Red = Luck

Red = Luck

by Patty Larkin
     
 

Ten just might be Patty Larkin's lucky number. A highly regarded veteran of Boston's alterna-folk-rock scene -- and one of the most texturally inventive female guitar slingers on the planet -- Larkin has never really connected with a broader audience. Red = Luck, her tenth album, ought to change all that. Wading heart-deep into the emotional aftermath of 9/11,…  See more details below

Overview

Ten just might be Patty Larkin's lucky number. A highly regarded veteran of Boston's alterna-folk-rock scene -- and one of the most texturally inventive female guitar slingers on the planet -- Larkin has never really connected with a broader audience. Red = Luck, her tenth album, ought to change all that. Wading heart-deep into the emotional aftermath of 9/11, Larkin emerges with a gripping, gorgeous-sounding collection of songs that she calls a "meditation on hope." Partially composed in her Cape Cod "shack" during the tumultuous months following the September attacks, the album reflects the desolate winter landscape confronting both Larkin and the nation at the time. The songstress has said she turned to Neil Young's Harvest for comfort and inspiration -- and it shows. Sung in a voice pitched firmly in Lillith Fair territory, evoking a sleepier Joni Mitchell and a reedier Paula Cole, Larkin's picturesque tunes are short and bittersweet. On songs like the melancholy "Too Bad," the lullaby-like "Home," and the hauntingly scritchy-scratchy instrumental title track, the glimmering optimism of Larkin's slide guitar work is tempered by her mournful tone and spare arrangements. Even the relatively upbeat "Italian Shoes" -- a caustic take on face values in which Larkin warbles, "He wore Italian shoes/Like that's supposed to mean something/I mean I could/Wear Italian shoes too" -- seems to contain an undertow of grief. With Red = Luck, Larkin boldly sets out to traverse a bleak and forbidding shadowland and, with her eyes fixed on the newly deprived horizon, the journey is immaculately constructed and surprisingly comforting. Paul Leo

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Todd Kristel
This is a very tasteful album featuring midtempo and slow songs with observant, personal lyrics and a carefully blended combination of folk, pop, Celtic, and other influences. Larkin's vocals are emotive in a low-key way, her multi-instrumental skills are impressive, and the ace cast of supporting musicians include Ben Wittman on lap steel and Gideon Freudmann on cello. The songs tend to be wistful or bittersweet, the writing tends to be relatively subtle (with the unfortunate exception of the Statue of Liberty's "lily white hand" in "Birmingham," a misconceived song about urban poverty), and this album should appeal to fans of Larkin's previous work as well as newcomers who like folk-pop singer/songwriters. The music could have benefited from some fiery passion and a greater sense of spontaneity; even "Louder," the album-ending romp, sounds overly decorous. Nonetheless, it's a solid album overall.

Product Details

Release Date:
02/11/2003
Label:
Vanguard Records
UPC:
0015707972727
catalogNumber:
79727
Rank:
315395

Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Patty Larkin   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Harmonica,Mandolin,Piano,Accordion,Electric Guitar,Vocals,Background Vocals,12-string Guitar,Slide Guitar,Lap Steel Percussion,Guitar (Baritone)
Duke Levine   Mandolin,Electric Guitar,Guitorgan,Mando-Guitar
Jonatha Brooke   Background Vocals
Richard Gates   Bass
Jennifer Kimball   Background Vocals
Michael Rivard   Acoustic Bass,Sintir
Marc Shulman   Electric Guitar
Bette Warner   Talking
Ben Wittman   Drums,Loops,Drum Loop
Winifred Horan   Fiddle
Willy Porter   Background Vocals,Thumb Piano
Gideon Freudmann   Cello
Merrie Amsterburg   Trumpet,Background Vocals
Mick McAuley   Button Accordion
Jeff Lang   Slide Guitar
John Benjamin Hickey   Electric Guitar
Tim Craven   Electric Guitar

Technical Credits

Patty Larkin   Producer,Liner Notes
Ted Jensen   Mastering
Bette Warner   Producer,Engineer
Ben Wittman   Producer,Engineer
Carla Leighton   Art Direction
Tim Craven   Engineer

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