Finally Lucy Kaplansky lets her own songs take center stage on a wonderful, provocative, and utterly memorable 10-song release. Recording only one cover (a sweet take on Steve Earle's "Somewhere Out There"), Kaplansky and ... more »husband Richard Litvin have ample space to examine the complexities of love (won, lost, or soon to be kicked out the door) and the challenges of life. Backed by a sterling core of musicians (including guitarist Larry Williams and backing vocalists Richard Shindell and John Gorka), Kaplansky's oddly pinched yet sumptuously full voice more than rises to the occasion. "Turn the Lights Back On" is the obvious crowd pleaser, but the best moment on this album is its quietest--"Just You Tonight," a spare, acoustic love song that echoes on long after it has finished. --Percy Keegan« less
Finally Lucy Kaplansky lets her own songs take center stage on a wonderful, provocative, and utterly memorable 10-song release. Recording only one cover (a sweet take on Steve Earle's "Somewhere Out There"), Kaplansky and husband Richard Litvin have ample space to examine the complexities of love (won, lost, or soon to be kicked out the door) and the challenges of life. Backed by a sterling core of musicians (including guitarist Larry Williams and backing vocalists Richard Shindell and John Gorka), Kaplansky's oddly pinched yet sumptuously full voice more than rises to the occasion. "Turn the Lights Back On" is the obvious crowd pleaser, but the best moment on this album is its quietest--"Just You Tonight," a spare, acoustic love song that echoes on long after it has finished. --Percy Keegan
"I first heard Lucy on the Cry Cry Cry album with Dar Williams and Richard Shindell. When I saw Cry Cry Cry in concert Lucy played "Ten Year Night" and I knew that I had to have her CD. Her music is inspiring and fun to listen to. It makes me happy and I never tire of listening to her albums. After I bought "Ten Year Night" I also bought her other two albums... all three of them are marvelous. I told my roommates about her while I was home in Vermont for summer vacation and they went out and bought her CDs too. If you love Dar and Richard and the Nields, you will LOVE Lucy Kaplansky."
Looks like I'm in the minority
Greg Brady | Capital City | 04/18/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I consider myself a singer-songwriter/new folk fan (I love Shawn Colvin, much of Dar Williams' stuff, Sarah McLachlan, Mary Chapin-Carpenter,Dave Carter and Tracy Grammer) and I'd heard good things about her (not to mention the Colvin connection was enticing) so I borrowed this disc from my library.
I'll echo what some others have said in that most of the ones I enjoyed best seemed to be the most spare, least produced offerings.
HIGHLIGHTS: "Promise Me" is a 'missing you from the road' song and while the sentiment isn't new, it's heartfelt ("I'm counting the white lines/the measures of road time/They're broken in pieces/like my heart today") and sounds very nice with the John Gorka harmony. It's a keeper. "Just You Tonight" is simplicity itself: Larry Campbell's acoustic, Zev Katz's bass, and Lucy. The only studio "trick" is Jennifer Kimball's lovely harmony. The song is bewitching. The vulnerability in "A Child's Hands" (where Lucy realizes that the fears of youth still linger within) make it a fine effort, too.
LOW SPOTS: "Turn the Lights Back On" sounds like it wants to be the anthem for women in passionless relationships, but the overly wordy third verse doesn't fit the meter and makes the tune stumble. "For Once in Your Life" also strains to be a "deep" hymn to those carrying emotional baggage they can't drop but the tune seems oddly upbeat and Lucy's voice too lilting for the heavy subject. It just doesn't work for me.
BOTTOM LINE: Kaplansky does have a fine voice, if not particularly distinctive. The songs here are nice, but in the end only some of them were genuine "wows" for me. A good one if you're a diehard folkie/singer-songwriter only person, but those whose musical interests scatter across the board might not find this sufficiently fantastic to choose this over another act."
This is why the Grammy was created.
Ronald J F | Everywhere in U.S. (trucker) | 12/23/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I purchase between 35 and 50 CDs a year. This latest offering from Lucy is the best total collection of songs I have heard this year. Rarely does an album go 10 for 10 on the quality of its contents. Ten Year Night does this. The first couple times through, I thought I knew which tracks would be my favorites, and which might get the forward button pushed occasionally. But after listening more, I have found that even the tracks that were initially too slow for me, have spread their sweetness all over me. Too bad this fantastic example of emotion, music and style is not widely known. Kaplansky would surely receive the Grammy for Album of the Year. On the other hand, being one in a smaller fanbase keeps the intimacy with the artist that much better."
Excellent folk-country singer-songwriter
Peter Durward Harris | Leicester England | 06/07/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Lucy is one of many excellent folk-country singer-songwriters to emerge on the American music scene in the nineties. In a crowded market, Lucy does not get the same level of recognition accorded to Lucinda Williams or Mary Chapin-Carpenter but Lucy is just as good as those two.This classic album is a wonderful example of Lucy's skills as both singer and songwriter. It opens with the title track, about the tenth anniversary of a relationship. End of the day is about people led a contented but modest lifestyle before chasing the money, only to discover that they were better off materially but less satisfied with life. One good reason is about a woman asking her partner to choose between her and the bottle, knowing that he'd choose the bottle. Five in the morning is a song about a woman who leaves home while everybody is asleep, hoping to find a better life. Promise me is about being on the road and unable to establish a relationship. The remaining songs explore various aspects of love - the joys and the problems.If you enjoy contemporary folk-country music, do not overlook Lucy Kaplansky. This was my first album of her music but it certainly won't be the last."
Kaplansky is awesome!
Dan Wheeler | Virginia | 01/18/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I added this disk to my Christmas list based only on a review in Red House Records. Lucky gamble. I highly recommend this album to anyone who enjoys good song writing, great lyrics, and excellent vocals."