Richard Shindell fondly recalls his first encounter with Lucy Kaplansky, twenty-some years ago: “She was brought in to sing harmony on my first record. I had no idea who she was. She had no idea who I was. Her voice – along with the harmonic choices she made that day – made quite an impression, to say the least.”
Neither had committed completely to a music career at the time, but each realized that the blend of their voices was something special. Despite all the changes during the intervening years, the vocal camaraderie Richard and Lucy share has retained its magic. On the Infinity Hall stage Sunday, the two will reunite for the first of three shared concerts on Shindell’s current U.S. tour; he’s lived with his wife and kids in Argentina for nearly 14 years but still regularly travels to the States to perform.
“Lucy and I usually alternate sets. Within one’s set, the other might join in on a couple songs. Then, at the end of the night, we might do a few songs as a duo.”
Kaplansky’s most recent release, “Reunion,” was issued in 2012 on Red House Records. Shindell’s fans have had to wait almost five years since “Not Far Now,” his last collection of new compositions. Apparently the wait isn’t quite over, but the 53-year-old New Jersey native promises that at least half his set on Sunday will consist of songs from the much-anticipated “Viceroy Mimic.”
The music has already been recorded – “all over creation,” in Shindell’s words, “in Argentina, New York, Nashville, the Bronx, various hotel rooms.” But the meticulous creator is still tweaking mixes and making minor adjustments before he subjects his story-songs to public scrutiny.
Among the many musicians who’ve contributed to his new album, Shindell mentions studio heavyweights David Spinozza, Clifford Carter and Jerry Marotta, in addition to percussionist Joe Bonadio and electric guitarist Marc Shulman. The latter two are currently on the road with the acoustic guitarist/singer.
“Both are fabulous musicians – unorthodox, willing to try new things, take chances. I’m having an absolute blast playing with them,” he enthuses, adding that no two shows have been the same thus far. For all his attention to detail, Shindell obviously likes to leave room for onstage inspiration so the music stays fresh and vibrant.
Asked to describe his music for the uninitiated, Shindell responds “literate, not-so-popular pop music.” To which one might add brilliant storyteller, impassioned vocalist and occasional humorist. Shindell creates contemporary folk music that expertly blends elements of country, bluegrass, Celtic and South American musical traditions. Add Lucy Kaplansky’s voice to the mix, and Friday’s Infinity Hall concert is sure delight fans and newcomers alike.