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HEAR IT FIRST: Patty Larkin - Still Green
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by Kim Ruehl, FolkAlley.com
Facing down the painfully emotional terrain of losing both her parents and watching her sister go through a horrible illness all at the same time, Patty Larkin turned to what she does best. The result, Still Green, is a collection of songs about grief and the ultimate hope of transcendence.
The title track (“Green Behind the Ears”) began its life as a poem by Kay Ryan, which touched Larkin on such a profound level that she found herself almost compulsively creating music around it. Her resulting arrangement is somehow both playful and heartbreaking in its simplicity, jumping back and forth from a bouncy quiet to languid, almost sobbing violins.
But, for all the ruminative lyricism, focused on grief and sadness, Larkin doesn’t only toil in the dark and dreary soundscapes one might imagine come with those emotions. There are drums here, dancing rhythms, and up-beat “rockers” (or as close to it as Larkin’s songwriting gets), as well. She builds each song on top of the last, creating a spirit of defying the pull of sadness itself, before arriving at the album’s natural, easy conclusion.
From the pain and resignation of “It Could Be Worse” to the determination of “Soon as I’m Better” (“Soon as I’m better, I’ll come running / Soon as I’m able to walk alone”) and, ultimately, the ablution of “Because of This” (“Because of this, I could tell you an earful and fill up your plate, full of bliss”)…Patty Larkin has created one of her most touching and cohesive albums to date. Thirteen discs into her recording career, it’s quite an accomplishment.
Have a listen, and wash yourself in the musical catharsis that comes with it.
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