Every Single Day
Red House Records, 2001
REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 09/26/2001
Okay, someone explain this to me one more time. Shawn Colvin hits it big, while artists such as Lucy Kaplansky are stuck in superstar limbo? I don't get it.
Nothing against Colvin, mind you. What I've heard of A Few Small Repairs has impressed me, and she deserved every accolade she received - well, except for ODB bum-rushing the stage when she won a Grammy. But Kaplansky has the exact same talents as Colvin, with the possible exception that Kaplansky's a little rougher around the edges, and isn't afraid to jump musical genres several times. Her latest disc, Every Single Day, proves not only that Kaplansky is deserving of the same kudos from press and consumer, but that she could well be the yin to Dave Alvin's yang. (PLEASE withhold any sexual comments at this time, thank you!)
Behind her soft-spoken exterior beats the heart of a true folkie, not afraid to let things rip when the time is right ("Written On The Back Of His Hand," "Don't Mind Me," "Crazy Dreams") and talented enough to make a whisper echo with a powerful scream ("The Angels Rejoiced Last Night," "Broken Things"). Fellow folkie Julie Miller should be thanking the stars that Kaplansky covered her song "Broken Things". As good as the original was, Kaplansky takes this one to new heights that even Miller couldn't have dreamed of.
Kaplansky has the God-given skill to take a song that could well be semi-autobiographical and make it resonate in a way that everyone listening will find themselves in the song. "Song For Molly" is a powerful track that reflects the pains of watching a parent or grandparent grow old, as well as the importance of holding on to the memories of life with them. I'm not claiming that songs such as "Nowhere" or "The Angels Rejoiced Last Night" are definitively snippets from Kaplansky's life, but the emotion she pours into these songs says a lot for her talents.
Kaplansky even is able to count on some old friends to help get the message of Every Single Day across. Buddy Miller's vocal on "Don't Mind Me" is just the icing on the cake; while Kaplansky had already sealed the bond between listener and song, Miller provides further strength. John Gorka's contributions as background vocalist on two tracks further stokes the powerful fires - and, let's face it, if you can't get Steve Earle to sing on "You're Still Standing There" (a song Earle wrote), Gorka is a natural to fill in.
Every Single Day is the kind of disc that will probably have to build up attention to itself via strong word of mouth - that is, unless Kaplansky gets the same kind of breaks that Colvin did with A Few Small Repairs. I would not be shocked at all if at this time next year Kaplansky was a superstar, and Every Single Day served as the vehicle towards the spotlight. No, I would not be shocked. I would be sorely disappointed, though, if this didn't occur, 'cause Kaplansky deserves a shot at the big time.