Patty Larkin
Patty Larkin - extraordinary guitarist
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2010 marked Patty's 25th year of recording music...
Follow her musical journey as she reworks 25 love songs from 1985-2010
with voice and acoustic guitar - and some friends along the way.

25 artists:

Shawn Colvin / Hallelujah • Mary Chapin Carpenter / Chained to These Lovin' Arms
Bruce Cockburn / Open Arms • Dar Williams / Good Thing • Suzanne Vega / Pablo Neruda
Rosanne Cash / Closest Thing • John Gorka / Deja Vu • Erin McKeown / Beautiful
Chris Smither / Brazil • Martin Sexton / Lately • Greg Brown / Here • Janis Ian / Italian Shoes
Merrie Amsterburg / Inside Your Painting • Beppe Gambetta / St. Augustine
David Wilcox / The Cranes • Jonatha Brooke / Only One • Lucy Kaplansky / Tango
Willy Porter / You and Me • Cheryl Wheeler / Island of Time • The Nields / I'm Fine
Jennifer Kimball / Coming Up for Air • Birdsong at Morning / Home
Peter Mulvey / Booth of Glass • Catie Curtis / Cupid's Knee • The She-las / Lost and Found

Patty on 25
I recently joked that there is no longer a Music Business, just Music. “25” is a testament to that idea.  Maybe

it really is true that the more things change, the more they remain the same. Herein lies a career’s worth of love songs. Here are artists I’ve admired and been inspired by, some of whom I’ve known for more than a quarter of a century, who are continuing to create songs of worth and meaning, regardless of the state of the “music industry”. Renegades and troubadors, humorists and historians, these are singers who have stopped me in my tracks and made me aware of beauty and passion and joy. I am grateful to each one of them for the grace they have bestowed upon this collection of songs. Each and every one of them is a flower in bloom for me, and together they have restored my spirit and given me hope. 

25 years. It can be added, divided, multiplied and subtracted so easily. This music is a thank you to all who have accompanied me on my musical journey since the first record. Something new with which to remember all of the days. 

On The Recording Process
I began recording these 25 songs in September 2009, two weeks after my mother, Mary Jeanne, passed away. The fact that my friends were at my back moved me through that time, and gave me a sense of purpose. I wanted to be true to the music, but not overwork it.  So I sang each song until it was time to stop. Then these “live” unplugged studio recordings were sent out to each artist for them to add their own voice, with the invitation to interpret each song as they saw fit.  It was an invitation to make it their own, and the results, I think, are stunning. The artists showed up. They each found a studio and showed up in Denver or Ireland or at home, and they spent time with my song. Every package that came back was like a message in a bottle.  Something exotic and wonderful, and new. A surprise. It often brought tears to my eyes to hear their voices with mine, to listen to their musical minds at work creating beauty. It has made me grateful and humble, ready to listen -- to begin again. 

On The Friends & Songs

Martin Sexton is a singer who can kill you by holding one note perfectly. It's just one of those things. It's like watching a high diver hang in the air until the brilliantly timed moment their fingertips slice into the water. I was a fan of Martin's out of the box. He came up through Boston pretty much ready to go out of the box with his own take on the music.The guy can sing! Here he tears up "Lately", the oldest song on the record. He makes it sound fresh and full of life, humming along with a whistle and a song.

I love the way Jonatha's mind works. I don't know how she does it, but she turns everything she touches into crystal. With her parts on ONLY ONE, Jonatha has created a soundtrack Phillip Glass would be proud to sing. She surprises you by turning normal into paranormal, if you get what I mean. The slight dissonance that hangs in the air, the resolve that lets you breathe again. A mini orchestra for the soul. Jonatha, I think you pulled it off--again.

A huge inspiration to me and hordes of other singer/songwriters, Bruce is big. His instantly recognizable voice and his intricate guitar parts that lace their way through songs of truth and beauty have accompanied me on my musical path. Political, irreverent when need be, funnier than sin, he is always a welcome presence, a gracious, eloquent guest, a treasured friend. We sang together on Open Arms in 1995 on Strangers World. This time he plays brilliant guitar as well.

