Patty Larkin at City Winery

For those of you like me who have followed the musical mastery of guitarist songwriter Patty Larkin, it was a treat to have her back in NYC at the City Winery last night.  For those of you who don’t know of her, and wonder if a female guitarist of her caliber exists, don’t delay go discover her. 

Patty’s celebrating 25 years in music, hence her tour and new CD entitled “25”  filled with 25 wonderful duo turns with such notable women as Susan Vega, Mary Chapin-Carpenter, Jonatha Brooke, including opening act Erin Mckeown.

Besides being a crafty guitarist with amazing finger picking, she used open tunings that allowed a huge spectrum of sound to resonate throughout the City Winery. Adding cleaver lyrics to inspire thoughtful knowing, not to mention vocal prowess and fun self-deprecating humor.

At one point, she cheerfully spoke “thanks for coming to hear live music,” and segueing perfectly, “have you seen the music industry today? Well this is it!”  Ah, I thought we’ve finally come full circle to what’s real, authentic.

She switched at one point to a gorgeous green Stratocaster and using the technology she earlier expressed not mastering, created guitar loops from a device.  These layers of riffs, chords, and rhythm hits (even using a small bow), created a woven arrangement to support her unique voice.

It was so affirming to watch Patty Larkin perform after following her music for so many years.  Like Rory Block, whom I also had the chance to see perform recently, it’s a treat to see women playing guitar, and still at with such heart and quality.  But who are the new Larkin’s and Block’s?   I see a lot of guitar carrying women in the subway.  The flame has been carried for you to turn up the heat and make us proud.  btw  Erin Mckeown opened the show and then later joined Patty on the piano definitely fits that bill.

At the end of the show Patty came down into the public and I got a chance to talk with her for a moment.  I expressed how she has been a role model in my life.  I shared with her a story of my cousin Jeff, a public school teacher in San Francisco who emailed me asking for suggestions of female guitarists, one day a student asked him “Mr. G are there any girls who play the guitar?”  I told him the best CD I could think of was Patty’s fantastic compilation of women guitarists entitled La Guitara.

Erin McKeown, young and edgy wearing a sleeveless floral dress revealing arms full of tatt’s sang quirky songs accompanying herself mightily on an overly effected electric guitar awash of guitar voicings  and gritty finger riffs.  Encouraging the audience to sing along, she had us all in full voice adding our part, wanting to please and revel in a live music event and setting the stage perfectly for Patty’s entrance.