Multi-instrumentalist-singer-songwriter Larry Campbell and singer-guitarist Teresa Williams' acclaimed eponymous 2015 debut, released after seven years of playing in Levon Helm's band - and frequent guesting with Phil Lesh, Little Feat, Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady, brought to the stage the crackling creative energy of a decades-long offstage union. A whirlwind of touring and promo followed, and when the dust cleared, the duo was ready to do it all again. Which brings us to Contraband Love, a riskier slice of Americana.
Larry, who produced Contraband Love, says, "I wanted this record to be a progression, bigger than the first one. That's all I knew. I wanted the songwriting to be deeper, the arrangements more interesting, the performances more dynamic. Specifically how to get there, I didn't know. I did know the songs were different. The subject matter was darker than anything else I've written."
"More painful!" Teresa says, and laughs.
"Yeah," Larry says with a smile. "I'm proud of our debut, but I felt like the songs were lighter than what I'm capable of doing. As a songwriter, I aspire to a sense of uniqueness: this is a great song and it could only have been written by me. I want to get there. It's a journey, a goal, a pursuit. The mechanics of that pursuit are figuring out what you need to do to surpass your last body of work."
Lucy Kaplansky started out singing in Chicago folk music clubs as a teenager. Then, barely out of high school, she took off for New York City. There she found a fertile community of songwriters and performers—Suzanne Vega, Steve Forbert, The Roches, and others. With a beautiful flair for harmony, Lucy was everyone’s favorite singing partner, but most often she found herself singing as a duo with Shawn Colvin. People envisioned big things for them; in fact, The New York Times said it was “easy to predict stardom for her.” But then Lucy dropped it all.
Convinced that her calling was in another direction, Lucy left the musical fast track to pursue a doctorate in Clinical Psychology. Upon completing her degree, Dr. Kaplansky took a job at a New York hospital working with chronically mentally ill adults, and also started a private practice. Yet she continued to sing. Lucy was often pulled back into the studio by her friends, (who now had contracts with record labels) wanting her to sing on their albums. She harmonized on Colvin’s Grammy-winning "Steady On," and on Nanci Griffith’s "Lone Star State of Mind" and "Little Love Affairs." She also landed soundtrack credits, singing with Suzanne Vega on "Pretty in Pink" and with Griffith on "The Firm," and several commercial credits as well—including “The Heartbeat of America” for Chevrolet.
Then Shawn Colvin—who was itching to produce a record—hooked up with Lucy, her ex-singing partner. They went into the studio, and when Lucy’s solo tapes got into the hands of Bob Feldman, president of Red House Records, he was blown away. Suddenly, Lucy was back in the music business. She signed with Red House Records and started playing gigs. Red House released The Tide in 1994 to rave reviews, and within six months Lucy signed with a major booking agency—Fleming Artists—and began touring so much it required leaving her two psychologist positions behind.
Lucy's version of Roxy Music's "More than This" was featured on a Spotify playlist, "Your Favorite Coffeehouse," and to date her recording has over 11.5 million streams. She has appeared on the CBS Morning Show, NPR’s Weekend and Morning Editions and All Things Considered, Mountain Stage, and West Coast Live. Her voice has remained in high demand by her peers. Lucy's song “Guilty as Sin” was featured in the NBC television show Ed. In addition, she can be heard on releases by Bryan Ferry and Nanci Griffith, and on the Greg Brown tribute album Going Driftless (also featuring Ani Difranco, Iris Dement, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Gillian Welch, Lucinda Williams and others).
Lucy continues to tour and receive airplay both nationally and internationally. Her CD Ten Year Night is the #1 selling album of all time at Red House Records.
Thursday, Apr 27
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