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Patty Larkin

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Patty Larkin is part of the urban-folk/pop music phenomenon that spun off of the singer/songwriter explosion of the seventies, reinterpreting traditional folk melodies, rock, pop, bossa nova, drawing on anything from Dylan (Bob) to Dylan (Thomas). A self described “guitar driven songwriter,” Larkin has wound her way through soundscapes of evocative vocals, inventive guitar wizardry and imaginative lyrics. Her songs run from impressionistic poetry to witty wordplay.

A follow up to her critically acclaimed Watch the Sky (Critics Choice-NY Times, Brilliant-Billboard), 25 is a one of a kind project that is at once intimate and universal, the voice of a generation of songwriters, simple and direct, yet the touchstone of one woman’s song. Over her 25 year career, Patty Larkin has worked with some of the brightest stars in American music, honing a reputation as a “musician’s musician” along the way. On 25 Patty is joined by friends and cohorts, troubadours, renegades, humorists, folk philosophers, dreamers, realists, poets, bards.  People who defined a generation of music that wove inside and outside of the box, and sprang from a grassroots love of song, pouring onto the airwaves in an organic, trickle down of musical styles. 

This project evolved in much the same way, with Patty looking for a way to celebrate the quarter of a century anniversary of her first album with some friends. Each artist was contacted individually and asked to come on and sing with Patty’s unplugged version of her most requested love songs. Some of the artists were on the road during the recording time and found recording studios wherever they landed, some were in the midst of new releases, some were in the studio working on their own projects, and some were just plain busy with the business of life. The fact that each of these gifted and talented artists found the time and space to lend such beauty to this collection speaks to the pull of friendship and music that has spanned the years.

Patty Larkin grew up in a musical and artistic family in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Descended from a long line of Irish American singers and taletellers, her mother was a painter, her sisters both musicians. She learned at a young age to appreciate the beauty and magic of the arts. She began classical piano studies at age seven, and became swept up in the sounds of pop and folk in the ‘60s, teaching herself the guitar and experimenting with songwriting. An English major, Larkin sang throughout her high school and college career, starting out in coffeehouses in Oregon and San Francisco.  Upon graduation, she moved to Boston and devoted herself to music, busking on the streets of Cambridge and studying jazz guitar at Berklee College of Music and with Boston area jazz guitarists.

Patty Larkin has been redefining the boundaries of folk-urban pop music for 25 years with her inventive guitar wizardry and uncompromising vocals and lyrics. Acoustic Guitar hails her “soundscape experiments” while Rolling Stone praises her “evocative and subtle sonic shading.” She has been described as “riveting” (Chicago Tribune), “hypnotic” (Entertainment Weekly) and a “drop-dead brilliant” performer (Performing Songwriter).

Patty Larkin is the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate of Music degree from Berklee College of Music, recognized for her outstanding contributions to contemporary music, alongside synthesizer pioneer Dr. Robert Moog. Over the years, other recipients of this prestigious honor have been Duke Ellington, Sting, Natalie Cole, among others. Patty Larkin has won an unprecedented eleven Boston Music Awards and is the recipient of the Distinguished Alumnae Award from Berklee College of Music and “Patty Larkin Appreciation Day,” a proclamation by Boston’s mayor Thomas Menino.

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