NEWTOWN — The Flagpole Radio Café returns on Dec. 7 at 7 p.m. at the Edmond Town Hall, in Newtown, featuring guest artist Lucy Kaplansky. Tickets are now on sale at http://www.flagpoleproductions.org. All tickets are $35. For more information, contact Martin Blanco at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Co-Producer Martin Blanco remarked, “I’m so happy to finally have Lucy Kaplansky on the show. She performed a concert with The Flagpole Radio Orchestra at the Newtown Meeting House two years ago, as well as a house concert in Newtown in support of Francine and David Wheeler’s foundation Ben’s Lighthouse. Not only is she a gifted musician with a beautiful voice, but she is an artist who has expressed great affection for Newtown. We’re looking forward to her long-awaited appearance with much anticipation.”
Lucy Kaplansky began singing in Chicago folk music clubs as a teenager. Then, barely out of high school, she left for New York City where she found a fertile community of songwriters and performers. With a beautiful flair for harmony, Lucy was a favorite singing partner of many of her colleagues, but most often she found herself singing as a duo with Shawn Colvin. People envisioned big things for them; in fact, The New York Times said it was “easy to predict stardom for her.”
At this juncture, Lucy left the musical fast track to pursue a doctorate in Clinical Psychology. Upon completing her degree, she took a job at a New York hospital working with chronically mentally ill adults, and also started a private practice. Yet, she continued to sing. Lucy was often pulled back into the studio by her friends, wanting her to sing on their albums. She harmonized on Shawn Colvin’s Grammy-winning “Steady On,” and on Nanci Griffith’s “Lone Star State of Mind” and “Little Love Affairs.” She also landed soundtrack credits, singing with Suzanne Vega on Pretty in Pink and with Nanci Griffith on The Firm, and several commercial credits as well including “The Heartbeat of America” for Chevrolet.
Shawn Colvin and Lucy continued to collaborate. While recording, Lucy’s solo tapes came to the attention of Bob Feldman, president of Red House Records, and he was blown away. Suddenly, Lucy was back in the music business. She signed with Red House Records and started playing gigs. Red House released The Tide in 1994 to rave reviews, and within six months Lucy signed with Fleming Artists and began touring so much it required leaving her two psychologist positions behind.
Lucy’s second album, “Flesh and Bone” (1996), emphasized her development as a gifted songsmith. Then Lucy’s success took flight with back-to-back hit albums Ten Year Night (1999) and Every Single Day (2001). Both received the AFIM award (Association For Independent Music) for Best Pop Album of the year.
In 1998 she teamed with Dar Williams and Richard Shindell to form supergroup Cry Cry Cry, and recorded some of their favorite songs written by other artists. The resulting album, Cry Cry Cry was an astonishing success. In 2017 and 2018, the trio celebrated their 20th anniversary with a sold out national tour and the release of their first recording in 20 years.
In 2010 Lucy joined with acclaimed singer-songwriters John Gorka and Eliza Gilkyson to record an album as part of new folk super-group Red Horse. Awash in gorgeous harmonies and stripped down production, the album features the singers performing each other’s songs. Red Horse received rave reviews and was the number one album on Folk Radio for several months in 2010.
In 2011, she released “Kaplansky Sings Kaplansky,” featuring songs written by her father, famed University of Chicago mathematician Irving Kaplansky, including live performances of the two of them performing together in California. This was Lucy’s first venture into 1940’s style swing, reminiscent of the work of Kaplansky’s former student Tom Lehrer.
Lucy’s September 2018 release, “Everyday Street,” is a stunning collection of songs weaving stories of joy, friendship, family, loss and discovery. It is somewhat of a departure sonically: stripped down, spontaneous, acoustic, with the feel of one of her concerts. The songs were recorded over four days with her long-time collaborator Duke Levine on acoustic guitar, electric guitar, mandola, National guitar, and octave mandolin, and Lucy on acoustic guitar, mandolin and piano.
The opening song, “Old Friends,” a duet with Shawn Colvin, is a reflection of their friendship and of their times together in the early days of the Greenwich Village folk scene. “Keeping Time,” with Richard Shindell on harmony, is from her vantage point as a mother sharing her neighborhood’s rhythms, albeit from a distance, with the late actor and father of three Philip Seymour Hoffman. “Janie’s Waltz” is about the beauty and grace of an ordinary day. The everyday streets of her long-time home, Greenwich Village in New York City, are woven throughout the recording. There are also four cover songs which have all been fan favorites from her shows, including Bruce Springsteen’s “Thunder Road,” Nanci Griffith’s “I Wish it Would Rain,” and the traditional Scottish song “Loch Lomond.” Finally, there is a re-imagined version of the title song of her first album, “The Tide.”
Lucy has appeared on the CBS Morning Show, NPR’s Weekend and Morning Editions and All Things Considered, Mountain Stage, and West Coast Live. Her voice has remained in high demand by her peers. Lucy’s song “Guilty as Sin” was featured in the NBC television show Ed. In addition, she can be heard on releases by Bryan Ferry and Nanci Griffith, and on the Greg Brown tribute album Going Driftless.
Lucy Kaplansky continues to tour and receive airplay both nationally and internationally. Her CD “Ten Year Night” is the #1 selling album of all time at Red House Records.
The Flagpole Radio Café is an evening of engaging music and compelling comedy performed by an ensemble of local artists. The ensemble comprises musicians Jim Allyn, Rick Brodsky, Howie Bujese, Cadence Carroll, Chris Durham, Dick Neil and Francine Wheeler, and actors Martin Blanco, Barbara Gaines, Kate Katcher, and David Wheeler.
The Flagpole Radio Café will be performed on Dec. 7 at 7 p.m. at the Edmond Town Hall, 45 Main Street, Newtown. Tickets cost $35. For ticket sales and information visit www.flagpoleproductions.org or call 203.364.0898.