Friday, February 9, 2018, 8:00pm
“Strong poetry, complex melodies, clever wit.”—Sing Out!
It has always seemed as if there were two Cheryl Wheelers, with fans of the New England songwriter relishing watching the two tussle for control of the mic. There is poet Cheryl, writer of some of the prettiest, most alluring and intelligent ballads on the modern folk scene. And there is her evil twin, comic Cheryl, a militant trend defier and savagely funny social critic. The result is a series of delightful contrasts, for really Cheryl Wheeler is a woman of many musical personalities—heart-wrenching romantic balladeer, marvelous observational humorist, poet of ordinary New England scenes and people, committed activist, irascible grump. Songwriter-pianist Kenny White opens, and Cheryl’s latest, “Cheryl Wheeler Live,” features the two together, with such hits-to-be as “Lady Gaga’s Singing Program.”
Saturday, February 10, 2018, 8:00pm
“Her songs are about living, breathing people”—No Depression
The daughter of the famed Polish-Canadian mathematician Irving Kaplansky (who once wrote a song based on the first 14 digits of pi that his daughter has been known to perform), Lucy Kaplansky started out singing in Chicago bars. 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, John Gorka, Bill Morrissey, Cliff Eberhardt, and others—where she fit right in. She’s a singer-songwriter with an extraordinary feel for the range of human emotion. Lucy puts her own spin on contemporary songwriter folk with warm, powerful vocals and guitar playing that draws guitar gods (or geeks) to talk shop with her. Lucy Kaplansky, says the Boston Globe, “is becoming the troubadour laureate of modern city folk.” It’s been a few years since the last new Lucy Kaplansky album, so it’s time to come out and see what this wonderful songwriter has been up to and working through.
Sunday, February 11, 2018, 7:30pm
New Celtic-flavored songs and more from Michigan
The Celtic-influenced Michigan roots music of Detroit native Kitty Donohoe has been praised in Sing Out! for its “intelligent, literate songwriting infused with an inherent optimism.” Over the years Kitty has opened for a variety of artists, from Doc Watson to David Bromberg, from Bruce Cockburn to Cheryl Wheeler‑and in 2008 she and sideman David Mosher took the stage at an Obama rally just before Bruce Springsteen. Her song “There Are No Words,” written on September 11, 2001, has been performed by numerous other songwriters and has taken on a life of its own. Rich Warren of WFMT radio in Chicago has included Kitty on his list of the 50 most significant songwriters in the last 50 years. She has some great seasonal songs like “Winter Dark” that may be making an appearance on tonight’s show.