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Just Call Her Lavin.com
This article by Elaine Strauss was published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on
March 3, 1999. All rights reserved.
Whenever the funny and original Christine Lavin comes
to town, she sells out shows up and down the Route 1 corridor. "Hilarious"
is a word that seems to attach itself to this folk diva, but it really
doesn’t say enough, dangling there uselessly on its own. Lavin’s performances
have been described as "a one-woman musical revue of life, love,
laughter, astronomy, book giveaways, and baton twirling." Her
song "Planet X" has been identified by Internet World magazine
as the world’s first song containing a URL.
After 13 years of recording for the Rounder and Shanachie labels,
Lavin launched her own label in 1998, calling it christinelavin.com
records. She now markets her new recordings only at her concerts and
through her website at www.christinelavin.com.
"I am convinced that the Internet will become more and more important
in the sale of music," she says, "particularly this brand
of sophisticated contemporary urban folk, so I am bypassing the record
stores." (Yet she is still printing a bar code on her CDs in case
she is wrong.)
This Saturday, March 6, Lavin appears at Saje Productions’ Concert
at the Crossing to perform music from her latest CD, "One Wild
Night In Concert," as well as her standards and probably her most
requested song, the bittersweet, "The Kind of Love You Never Recover
From." Here are some excerpts from a November 22, 1995, U.S. 1
interview by Elaine Strauss:
children that gives folk singer and songwriter Christine Lavin her
verve. Maybe it’s a sunny personality that would have emerged even
if she were an only child. At any rate, her refreshing observations
on life, and her ability to see most anything with a new slant are
irrepressible and not to be resisted.
Lavin exudes a sturdy self-image. She’s modest without being self-effacing.
If she does something well, she frankly owns up to it. "I’m able
to put our lives into music," she admits. "Many people turn
up who think I’m eavesdropping on them." But Lavin doesn’t have
to eavesdrop. She’s onto the human condition and capable of turning
any mortal event into a song.
"I wrote a theme song for the Republican party," Lavin says,
"but they rejected it. It was inspired by the Pat Buchanan speech
where he said, `We are the true Americans. We are in the right.’ Part
of the reason I did it was that I always noticed that folk singers
side with liberals and Democrats. I thought it would be a good idea
for a folk singer to be associated with the Republicans."
Lavin grew up at the military school in Peekskill, New York, where
her father taught. She was the fourth of eight children. The family
was not particularly musical. Christine’s early piano lessons were
a fearful experience. Her teacher would rap her knuckles when she
made a mistake.
At 12 Christine learned to play guitar by watching Laura Weber’s instructional
show on public television. "My little brother would hold the rabbit
ear antenna near the window," she says "so I could receive
the guitar lessons. I couldn’t play guitar and hold the antenna at
the same time. I’m sure I had to give him money. It was probably a
Lavin’s career has been slow to develop. For six years beginning in
1976 she worked at temporary jobs in New York City, while pursuing
her folk singing interests. The she went to work full-time as an administrative
assistant at Bellevue Hospital. Her dissatisfaction with this situation
led Lavin to quit her day job and plunge into music completely in
1984. "The thing that pushed me was the idea that if that was
what my life was going to be, I’d rather take the risk of being musician,"
In 1989 Lavin made a splash with "On a Winter’s Night," a
90-minute tape production of 21 singer/songwriters. She funded the
whole project herself. In two subsequent years Lavin’s autumn workshops
on Martha’s Vineyard resulted in the recordings "Big Times in
a Small Town" and "Follow that Road." Lavin had established
herself as a performer and producer. In March, 1995, she made her
debut with the Shanachie label with "Please Don’t Make Me Too
Happy." On this album Lavin, at 43, has the light voice of a 16-year-old
and the clear-eyed wonder of an even younger person.
— Elaine Strauss
at Washington Crossing, 215-862-1917. Guitarist Tom Prasada-Rao opens.
Bring canned food donation for the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen. $17.
Saturday, March 6, 8 p.m.
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— the web site for U.S. 1 Newspaper in Princeton, New Jersey.