It was way back in 2004 when I first became a fan of Lucy Kaplansky and since then I have heard a couple of her albums and have also played them to death. Apart from those albums, I didn’t know much else about her.
Lucy, 55, is a very talented musician. Although originally from Chicago, she resides in New York and has been singing and playing the guitar from a very young age. She has played alongside singers such as Suzanne Vega and Nanci Griffith.
I had never seen her play live. In fact I have never even watched her play on so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. She walked on stage carrying her guitar looking like the average girl you might find sitting at the end of the bar in a t-shirt and jeans having a wee pint.
She began to sing and the profession in her voice was effortless. After a couple of her owns songs, she moved over to the keyboard where she played and sang her ‘Lovely’ version of Leonard Cohan’s Halleluiah. It was lovely. Afterwards she was brave enough to admit that she’d only heard of that song for the first time a few years ago. Where had she been? Very odd coming from her folk and musical background, nonetheless she did have a giggle about that as did the audience.
Next she sang a song which was written while riding on the Subway from Manhattan to Brooklyn. I have to say I loved this. I found myself riding the London Tube and in my thoughts I could see every word she sang.
‘Freeze-frames in time
Move through me
Moments in life I
Wont see again’
‘Down Below on iron Veins
Rolling waves of Subway trains
Rails of mercy
Cross the lives of men
Safe in the body of New York again’
Lucy’s songs are all very much stories which you can loose yourself in the words, listening along intently as though you want to know the ending.
She seemed quite keen on doing requests and kept throwing it out to the audience. It was a little odd, as she didn’t appear to know many of the requests, although in her defence she did attempt most along with a little help from the audience. She wanted to sing an Irish song but didn’t know one which I thought a little strange of course as she knew that she was coming our way. She had played in Scotland the night before and so did sing Loch Lomond which was great but still not Irish, but I think we can forgive her.
Lucy’s father was a mathematician and also quite musical in his own right and so she treated us to a song about pi as in π that her father had written. Im not quite sure it’s for me, but I guess it might tickle some of you in the right places. You can find the official video below:
Her Father had written quite a few songs in his time and Lucy has recorded an album singing only his songs. So if you fancy it this album is called ‘Kaplansky sings Kaplansky’.
Her latest album below is called Reunion and is available from usual outlets. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get any photos from the gig, however follow the link below and you can see her perform her song ‘The Gift’ from the actual show, filmed by Gerry McNally.