She started out singing in Chicago folk music clubs as a teenager. Then, barely out of high school, Lucy Kaplansky took off for New York City.
There she found a fertile community of songwriters and performers—Suzanne Vega, Steve Forbert, The Roches, and others. With a beautiful flair for harmony, Lucy was everyone’s favorite singing partner, but most often she found herself singing as a duo with Shawn Colvin. People envisioned big things for them; in fact, The New York Times said it was “easy to predict stardom for her.” But then Lucy dropped it all.
Convinced that her calling was in another direction, Lucy left the musical fast track to pursue a doctorate in Clinical Psychology. Upon completing her degree, Dr. Kaplansky took a job at a New York hospital working with chronically mentally ill adults, and also started a private practice. Yet she continued to sing. Lucy was often pulled back into the studio by her friends, (who now had contracts with record labels) wanting her to sing on their albums. She harmonized on Colvin’s Grammy-winning “Steady On,” and on Nanci Griffith’s “Lone Star State of Mind” and “Little Love Affairs.” She also landed soundtrack credits, singing with Suzanne Vega on “Pretty in Pink” and with Griffith on “The Firm,” and several commercial credits as well—including “The Heartbeat of America” for Chevrolet.
Her brand new album, “Everyday Street,” which will be released in September, is a dramatic departure for Lucy: it’s stripped down, just Lucy on guitar, mandolin and piano along with long-time accompanist and multi-instrumentalist Duke Levine, recorded live in a Boston studio over four days. The result is a stunning, intimate performance, reminiscent of Lucy’s powerful live shows. The new songs, written with Richard Litvin, are gorgeous, evocative and powerful. There are also three stunning covers that Lucy has been performing live, along with a re-imagined version of the title song from her first album “The Tide.”
Curtis McMurtry writes songs about villains that believe they are victims. Influenced by Fiona Apple, Billy Strayhorn and Leonard Cohen, Curtis’ music combines sinister lyrics with lush, unconventional arrangements. His first solo album Respectable Enemy was released in August 2014, and drew comparisons to Calexico and John Fullbright. His sophomore album The Hornet’s Nest was released in February 2017, and continues to garner critical acclaim. Curtis’ music has been featured on NPR’s Weekend Edition, and his song “Wrong Inflection” was included in the soundtrack for comedian Tig Notaro’s Amazon Prime series One Mississippi.
Curtis was born and raised in Austin, Texas and grew up listening to local musicians Warren Hood, Ephraim Owens, Seela, and his father, James McMurtry. Curtis studied music composition and ethnomusicology in college, primarily writing contemporary chamber music for banjo and strings. After graduation, Curtis moved to Nashville to sharpen his songwriting by co-writing with elder statesmen including Fred Koller and Guy Clark. He has since moved back to Austin where he performs as a quartet with cellist Diana Burgess (of Mother Falcon), upright bassist Taylor Turner (of Magia Negra) and trumpeter Nathan Calzada.