Hailing from Chicago, Lucy Kaplansky was singing in bars before she was even of legal age, which led to performing country songs in Norway when she was just out of high school. Kaplansky ended up back in New York City, just in time for the renaissance of the Greenwich Village folk scene, which helped bring to fame the likes of Suzanne Vega, the Roches, Steve Forbert and John Gorka as well as her frequent duo partner Shawn Colvin. According to the New York Times, it was “easy to predict stardom for her,” but instead, Kaplansky got a doctorate in psychology and started a private practice, abandoning music for the time being.
It was Colvin that eventually led Kaplansky back to the stage and recording music in 1994, releasing an album called “The Tide” which led to Red House Records founder Bob Feldman being so blown away by the release that he signed her right away. Since then, Kaplansky has released six solo albums for the label.
Kaplansky has been called “a truly gifted performer…full of enchanting songs” by the New York Times, blending country, folk and pop styles. Kaplansky has the ability to make every song sound fresh, whether singing her own sweet originals, covering country classics by June Carter Cash and Gram Parsons or singing classics by Lennon and McCartney. Kaplansky’s voice has been featured in film and on television and is currently one of the top-selling artists on Red House Records.
Currently on tour in support of her new album Reunion, Kaplansky continues to perform all over the world. When not performing, she lives in New York City, where she enjoys spending time with her husband and nine year-old daughter. You can catch the show Sunday, Jan. 17, 8 p.m. at HopMonk Tavern, in the Listening Room – 691 Broadway Sonoma – 935-9100.
Local Musician Spotlight –Mark Larson
Mark Larson is not the flashiest of guitar players, but when you see him play it’s clear he could be if he wanted to be. No relation to the local Larson wine family, but he grew up and lived in Wine Country all his life, first in St. Helena, then a 20-year stint in the Russian River area, now back in the Napa Valley, Larson has been playing and performing most of his life. As a young father, he wasn’t playing the clubs as much but was always writing original music.
You can catch him and his act “the Mark Larson Band” at the Annex Wine Bar tonight, Jan.15, at 7:30 p.m. Lets get to know a little more about him.
1) Many musicians in our generation cite the Beatles on Ed Sullivan as that moment when they knew music was what they wanted to do. When and what was it that made you realize you wanted to be a musician?
ML> I was at a park in Napa, don’t remember which one, I was in high school and was already playing instruments but I saw the band play “What do you want from Life” by the Tubes and I thought, Oh yea, that looks like fun.
2) That first instrument you owned. What was it and do you still have it?
ML> It was a bass drum in the first half of fourth grade. The second half it was a baritone. In fifth grade I moved to trumpet and pretty much played that. It wasn’t until I was in high school that I started playing guitar, it was my sisters Pan knock-off of a Hummingbird. I don’t have that original trumpet, but I bought one right after high school and I still have that and still play it at gigs.
3) Who are you’re primary influences in your music?
ML> Wow, that’s tough, so many different styles have influenced me with the variety of instruments I’ve played. Louis Armstrong, Bob Dylan, David Gilmour, but as far as rock guitar I’d have to say Carlos Santana.
4) What CD or playlist is in your car or your iPod?
ML> Pandora actually, the “Pink Martini” station. They play a lot of Latin jazz but sometimes I have to listen to acts like Porcupine Tree just to mix it up.
5) Tell us about your current acts.
ML> Well, my own band, the Mark Larson Band, which plays a variety of music, mainly covers but we hit a lot f decades, the Smart Fellers, which is an act that focuses on ‘30s and ‘40s swing jazz, the style is loosely based on the Nat King Cole Trio. I also have Out of the Blue which plays everything from Hank Williams to Pink Floyd. That was an act we formed when I lived in the Russian River area about 10 years ago.
6) If you could have written one song, which one would it be and why?
ML> Man, you ask some tough questions. I can’t count the times I’ve said to myself “I wish I’d have written that tune.” There’s just way too many good songs out there. I guess (after much consideration) “That’s All,” the jazz standard written by Alan Brandt and Bob Haymes and covered by many.
Set List – the Rundown
Annex Wine Bar
865 W. Napa St. Sonoma – 938-7779
Tonight, Jan. 15, Mark Larson Band – 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 16, the Drifting Rich – 7:30 p.m.
Barking Dog Roasters
18133 Sonoma Hwy. Sonoma – 939-1905
Tonight, Jan. 15, Coyote Road – 5 p.m.
Blue Moon Saloon
19380 Sonoma Hwy. Sonoma – 996-3055
Saturday, Jan. 16, Karaoke – 9 p.m.
Sunday, Jan. 17, Blues Jam – all welcome – 10 p.m.
Friday Farmers Market
Depot Park – 270 First St W. Sonoma
Today, Jan. 15, Stewart Degner – 9:30 a.m. .
691 Broadway Sonoma – 935-9100
Tonight, Jan. 15, Jimbo Scott – 8 p.m
Saturday, Jan. 16, Erica Sunshine Lee – 8 p.m.
Sunday, Jan. 17, Lucy Kaplansky in the Listening Room – 8 p.m.
Murphy’s Irish Pub
464 First St. E. Sonoma – 935-0660.
Tonight, Jan. 15, the Highway Poets – 8 p.m.
Olde Sonoma Public House
18615 Sonoma Hwy. Boyes Hot Springs – 938-7587
Sunday, Jan. 17, Karaoke – 7:30 p.m.
420 First St E. Sonoma – 996-4466
Tonight, Jan. 15, Randy Vincent Trio – 7 p.m.
Rossi’s 1906 Dancehall
401 Grove St. El Verano – 343-0044
Tonight, Jan. 15, Kevin Russell and the Rhythm Rangers – 7 p.m
Saturday, Jan. 16, Marshall House Project and the Honeydippers – 8:30 p.m.
Sunday, Jan. 17, Sweet Potato 5 – 5 p.m.
22900 Broadway, Sonoma – 996-5151
Saturday, Jan. 16, Butch Engle and Styx – 12:30 p.m.
Sonoma Speakeasy and American Music Hall
452 First St. E. ste. G. Sonoma – 996-1364.
Tonight, Jan. 15, Luke Domingue, Bruce Gordon and Lou Rodriguez – 8 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 16, Charlie Hickox, Rene Jenkins, Tim Eschliman and Lou Rodriguez – 8 p.m.
Sunday, Jan. 17, Mark Dennis, Mark Willson and Friends – 4:30 p.m.
If your gig isn’t in my column, you didn’t tell me about it.