Songwriters to host workshop, play concert today in Steamboat at Strings |

Songwriters to host workshop, play concert today in Steamboat at Strings

Nicole Inglis

Patty Larkin plays an off-season Strings Music Festival show tonight at the Strings Music Pavilion with Lucy Kaplansky. Tickets are $25.

— When singer-songwriters Patty Larkin and Lucy Kaplansky share a bill, the conversation backstage is just as exciting as the musical exchange onstage, Larkin said.

Larkin, who is celebrating 25 years as a recording artist, has known Kaplansky since the early 1990s. The two share in their guitar-driven folk-pop musings. They also share a track on Larkin's new album, "25."

The similarities don't end there. Both have adopted baby girls from China.

And tonight, they will share the stage at Strings Music Pavilion.

In the first off-season Strings Music Festival show held at the Strings Music Pavilion, Larkin and Kaplansky will perform as a part of the"25" tour at 7 p.m. tonight. Tickets are $25.

Strings Marketing and De­­velopment Coordinator Jen­nifer Shea said off-season shows weren't possible before the addition of year-round restrooms at the Pavilion.

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"We were so happy that our first off-season performance opportunity coincided with Patty Larkin's '25' tour," Shea said. "Lucy Kaplansky performed at Strings several years ago with John Gorka, and we are thrilled to welcome her back to Steamboat with Patty as part of this tour."

At noon today, the pair will host a free songwriting workshop at the Pavilion, during which they will share their writing processes and inspirations.

Larkin said it's rare for her to write the lyrics to a song before she writes the instrumentals. Instead, she derives the lyrical melodies from her guitar licks.

She said she's inspired by the decades of music she's heard in concert and on the radio.

"Anything that was beautiful," she said about her wide range of musical inspirations. "It can be the Moby album 'Play,' or a Beck album. If I hear something on the radio, it could be a Beatles tune or something by Neko Case. … You think about what is she doing and think, 'I'd like to do something like that. I'd like to get close to that beauty.'"

Larkin came of age in the heyday of culturally significant folk rock. She watched as rock and roll surged in the 1960s, and witnessed the rise of the female singer-songwriter in the 1970s.

"I was youngish in the '60s, but all I wanted to do was go to San Francisco and put a flower in my hair, man," she said. "I had a little transistor radio and you'd turn it on and you'd hear the Beatles … it was wonderful pop music to grow up to."

As folk-pop evolved beyond the guitar strings of Joni Mitchell and Joan Baez, Larkin said the political leanings and social criticism took a backseat to the business of music.

But there still are a few artists who weave truth in their lyrics and messages in their melodies.

"We do have certain artists that stay true to that goal," she said. "Like Ani DiFranco and the Clash. People who try to give back with what they've got."

On her new album, "25," Larkin collaborates with 25 different musicians on 25 of her love songs from the past three decades. Each of the artists, such as Martin Sexton, Suzanne Vega and Bruce Cockburn, have brought a resonance to the music realm and to Larkin's personal evolution.

"For me I keep turning it over," Larkin said. "What else can I do? What else can I do with the guitar?"

— To reach Nicole Inglis, call 871-4204 or e-mail

If you go

What: Songwriting workshop with Patty Larkin and Lucy Kaplansky

When: Noon today

Where: Strings Music Pavilion, Mount Werner and Pine Grove roads

Cost: Free

What: Patty Larkin’s “25” tour with Lucy Kaplansky

When: 7 p.m. tonight

Where: Strings Music Pavilion

Cost: $25

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