Hear It First: Lucy Kaplansky, ‘Last Days of Summer’
As summer rolls in, singer-songwriter Lucy Kaplansky comes out with her new album, Last Days of Summer.
With harmonies from long-time friends and fellow singer-songwriters John Gorka and Richard Shindell, Kaplansky delivers more of her exceptionally well-written songs.
Stylistically, the album shifts from rock to bluegrass to the typical songwriter vibe, but tying it all together is Kaplansky’s honest vocals, easy melodies, and well-crafted lyricism.
Kaplansky noted in a recent interview with Folk Alley that the album “was inspired by the lockdown [phase] of the pandemic.”
“The songs are definitely about family and community,” she explains, “and also the ravages of the pandemic. There’s also the story of New York, which dovetails with what happened during the pandemic.”
When lockdown began, Kaplansky and her husband moved full-time into a vacation home they’d just, luckily, purchased a few months earlier. The move to Truro, Massachusetts, took them into a whole new way of life on outer Cape Cod, where Kaplansky could ruminate over some of the transitions her life was going through—”from the Trump administration to our current administration,” she says. “From the collective malaise and bigotry to a more hopeful moment. From a nuclear family to just a married couple again. From New York in a very difficult spot to New York surviving. There are definitely transitions all throughout the album.”
Indeed, the title track is about watching her daughter grow up and move away—a transition for which every parent is expectant, and few are prepared.
Other standout tunes include the “overtly political” “Mary’s Window,” the traditional “Gold Watch and Chain,” and the defiant “Independence Day.”
The latter, Kaplansky notes, is “a composite, about a person who breaks free from an abusive situation. It’s about liberating oneself from what is not good for oneself anymore.
“There are different aspects to family,” she explains. “Family can be a place of safety and love and comfort. They can also be something else that’s not helpful or positive. That [song is] kind of breaking away from a not very positive family experience.”
Speaking of breaking away from a negative experience, Kaplansky has decided to eschew the major streaming services and traditional marketing routes and offer her music exclusively from her live shows and her website. And, for a limited time, The Last Days of Summer is available to stream in its entirety here on the Folk Alley website.
“When I listen back to it,” Kaplansky says, “it’s a very emotional experience, a bit of an emotional rollercoaster. There are moments of emotional truth on this album that I think are powerful. … There’s a lot of raw emotion that I hope comes through.”
So grab a box of tissues and press play.
Last Days of Summer is available HERE.