Lucy Kaplansky

The Red Thread

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From folksinger to clinical psychologist and back to folksinger, Kaplansky has experienced life, and proves you can have it all. One of the themes of this disc is the Chinese child she and her husband have adopted, and the way being a parent will change her and her relationships, explored lovingly on "I Had Something" and the title track. But she's also looking outside herself, concerned with the world, and out of that comes one of the most insightful post- 9/11 songs, "Land of the Living," which focuses on humans, not theories and abstractions. "Line in the Sand," about Iraq, doesn't work as well, however, and "Brooklyn Train" ends up being reminiscent of For the Roses-era Joni Mitchell. Kaplansky has always offered a wide range of covers on her albums, and this follows the pattern, from the heartbreaking "Cowboy Singer" by the late Dave Carter to a rocked-up "Off and Running" from the pen of James McMurtry. As usual, she's supported by her longtime bandmates, who often supply glistening arrangements to frame her supple voice (although drums and bass add absolutely nothing to "Cowboy Singer" -- in fact, they detract from it). That she's a talent is beyond question, and with "Land of the Living," she's surpassed herself as a writer.

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