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Lucy Kaplansky

May 21 • The Redmoor

By Brian Baker · May 18th, 2010 · Sound Advice
It’s always nice to have options as a struggling musician, and Lucy Kaplansky has one of the best side gigs imaginable: She’s a clinical psychologist. Amazingly, the New York-based Folk singer/songwriter has managed to balance and prioritize both disciplines across long careers in both fields.

Kaplansky’s journey began in 1978, when the Chicago native chose to skip college and then carved out a niche for herself in the Greenwich Village Folk scene, where she met and worked with budding stars like Shawn Colvin, Suzanne Vega and Richard Shindell. But after five years, Kaplansky decided to pursue a psychology degree at Yeshiva University, although she maintained her music career while working toward her Ph.D. A big fork in the road appeared when labels expressed interest in her duo work with Colvin; Kaplansky chose to follow her other career and opened a private practice, while Colvin got signed and made a fairly big splash in the mainstream.

Kaplansky focused on her psychology practice but kept her music career alive with session work.

Eventually, the allure of music proved too strong and she decided to return to her creative endeavors, recording her debut, The Tide, in 1994 (assisted by Colvin, who produced the album). With the great notices that followed, Kaplansky’s path was set; she shuttered her practice and became a full-time musician.

In 1998, she joined forces with Dar Williams and Richard Shindell to form the Folk supergroup Cry Cry Cry, which recorded one acclaimed album and toured extensively before calling it a day. Her next two albums, 1999’s Ten Year Night and 2001’s Every Single Day, both took Pop Album of the Year honors from the Association For Independent Music, and her last album, 2007’s Over the Hills, found her songwriting strengthened by her new role as a mother.

Last fall, Kaplansky debuted a new single titled “Life Threads,” which hopefully means that the good doctor is readying yet another album’s worth of emotionally powerful tunes for imminent release.

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