The Cedar Presents
ON A WINTER'S NIGHT: CHRISTINE LAVIN, JOHN GORKA, PATTY LARKIN, and CLIFF EBERHARDT
Christine Lavin is a singer/songwriter/guitarist/recording artist/author/videographer who has been working as a musician based in New York City since 1984. In 2017, she released her 23rd solo album, Spaghettification, which charted at #5 for the month of September 2017 on the International FolkDJ charts.
For four years she hosted "Slipped Disks" on XM Satellite Radio, playing CDs slipped to her backstage by compatriots, and she is now the occasional guest host for the City Folk Sunday Supper on WFUV-FM at Fordham University. She also writes freelance for various publications, including The Washington Post, Huffington Post, The St. Petersburg Times, The Performing Songwriter, The Finger Lakes Times, and Delta "Sky" Magazine.
The book The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America’s Favorite Planet, written by Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium in NYC, includes the complete lyrics to Christine's song "Planet X," which details Pluto's history and planetary status debate. The book is published by W.W. Norton -- and Christine got a "D" in Astronomy in college (See kids? You CAN make up for the mistakes of your youth). She has appeared in concert with Neil deGrasse Tyson as part of his “Astronomers & Comedians” tour, and is fairly certain she is the first Astronomy D student to ever do so.
Christine hosts knitting circles backstage prior to each show. Her knitting circle at The Cedar will begin at 7pm. All yarn work is welcome (knitting, crocheting, tatting, quilting too) and there will be prizes.
From New Jersey, John Gorka is a world-renowned singer-songwriter who got his start at a neighborhood coffeehouse in eastern Pennsylvania. Though small, Godfrey Daniels was and is one of the oldest and most venerable music institutions and has long been a hangout for music lovers and aspiring musicians. In the late 1970’s, John was was one of these aspiring musicians. Although his academic coursework at Moravian College lay in Philosophy and History, music began to offer paramount enticements. Soon he found himself living in the club’s basement and acting as resident MC and sound man, encountering legendary folk troubadours like Canadian singer-songwriter Stan Rogers, Eric Andersen, Tom Paxton and Claudia Schmidt. Their brand of folk-inspired acoustic music inspired him, and before long he was performing his own songs – mostly as an opener for visiting acts. Soon he started traveling to New York City, where Jack Hardy’s legendary Fast Folk circle (a breeding ground for many a major singer-songwriter) became a powerful source of education and encouragement. Folk meccas like Texas’ Kerrville Folk Festival (where he won the New Folk Award in 1984) and Boston followed, and his stunningly soulful baritone voice and original songwriting began turning heads. Those who had at one time inspired him – Suzanne Vega, Bill Morrissey, Nanci Griffith, Christine Lavin, Shawn Colvin – had become his peers.
In 1987, the young Minnesota-based Red House Records caught wind of John’s talents and released his first album, I Know, to popular and critical acclaim. With unusual drive and focus, John hit the ground running and, when an offer came from Windham Hill’s Will Ackerman in 1989, he signed with that label’s imprint, High Street Records. He proceeded to record five albums with High Street over the next seven years: Land of the Bottom Line, Jack’s Crows, Temporary Road, Out of the Valley and Between Five and Seven. His albums and his touring (over 150 nights a year at times) brought new accolades for his craft. His rich multifaceted songs full of depth, beauty and emotion gained increasing attention from critics and audiences across the country, as well as in Europe where his tours led him through Italy, Belgium, Scotland, Ireland, Holland, Switzerland and Germany. He also started sharing tours with many notable friends—Nanci Griffith and Mary Chapin Carpenter among them. All this brought his music to an ever-widening audience. His video for the single “When She Kisses Me” found a long-term rotation on VH-1’s “Current Country,” as well as on CMT and the Nashville Network.
In 1998, after five successful recordings and seven years at Windham Hill/High Street, John felt the need for a change and decided to return to his musical roots at Red House Records. The choice was driven, in part, by the artistic integrity that the label represents in an industry where the business of music too often takes precedence. The 1998 release After Yesterday marked a decidedly different attitude towards making music for John, and his next release The Company You Keep held fast to his tradition of fine songwriting, yet moved forward down new avenues. Its fourteen songs displays John’s creative use of lyrics and attention to detail. Andy Stochansky played drums and shared production credits with John and Rob Genadek. Ani DiFranco, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Lucy Kaplansky and Patty Larkin contributed stellar guitar work and vocals to this fan favorite. Old Futures Gone was informed by his life as husband and father of two young children and also contained the colorful experience of many hard years on the road. Writing in the Margins followed in 2006 and was an engaging collection of sweet and serious songs that spanned many musical genres—folk, pop, country and soul—and featured guest vocalists Nanci Griffith, Lucy Kaplansky and Alice Peacock. Now with this, his 11th studio album, he returns to his roots with So Dark You See, his most compelling and traditional album to date.
In addition to his 11 critically acclaimed albums, John released a collector’s edition box featuring a hi-definition DVD and companion CD called The Gypsy Life. Windham Hill also released a collection of John’s greatest hits from the label called Pure John Gorka. In 2010, he also released an album with his friends and Red House label-mates Lucy Kaplansky and Eliza Gilkyson under the name Red Horse. Getting high praise from critics and fans alike, it landed on the Billboard Folk Charts and was one of the most played albums on folk radio.
Many well known artists have recorded and/or performed John Gorka songs, including Mary Chapin Carpenter, Nanci Griffith, Mary Black and Maura O’Connell. John has graced the stage of Austin City Limits, Mountain Stage, etown and has appeared on CNN. His new song “Where No Monuments Stand” is featured in the upcoming documentary Every War Has Two Losers, about activist and Oregon Poet Laureate William Stafford (1914-1993).
