Quick Q and A with Patty Larkin

Patty Larkin is the consummate guitar goddess. She knows her way around the fretboard and steel strings like few others.  Patty has been called a “musical adventurer” and a more true statement could not be said about her. Fans are captivated by her bold musicianship, sophisticated lyrics, and charming stage presence.  She’s got it all wrapped into one insanely talented body.

To learn more information about Patty, check out her website.

Here’s an interesting video of Patty playing electric guitar—watch what she does at about the three and a half minute mark.

Here’s Patty playing “Tango” on the acoustic.  Watch her fingers fly!

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Still Green is your lucky 13 recording; however it sounds like the road to the songs that are on it was a rough one.  When you’ve experienced great loss like you did, did you find that the floodgates to a new level of songwriting were opened?

I found that the floodgates to my voice were opened.  I have always maintained that when I have an emotional need to sing, I sing and write at the same time.  The guitar is secondary.  This has been an occasional experience for me throughout the years.  On Still Green all of the songs were written that way.

 I understand that at least one song on the new album was inspired by the writing of former U.S. poet laureate, Kay Ryan.  What is it about Kay’s writing that captured your imagination? 

“Green Behind The Ears” is a poem by Kay Ryan that is the lyric of the song I sing.  Kay has a concise, whimsical, philosophical, sometimes humorous approach to her writing that struck me immediately as lyrical.

You spent some time writing your new songs in a one-room dune shack on the Outer Banks of Cape Cod?  Does solitude help unleash the muse?  Or can it sometimes have the opposite effect and prove to be intimidating?

Both of the above.  Solitude is a drag when you’re stuck for an idea.  It is a boon when you begin to sing.

You wrote some of those songs on an old guitar you found at the dump.  Why?  Did the roughness of the instrument align with your raw emotions at the time?  Perhaps playing one of your majestic guitars wouldn’t have resulted in the same kind of sound that you were after? 

Exactly.  When I first started performing, I was in a jug band in Oregon.  I played a lot of spoons, harmonica, and some scrawny fiddle.  My bandmates and heroes, Delta X and Chico Schwall, played Harmony Sovereign guitars, as did the occasional blues legend who passed through.  The guitar has more of a wooden sound, like a Gibson, the neck is more rounded–just a different feel from my majestic Olson.  Sometimes you don’t want it to sound too precious.  This was the case in the dune shack.

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Once you got into the studio with the musicians you chose to contribute bass, drums, cello, and background vocals, it sounds like real magic transpired.  How would you describe that feeling after working solo on those songs for so long?

A blessing.  And sheer joy.

Do you have a long tour planned to support this record?  Do you enjoy the experience of unveiling new material to long-time fans?

Yes and yes.  I start this September on the East Coast, and end up in February and March in Alaska and Colorado.  I am looking forward to the challenge of presenting these new songs to folks, incorporating the new material into my sets, and to giving listeners something new to hold.

What is your most requested song from your audiences?  Do you ever get tired of playing it?

I’d say “Good Thing” (“Angels Running”). I also get requested to play “Metal Drums” a lot.  I still enjoy both songs, and the fact that people are listening and enjoying it as well.  Tired?  I never get tired of playing….

Photos by Jana Leon.

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