See an annual benefit concert dedicated to preserving and enriching the legacy of folk music all around New England called, ‘Folk New England.’
Since 2009, founder Betsy Siggins, having traveled many avenues assisting with community development in Cambridge, Massachusetts and beyond through music, created a New England non-profit organization that houses folk music history and giving it a rich life for the future.
Special guests Sarah Lee Guthrie, daughter of Arlo Guthrie and Jeremy Irion, Tumbling Bones, and award-winning singer-songwriter Patty Larkin will take the stage on Friday, June 5 at Regent Theatre, 7 Medford Street in Arlington, Massachusetts at 8 p.m.
I had the honor of interviewing Patty Larkin about her music, her community efforts with Folk New England, and how it felt to have Mayor Tom Menino honor her with a “Patty Larkin Appreciation Day.”
Your music has been described as folk urban pop music and you are a singer-songwriter. I like the lyrics to your song, ‘Wolf at the Door’ and its quick rhythm. How you get inspired to write? Is there a process?
‘Wolf at the Door’ took me a year to finish! The percussive lyrics and playfulness of the song were daunting, but fun. Once I realized what the song was about (the music industry back then), I was able to launch into the writing.
I am a songwriter who has to chip away at the craft of it, and then the daylight comes. If I don’t sit down to write on some kind of schedule, I can go long periods without any new songs. If I am working daily at it, I’ll get a gem of an idea to polish and sing.
Like any form of exercise, I find I must keep the muscle in shape. Once I’m in the writing zone, I can work on two or three songs at the same time.
You have been performing for over 30 years and yet, you have a new album out now called, ‘Still Green.’ Please tell me about that. Do you think you have still a lot to learn about yourself and your music?
Always. It’s always a challenge to translate what inspires me into what I want to write and say. It’s more a matter of what else I want to learn, to do, or play than anything. At its best, it’s like being a kid with a fascinating toy.
You’ll be part of a benefit for ‘Folk New England’ on Friday, June 5 at Regent Theatre in Arlington, Massachusetts, joining Tumbling Bones, Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion. How did you get involved in this organization?
I’ve known founder Betsy Siggins for years and New England is my home.
What does this cause to preserve folk music through ‘Folk New England’ mean to you?
I think the amazing thing about playing folk and traditional music in New England is the support that’s out there for the music. It’s something that we’re known for on the circuit. To have access to live music in the small towns and large cities for the next generation of listeners is a noble thing.
This music is timeless, and preserving its history and making sure it continues to connect our past with our future. My daughters play fiddle and guitar, and I hope they are inspired by what’s out there in their world.
Have you performed with Tumbling Bones or Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion before?
I met Johnny and Sarah Lee at a Tom Rush holiday show. We performed at Symphony Hall in 2013, but have not performed with Tumbling Bones before.
Not only have you won a number of Boston Music Awards, but I also understand Mayor Thomas Menino honored you with “Patty Larkin Appreciation Day” for your philanthropic efforts. What was that day like for you?
I think the most meaningful part of that day was listening to Mayor Menino’s words describing the contributions I had made to the community in terms of the nonprofit organizations I was affiliated with. That week, proceeds of my new CD went to the Aids Action Committee. I also got to sing the National Anthem at Fenway, so it was a remarkable day.
It must have been amazing. Aside from the ongoing tour schedule, are there any new projects you are currently working on?
I am writing for a new project for dance and theater. I’m also putting together a limited run of a benefit CD that will raise money for the work of the Peaked Hill Trust in the dunes of the National Seashore. The CD features three songs from ‘Still Green’ that I wrote while staying out in the dunes.
Click here to learn more about “Folk New England” and attend their upcoming concert and here to learn about Patty Larkin’s upcoming tour schedule, latest CD, and more.