John Gorka lives in Minnesota and when not on the road, he enjoys spending time with his wife and children. He continues to tour, playing festivals, theaters and clubs all over North America and Europe.
Patty Larkin redefines the boundaries of folk-urban pop music with her inventive guitar wizardry and uncompromising vocals and lyrics. Acoustic Guitar hails her “soundscape experiments” while Rolling Stone praises her “evocative and sonic shading.” She has been described as “riveting” (Chicago Tribune), “hypnotic” (Entertainment Weekly) and a “drop dead brilliant” performer (Performing Songwriter).
Patty Larkin grew up in a musical and artistic family in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Descended from a long line of Irish American singers and taletellers, her mother was a painter, her sisters both musicians. She learned at a young age to appreciate the beauty of the arts. She began classical piano studies at age 7, and became swept up in the sounds of pop and folk in the 60s, teaching herself the guitar and experimenting with songwriting in high school. An English major, Larkin sang throughout her high school and college career, starting out in coffeehouses in Oregon and San Francisco. Upon graduation from the University of Oregon, she moved to Boston and devoted herself to music, busking on the streets of Cambridge and studying jazz guitar at Berklee College of Music and with Boston area jazz guitarists.
Cliff Eberhardt knew by age seven that he was going to be a singer and songwriter. Growing up in Berwyn, Pennsylvania, he and his brothers sang together and their parents played instruments. His dad introduced him to the guitar and he quickly taught himself to play. Fortunate enough to live close to the Main Point (one of the best folk clubs on the East Coast), he cut his teeth listening to the likes of James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, Bruce Springsteen, Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters, Bonnie Raitt, and Mississippi John Hurt — receiving an early and impressive tutorial in acoustic music. At the same time, he was also listening to great pop songwriters like Cole Porter, the Gershwins, and Rodgers and Hart, which explain his penchant for great melodies and clever lyrical twists.
At fifteen, Cliff and his brother Geoff began touring as an acoustic duo, playing the Eastern club circuit until Cliff turned twenty-one and moved to Carbondale, Illinois. There he found space to develop his own voice within a vibrant and supportive music scene that included Shawn Colvin. After a couple of years there and a short stay in Colorado, Cliff moved to New York in 1978. Because the clubs were great (the Bitter End, the Speakeasy, Kenny's Castaway, Folk City) and the company amazing (John Gorka, Suzanne Vega, Lucy Kaplansky, Julie Gold, Steve Forbert, Christine Lavin, and Shawn Colvin), New York was an ideal musician's boot camp. Though he put in long hours as a taxi driver, Cliff worked steadily on his music throughout the 80's, doing solo gigs and studio work, and playing guitar on the road with Richie Havens, Melanie and others. Singing advertising jingles for products like Coke, Miller Beer and Chevrolet ("The Heartbeat of America" campaign) allowed him to devote more time to his songwriting.
In 1990 Cliff's song "My Father's Shoes," appeared on Windham Hill's Legacy collection, leading to a deal with the label. They released Cliff's first album, The Long Road (1990), a work featuring a duet with Richie Havens. The critical response to this debut was outstanding (The Philadelphia Inquirer called the album a "repeatedly astounding collection"). He followed with two more records on Windham Hill before releasing 12 Songs of Good and Evil (1997) on Red House Records, which stemmed from a chance meeting with Red House founder Bob Feldman at John Gorka's wedding. Cliff recorded two more albums before his critically acclaimed The High Above and the Down Below, named the #5 album of 2007 by USA Today. Produced by legendary musician and Red House Records president Eric Peltoniemi, it was recorded in Minneapolis with noted jazz players Gordy Johnson, J. T. Bates and Rich Dworsky and was his first album after spending several years recovering from a car accident.
With a new lease on life and a fresh batch of songs, Cliff embarked on what has turned out to be an artistic renaissance. Recorded in the Texas Hill Country, Cliff's 2009 album 500 Miles: The Blue Rock Sessions may be his finest to date. An intimate album of powerful originals and unique covers, it features a reworking of his hit "The Long Road," a song made more poignant after nearly two decades of touring and recording. Long one of the most respected songwriters on the club scene, his peers often mine his catalog for themselves. Cliff's song "Memphis" was included on Cry Cry Cry, an album of collaborative covers by the "folk supergroup" of the same name (comprised of Dar Williams, Lucy Kaplansky and Richard Shindell). Other performers who have recorded his songs include Richie Havens, Shawn Colvin, Russ Taff and Buffy Sainte Marie. A collection of his songs has been published in The Cliff Eberhardt Songbook (Cherry Lane Publishing).
In 2011, Cliff got a phone call from the Folger Theatre and Shakespeare Library in Washington DC. They had been listening to his song, "That Kind of Love" along with director Aaron Posner and got the brilliant idea to hire Cliff to write original songs for the Shakespeare classic "The Taming of the Shrew". It would be set in the old West - Deadwood style - and Cliff would be cast as the blind but wise old saloon singer bookending scenes with his poignant songs and guitar phrases. The play was a huge success and won much critical acclaim across town and 7 weeks of solid sold-out shows in the Spring of 2012. In 2013, Cliff was awarded a coveted Helen Hayes Award for Sound Design and the cast won for Best Ensemble. Some of the songs on Shrew Songs are from Cliff's past work and some are brand new. The stripped down production enhances the immediate intimacy of Cliff's songwriting. You don't have to have seen the play to love this record! It's available for sale now only through this website or at Cliff's shows.