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Patti Larkin plays Wednesday at Miners Foundry

Singer-songwriter Patti Larkin gives a show at Miners Foundry Wednesday night.
Submitted photo |

KNOW & GO

WHO: An Evening with Patty Larkin

WHEN: Wednesday, Oct. 5 Doors 7 p.m., Show 8 p.m.

WHERE: Miners Foundry Cultural Center, 325 Spring St., Nevada City

TICKETS: $22/Advance, $28/Door

Tickets may be purchased online at http://www.minersfoundry.org by phone at (530) 265-5040, or in person at the Miners Foundry, or in person at Briar Patch Co-Op. Tickets are for General Admission seating. Ticketing fees may apply.

Singer-songwriter Patti Larkin will perform at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Miners Foundry Cultural Center in Nevada City.

From her beginnings on the Northeast folk scene to her present career as a nationally renowned singer and multi-instrumentalist, Patty Larkin has spent two decades mixing inventive guitar wizardry and uncompromising vocals and lyrics.

Born in Iowa and raised in Milwaukee, Larkin majored in English at the University of Oregon and moved to Boston to study jazz guitar at the Berklee College of Music, where she now holds an honorary Ph.D. She launched her career in the late 1980s, busking on street corners and playing in coffee houses. Since then she’s released a dozen solo albums and produced La Guitarra, a compilation of great guitar-playing women from around the world.



Still Green, Larkin’s 13th album, plays out in Technicolor sound images, a kaleidoscope of sun and sea that travels from the fluorescent-lit hallways of grief to the warm pull of love, family and nature. This collection of new songs chronicles Larkin’s search for relief, respite and solace during a time when she lost both of her parents, and witnessed a sister suffer a serious health issue.

The album begins with “The Best of Intentions,” a song Larkin started before all of these life-altering events, and completed after them. The song is a bellwether for the record that raises questions of belief and redemption, and leaves them unanswered for the listener.



“It’s not a quick answer for me,” Larkin says. “I was raised Catholic but once you start to ask yourself what you believe in, things get interesting real fast. What I want to walk away with and what I want to leave the listener with is a sense of hope.”

When the recording process began, Larkin had nearly 40 songs to choose from.

“Hearing the songs again I could hear the emotion in my voice, and in some of them, the anger,” Larkin says. “They were hard to listen to. Harder to learn and sing.”

She began to record in her studio on the Cape, weeding out what didn’t fit, honing the rest. With basic vocal and guitar tracks in hand, Larkin joined co-producer, Mike Denneen (Aimee Mann, Howie Day), at Q Division in Boston.

“I brought up my old 1930’s National Steel, 1860’s Martin nylon string, baritone and electric guitars, mandolins, a looping device and gizmos. Mike got me playing the studio’s grand piano, the Wurlitzer and a cranked up Hammond B-3. What I like about working alone is that there’s no embarrassment involved in trying something. I could do anything.”

Larkin was joined by upright bassist Joe McMahon, a jazz player with a passion for roots, rock and Dusty Springfield, and drummer Dave Brophy, a player who is steeped in Blues and Roots, pop and hip hop. Cellist and Berklee College of Music professor Catherine Bent added lyrical cello lines to tracks. “I think that the musicians totally ‘got me’. They understood where I was going with this, and met me there. That’s a rare state of grace and I am grateful.”

Larkin’s longtime friends, songwriters Jonathan Brooke, Merrie Amsterburg and Birdsong At Morning added ethereal vocal harmonies and Merrie’s husband, Pete, added electric guitar solo on “It Could Be Worse.”


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