Lucy Kaplansky

Lucy Kaplansky

Lucy Kaplansky is an innovator in contemporary folk music. She has played with everyone from Shawn Colvin, to Dar Williams. Last year she was part of the Cry, Cry, Cry CD and tour. This project brought Kaplansky, Dar Williams and Richard Shindell together to record some of their songs from other artists.  Cry, Cry, Cry was received greatly by critics and audiences alike.

During that time Kaplansky also released Ten Year Night, her second CD. Ten Year Night is a wonderful collection of intelligent lyrics and superb songwriting. For more information on Kaplansky and Ten Year Night visit or

FEMMUSIC: How did you decide that you wanted to pursue music professionally?

LK: I always kind of loved music and loved singing. I guess when I was about seventeen it became clear to me that I wanted to be a singer. I started singing with a guy I met in my hometown of Chicago, and we started singing professionally in clubs. I think around then that it was pretty clear that I wanted to try and do this.

FEMMUSIC: How do you come up with your songs? Describe your songwriting process.

LK: Different ways. It really depends.  It ‘s kind of been every which way, depending on the song. Sometimes the melody comes first. Sometimes the words come first. Sometimes they come at the same time.

FEMMUSIC: Who have been your greatest musical influences?

LK: Well, intitialy Joni Mitchell when I was a teenager. And later probably Graham Parsons, Emmylou Harris. Probably Suzanne Vega, who I actually knew when she was starting out. Those are probably the biggest.

FEMMUSIC: Tell me about Cry, Cry, Cry? How did you become involved in that?

LK: Well it was Dar’s and Richard’s idea. They got the idea to make an album of other people’s songs. Just for fun. Just to make an album of songs that they loved. They talked to their manager about it and he said ,”That’s a great idea. Why don’t you really do it right and get a record deal and do a tour?” Someone had the idea, I don’t exactly know who, to ask me if I wanted to do it. So I got a call, and I said, “Sure”, and that’s how it came about.

FEMMUSIC: What was your best experience with the tour?

LK: Well probably the most fun thing about it, other than the obvious, which is the music, which has been wonderful, was being on a tour bus with everybody for about six weeks. That was just a blast.

FEMMUSIC: What is your favorite song from Ten Year Night?

LK: The one I feel the most about is the song “Ten Year Night.” It’s so personal. Yeah, personal.

FEMMUSIC: What advice would you give to an artist just starting out?

LK: Be persistent. Don’t give up too soon. It takes a long time. And if you’re good people will hear about you and things will happen.

November 1st, 1999