One of the amazing things about David Wilcox is his dedication to not only the music, but to the mystical aspect of creating, performing, and singing. He is a magical guitarist, finding colors on the instrument that enchant and mesmerize. His honey voice can bring you as close to a meditative state as anything. He is going for nothing less than pure joy and enlightenment. Life is for living, and David embraces that ideal with great enthusiasm. For him it seems the journey is all, the path is all, the moment, all. david

I have been a fan of Rosanne's since her first groundbreaking albums. She continues to be a brilliant light to read by: inventing, reinventing, interpreting. She approaches each album with a creative twist that redefines her work. Her vocals on this track are breathtakingly perfect, deep and heartfelt. She connects with desire and stillness and grace in a way that speaks volumes.

A captivating singer, Shawn is able to translate her pop sensibilities into something rooted and true. I believe her. I hear where she's coming from and where she's going. We met back in the New York days, during the resurgence of interest in all things acoustic. This song is about leaving all you know for the "new world". She's been there, done that. It's pure joy to have her on this record.

Jen has sung with me since 1993 and Angels Running, first as half of The Story, then as a solo artist. Talented, creative and funny as well, her musical mind is limitless. Her voice is a supple reed instrument, that blends with mine like my sisters'. Jen's own songs lodge in my head and won't let go. She sent this track to us from her "home" in Ireland. She has breathed new life into Air.

I first heard Lucy on John Gorka's albums, and met her in New York at the old Bottom Line, "back in the day". Seems like a heartbeat away from now. Her voice is dead-on, clear as a bell. She nails it on Tango, pulling it out of the air so that you feel it near the center of gravity, near the heart. We are connected by the Red Thread, by our families, by this life. I'm grateful for her presence.

Willy has a voice that can fill up your heart, it's so full. He has the personality to match. Besides that, he can play guitar big time. He kills me. I'm lucky, because we share a hometown in Wisconsin. My sister, Sheila, had been telling me to catch him for years. I followed her advice, and was amazed by what he was doing. A one man band, I count him among the sweethearts of the rodeo.

Chris has this thing: when he sings and plays, he lays down a groove so big that the entire audience goes there with him. Just makes you feel good. When he sings, the world melts away. A true troubadour, his songs are time honored classics that I sang when I was first starting out. His latest album is always my favorite. I'm so glad to know him and his family, and to have him on this collection.

ISLAND OF TIME / Cheryl Wheeler
Cheryl Wheeler: irreverent, smart as a whip, funny as hell, sings like an angel. Her delivery is pitch perfect, whether it's the hook of a song or the punch line of a joke. It's just another insight into the workings of her one of a kind mind. She'll make you laugh, she'll make you cry, she'll make you think. We have known each other since the beginning of time, it seems. Good to be with her again on the Island.

CUPID'S KNEE / Catie Curtis
Catie Curtis's approach to her music is fresh and true, irregardless of what subject she tackles. She writes songs that resonate, no matter who you are or where you live, or what you do. She does all of this, and still manages to write songs that have a hook to them. We are linked by Boston and family, by choices, and friends. It's all good. Life is about links and connections, six degrees of separation, and one song to share. I think of her as a Midwesterner, which is a high compliment, coming from me.

HOME / Birdsong at Morning
Home is the first song I wrote after the events of 9/11, and it was new and raw when I recorded it on Red=Luck. I invited my old friends of the new Birdsong At Morning to join me on Home because their music is both timeless and timely. Allan, Dar and Greg have created gorgeous arrangements on their recordings, and they have woven a beautiful piece here, a finely crafted tapestry from a not so distant memory.

PABLO NERUDA / Suzanne Vega
I wrote this song immediately after seeing the film IL Postino, (the one where Pablo Neruda is this sensual being who writes poetry and lives in the mountains above the sea), and just before my commitment ceremony in 1997. I have been a big fan of Suzanne's from the start. She and her heart of gold join me perfectly on this song. She makes it her own. Her music has been my traveling companion, her spirit shines here.

