Patty Larkin

Watch the Sky | Vanguard
By JEFF TAMARKIN  |  February 26, 2008
3.5 3.5 Stars
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Patty Larkin made this, her 12th release since the mid ’80s, a real solo album, sequestering herself in remote locations to build these dozen songs from the ground up. She layers all the vocals and plays all the instruments — a rack of acoustic, electric, bass, and steel guitars, bouzouki, banjo, drum loops, etc.; she also produced and engineered. Yet her music has never sounded more expansive and open-armed. Whether she’s addressing herself (in emotion-plumbing songs like the folky-funky “Walking in My Sleep” and the defiantly giddy “Hallelujah”) or an amorphous other (the whispery “All Souls Day,” the gutbucket blues-infused “Beautiful” with its dreamy epiphanies, the minimalist meditation “Here”), she reaches well beyond alt-folk and toward a new sophistication. Technology is befriended big-time — from the startling drum blast that opens lead song “Phone Message” to the multi-tracking that allows her to be her own band throughout — but never at the expense of her dazzling musicianship, honeyed, seductive vocals, or nuanced songwriting.

Patty Larkin + Emily Elbert | Me & Thee Coffeehouse, Unitarian Universalist Church, 28 Mugford St, Marblehead | February 29 | 781.631.8987 | Patty Larkin + Ellis Paul | Circle of Friends Coffeehouse, First Universalist Society Meetinghouse, 262 Chestnut St, Franklin | March 1 | 508.528.2541 | Patty Larkin | Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Avenue, Boston | March 8 | 617.369.3300

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