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Waxed - Record Review from Issue #22 July-Aug 1999

Lucy Kaplansky

Ten Year Night (Red House)

After her teenage years singing in Chicago nightclubs, Lucy Kaplansky moved to New York City and fell in with a scene that included a veritable who’s who of folky singer-songwriters, including Suzanne Vega, John Gorka and Bill Morrissey. Just as Kaplansky shifted into primed-for-success mode, she traded the stage for college, eventually earning a doctorate in psychology.

After establishing a private practice and a position with a New York hospital, she resumed singing on a limited basis, racking up credits on Shawn Colvin’s Steady On, Nanci Griffith’s Lone Star State Of Mind and Little Love Affairs, and most of John Gorka’s albums. Colvin finally cajoled Kaplansky into a studio to sing up front, which led to her signing with Red House and a couple of acclaimed albums (1994′s The Tide and 1996′s Flesh And Bone). Late last year brought the debut of Cry Cry Cry, a collaborative project that featured Kaplansky, Dar Williams and Richard Shindell interpreting the work of their favorite songwriters.

Hot on the heels of that project comes Kaplansky’s third album of gorgeously composed and performed electric folk songs. With help from guitarists Larry Campbell and Duke Levine, drummer/producer Ben Wittman, and vocalists Gorka, Shindell and Jennifer Kimball, Kaplansky’s brilliantly personal story-songs are brought to shimmering life.

From the unshackled women of “Five In The Morning” and “Turn The Lights Back On”, to the guilt-ridden daughter of “For Once In Your Life”, to the passionate lover of “Just You Tonight”, Kaplansky exposes the beating heart of each and every song on Ten Year Night. Except for a Steve Earle cover (“Somewhere Out There”), all the material here was written by Kaplansky and her husband Rick Litvin, which adds to the intensely intimate atmosphere of the album.

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Originally Featured in Issue #22 July-Aug 1999

Cover of Issue #22 July-Aug 1999

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