Christine Lavin started her professional life as a waitress/bread baker at the Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs, NY in 1975 where she met Dave Van Ronk who encouraged her to study guitar with him in NYC. She took his advice and is now a singer/songwriter/guitarist/
HONORS AND AWARDS: In May 2021 Christine received an Honorary Doctorate in Fine Arts from her alma mater, the State University of New York at Brockport. In an odd twist, she has a younger brother also named Chris (born on Columbus Day) who also in May 2021 was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from his alma mater, Hobart/William Smith Colleges in Geneva, NY.
What are the odds there would be two Chris Lavins from the same family to both be awarded honorary doctorates one week apart?
In September 2019 Christine spent a month at the artist retreat Yaddo in Saratoga Springs. Three of the songs she wrote there are included on her latest HOOTERVILLE album. In April 2019 she was inducted into the Rochester, NY Music Hall Of Fame along with Al Jardine of The Beach Boys. She received a 2012 Nightlife Award given annually to the best concert and cabaret performers in New York City. In November 2011 her book COLD PIZZA FOR BREAKFAST: A MEM-WHA?? (Tell Me Press, New Haven) won the 43rd Annual ASCAP Deems Taylor Award for excellence in writing about music. is available in paperback, kindle, and audio book formats, with the foreword written by actor/playwright/singer/
She has produced ten compilations, and so far these compilations have showcased songs of close to 100 songwriters whose work she admires. The food-themed compilation, ONE MEAT BALL, includes a 96-page cookbooklet that Christine edited — songs and recipes by Pete Seeger, Tom Paxton, Dave Van Ronk, and many more, including a surprise appearance by international gigastar Dame Edna.
For four years she hosted “Slipped Disks” on xm satellite radio, playing CDs slipped to her backstage by compatriots, and was occasion guest host for City Folk Sunday Supper on WFUV-FM at Fordham University. She also writes freelance for various publications (The Washington Post, Huffington Post, St. Petersburg Times, Performing Songwriter, and Delta “Sky” Magazine). Her song AMOEBA HOP is a science/music book by illustrator Betsy Franco Feeney (Puddle Jump Press), receiving the stamp of approval from The International Society of Protistologists, and a “Best Book Award” from The American Association for The Advancement of Science.
THE PLUTO FILES: THE RISE AND FALL OF AMERICA’S FAVORITE PLANET (W.W. Norton) by Neil deGrasse Tyson, head of the Hayden Planetarium in NYC, includes the complete lyrics to Christine’s song “Planet X,” which details Pluto’s history and planetary status debate in rhyme. Neil included Christine in a live concert event at The Beacon Theater in NYC, “Comedians & Astronomers,” and his voice is on that recording, her 23rd album, SPAGHETTIFICATION.
Christine performs concerts all over the US, Canada, and points beyond (Australia, Germany, Israel), often hosting knitting circles and Downton Abbey-style napkin folding backstage at each show. Songs of hers have been performed by artists as diverse as Broadway stars Betty Buckley, Sutton Foster, Karen Ziemba, and Klea Blackhurst, cabaret divas Andrea Marcovicci. Barbara Brussell, and Colleen McHugh, the a cappella Dartmouth Decibelles, and The Accidentals, winners of the National Harmony Sweepstakes Championship.
On A Winter’s Night, her first seasonal compilation project, (20 artists) became a four-artist national tour that first hit the road back in January 1991 and was a five-artist tour that hit the road November 2019, including Christine, Cliff Eberhardt, Patty Larkin, Cheryl Wheeler, and John Gorka — only to be abruptly sidelined by the pandemic on March 12, 2020. The remainder of those dates across the US have been rescheduled for February/March 2022.
WHAT SHE IS WORKING ON RIGHT NOW
During much of the pandemic, Christine made ends meet by performing online concerts, writing and recording songs, creating videos for other artists, and selling her books and CDs from her website (she is the president, secretary, messenger, and complaint department of her record company, while becoming friends with all the window clerks at her Lower East Side post office). For most of her online concerts she asked for requests, and many of her fans asked for songs she hadn’t performed in years. Much to their delight, she went about re-learning many of them, and is working on a theatrical presentation of her songs.