $17.50. 21+ show|
As Kaplansky’s solo career took off, she began writing more of her own songs, but she still performed many a cover in concert and often hit the stage with Shindell, especially on the East Coast. With her husband, a professor at NYU, Kaplansky wrote songs about their quest for a child. She watched the towers fall on 9/11 from her apartment and wrote “Land of the Living,” which is far more powerful in concert than on the 2004 album The Red Thread. And that’s often the case with Kaplansky, a funny, sharp performer who demands the best from her sound people but delivers with a lovely voice and strong energy for those in the audience.
Her newest album, Over the Hills, reflects both her recent history and the roots of folk music, and it should leave fans excited about seeing her live. Because of her many hilarious renditions of her mathematician father’s sweet, wonderful pieces, including the “Pi Song,” longtime listeners will feel the anguish of his loss all the more strongly on the touching “Today’s the Day,” in which she talks about his death and his influence on her life. And the thoughtful “Manhattan Moon,” oddly like singer-songwriter Catie Curtis’ “Long Night Moon,” reflects on life with her adopted daughter, Molly.
The title song signals a traditional folk sound with its words and its accordion, not to mention Eliza Gilkyson’s backing vocals. Kaplansky also showcases covers on this album, including a too-gentle “Ring of Fire” that probably sounds more electric onstage, and a sultry, light toss-off of Ian Tyson’s excellent “Someday Soon.” But longtime fans will be most excited by the inclusion of Loudon Wainwright III’s “Swimming Song,” with backing vocals by none other than Richard Shindell. Eugene-area Kaplansky listeners will pack the too-small Luna to hear her sing these and other songs, and they’ll hear another treat as German-American singer-songwriter Antje Duvekot opens; her voice and subject matter recall Ani DiFranco, but she also has a more classically folk sound.