BEAUTIFUL / Erin McKeown
Erin is a spark of light, on stage and off. She's got this retro/take no prisoners approach to joy that defines her music. Circle all of the above, and go figure: who knew she could play such cool piano? Or Hammond B3? Quirky and deep, ironic and iconic, she totally "gets" Beautiful. On top of all that, her version of These Boots Are Made for Walkin' at the Michigan Womyn's Festival redefined that song for me forever.

BOOTH OF GLASS / Peter Mulvey
Peter and I toured Alaska together in the Fall of 2008. While I counted the glaciers as they passed below the plane's window, Peter wrote a record's worth of journal entries. John Hall would probably call him an analogue boy in a digital world. He bikes to gigs, plays brilliant guitar, writes songs of substance and meaning, and sings like a top that has been around. It is always a pleasure to go there with him.

GOOD THING / Dar Williams
I have been a fan of Dar's ever since I heard her song, "When I Was A Boy." She has a wonderful sense of the world and its nonsense. She takes our daily details and cuts through to the heart of the matter, writing songs for the human being in all of us. She's a whimsical realist. Dar and her beautiful family lived just around the corner from us for a time. I am lucky to know her, and to have her on my mom's favorite song.

DEJA VU / John Gorka
John is always a welcome presence on any album, any show, any beach, at any late night diner. He is a folk philosopher who marches to a different drummer. Well, he doesn't so much march as wander down lost lanes of beauty and darkness and light. With a voice like John's he could sing the newspaper and it'd sound good. Deja Vu is the song I asked him to sing at my commitment ceremony. A good friend, it's all good when John is around.

INSIDE YOUR PAINTING / Merrie Amsterburg
I love Merrie Amsterburg: her voice, her songs, her hair. She plays mandolins and baritone guitar. Very cool. She's the only person I know who rescues old organs with cha cha percussion on them. Merrie's music is like Kate Bush sitting in on a Beatles session. It's irresistible, hummable and transporting. She has joined me on CD and on the road, and it's always great fun. She'll get Inside Your Painting too.

CHAINED TO THESE LOVIN' ARMS / Mary Chapin Carpenter
I've been a fan since Chapin's first breakthrough album. She writes intelligent, catchy songs full of feeling, heart and humor, that appeal to folks from the full spectrum of musical taste. Her kindness and great attitude does not go unrecognized, and she has graciously appeared previously on my record, Angels Running. She continues to be a beautiful presence on the music scene, and I always look forward to hearing more from her.

Janis. She was the one. I saw her on the Tonight Show singing "Society's Child" when she was 16. I had begun to write songs, and hearing Janis was like a bolt of lightening to my core. "Wow!" I can remember thinking. The idea that I would come to know her would have been unbelievable to me at that time. Janis has never stopped writing amazing, important songs. I am grateful for her in my life and times.

HERE / Greg Brown
I have often thought that Greg's songs were written in the early 1900s, channeled later by him. So it makes perfect sense that he would sing with me on a song that harkens back to what seems from a distance to be simpler days. Greg has the gift of being able to write classic songs, true Americana, pouring out of the heartland. He drove through an Iowa blizzard to record this track. But that's another story.

ST. AUGUSTINE / Beppe Gambetta
Beppe Gambetta is a master guitarist, a musician in the first degree. He is dedicated to his art, his life's work. We met on tour in Australia and it is always about the music... and the food. It has been such a pleasure to play with him in Italy and the U.S. He is a force of nature, fluid and powerful, centered. When we play together I can breathe in the calm intensity of his guitar and voice. Grazie Beppe, grazie mille.

LOST & FOUND / The She-las
I have wanted to be in a band named after my sister for years. My sister, Sheila, is a soulful musician who connects with music on a multitude of levels. She was the one who heard my songs first when I began to write. We have sung together, well, forever. Catharine David, who sang with me in the 80s, is a long time friend, and Merrie Amsterburg is a perfect addition. Soul sisters. So, finally. The She-Las!

Nerissa and Katryna Nields are the real deal. They have a spirit that comes through their music: pure joy, peace, harmony, and yes, love. They are prime examples of the evolution of folk/acoustic/roots rock music, borrowing from any tune that turns their ear, making it their own. True roots and wings. Their dedication to music that spans generations is an inspiration to me. What fun!