Lucy Kaplansky,
Ten Year Night
(Red House, 1999)

Lucy Kaplansky amazingly is still able to grow with every new record. Her first CD, produced by Shawn Colvin, relied mainly on the abilities of other writers, while her second included several songs that she penned together with her husband, Rick Litvin. Her third record now only has got one cover left, Steve Earle's "Somewhere Out There."

The important message here is that Kaplansky's songs keep getting better and better. And they were quite good to start with! It's no wonder she can now almost rely on her own writing skills exclusively. Maybe this has something to do with the fact that the learned psychologist has finally accepted that music is what she wants to do right now. At present she seems to have given up her practice to concentrate on her career as a musician only. Then again, maybe it has also has to do with being a sometimes-member of the folk "super-group" Cry Cry Cry (together with Dar Williams and Richard Shindell) -- playing bigger venues and being showered with raving reviews certainly doesn't harm anyone's self-confidence.

Kaplansky is very much in demand as background singer, turning up on albums by artists like Nanci Griffith, Shawn Colvin and John Gorka. This is just to show you that also other people are charmed by her vocals, too, because I think that Kaplansky possesses on of the best voices in the field of pop or folk. Her voice is a gift from heaven and now we ourselves are showered with luck because this mighty fine voice has come along with this CD full of mighty fine music.

Lucy Kaplansky deals in folk and pop with an occasional hint of twang in voice and sound. Her songs prove to be deeply personal sometimes -- "Ten Year Night," for instance, is an ode to Kaplansky's meeting with her future husband ten years ago and how they were able to maintain that love-at-first-sight feeling up through today. "Promise Me" is a touching recollection of what it's like to go on the road, leaving your love behind.

On this CD Kaplansky is assisted by Cry Cry Cry pal Richard Shindell, label mate John Gorka and the fabulous vocal harmonies of former The Story member Jennifer Kimball. The ten songs show that this major talent has become a major artist now, and Kaplansky proves that she now stands tall among the other giants of folk and pop. Dr. Kaplansky's music is breathtaking indeed. So now the question is, how long will it take the world to realize this?

[ by Michael Gasser ]

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