Concert: Patty Larkin


PUTNEY — Next Stage Arts Project presents Patty Larkin in a special CD release concert at 7:30 p.m. today. Tickets are $22 at, or $25 at the door. Next Stage is located at 15 Kimball Hill.

Larkin is a true phenomenon among singer/songwriters in the American folk music scene today. She redefines the boundaries of folk-urban pop music with her inventive guitar wizardry and uncompromising vocals and lyrics. The New York Times describes her as “A virtuoso guitar player and mood-shaper...She is also a superb slide guitarist whose mature work is comparable to the best of Bonnie Rait and Lucinda Williams.”

Larkin is part of the urban-folk/pop music phenomenon that spun off of the singer/songwriter explosion of the '70s, reinterpreting traditional folk melodies, rock, pop, bossa nova, drawing on anything from Dylan (Bob) to Dylan (Thomas). A self-described “guitar-driven songwriter,” Larkin has wound her way through soundscapes of evocative vocals, inventive guitar wizardry and imaginative lyrics. Her songs run from impressionistic poetry to witty wordplay.

Larkin said, "I have been energized by the poets, writers and artists I have met while teaching, and find myself on a journey to break down some of the predictable pathways that songs can travel. I have begun my writing days by reading the work of my favorite poets. I sit in hotel rooms, in my studio, at my kitchen table and recite the lines out loud. I look at poetry the way I look at nature. It feeds my imagination like water. Over time, my morning ritual evolved into the desire to sing some of my favorite poems. By singing the words, I have been able to follow the poet’s mind where I would never have traveled alone. As a songwriter, the song form, the frame, can be restrictive. My task in songwriting has been to find the freedom within the form. To push the sides out and stretch it. But to set someone else’s words to music is to be freed from songwriting form, freed from the necessity of rhyming lines, making choruses or building bridges. Poems can do all of that, of course, but it happens in a different way. Lines in poems can stretch musically into another measure, or can appear as a wisp of melody that overlaps in the background. In short: anything is possible, and so, after writing songs since age 11, I sit in my studio with a 'beginner’s mind.' Rhythm, cadence, song form, style, all of the elements of songwriting become more malleable when I set a poem to music."

"'Song Poems,' a collection of poems I have spontaneously, organically set to song. The process has inspired me in my own songwriting and has reignited my love for the sound of words. The act of making music from poetry has been a very joyful one. And what a beautiful thing it is to make a joyful noise."
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