Lucy Kaplansky,
The Red Thread
(Red House, 2004)

On the old TV show The A Team, a character had the catchphrase, "I love it when a plan comes together." Well, I love it when I put a CD in the machine that has little or no familiar material and it grabs me from track one.

Lucy Kaplansky does just that. Her opening track has the perfect blend of vocals, lyrics, music and content. It draws you in and you want to hear more.

Co-writing with Richard Litvin, Lucy shows a very well-developed sense of justice alongside her more personal love songs. One of my favourites on the album is "Line in the Sand," which asks us to look again at our world and our visions: "The promised land is just across another line in the sand." This is a beautiful song that is as fresh as tomorrow's headlines with phrases like "another bomb lights up the night, for someone's vision of paradise."

I love the way that she manages to switch from global to personal. "This is Home" is a beautiful aspirational song that will strike chords with many people in its dream of that ultimate dream of "let's make a family."

I hope she will forgive me as I compare her to the likes of Joni Mitchell on the evocative "Land of the Living." The spare accompaniment, the clear voice and the thoughtful lyrics will transport you to the streets. These are the streets after 9/11 and this is a song that goes deeper than the news headlines. Who can listen to lines like "my wife's in the house and she's scared to leave" without re-thinking the situation?

There are so many gems on this album that is difficult to choose a favourite. "Cowboy Singer" is a beautiful, simple song that makes us all think we could write or perform. The title track is yet another song that will touch chords in lives of the listeners as it reminds us of our connections to others, connections that can hurt or sustain.

Anyone who has ever travelled through a city -- especially New York -- will find themselves identifying with "Brooklyn Train," which includes the lines, "Williamsburg Bridge, sun hits the train, nobody speaks, everyone stares, remembering all that used to be there."

Lucy Kaplansky is an artist who should be watched. Based on this album she has a lot to say and the talent to say it in a way that will make us listen.

- Rambles
written by Nicky Rossiter
published 19 June 2004

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