The Pine Hill Project is made up of Lucy Kaplansky and Richard Shindell. Established singer-songwriters in their own right, they had been longing to create an album together. Tomorrow You’re Going is made up of covers. Some you might be familiar with, like U2’s “Sweetest Thing” which is right at home along side Greg Brown and David Carter. It’s the second time out for a covers project. In 1998, Dar Williams joined them for Cry Cry Cry and a tour that followed. This time, a third member could possibly be the astonishing Larry Campbell. He plays on the album along with heading up production of this new release.
The duo are touring for 6 quick dates. Thursday night May 14th brings them to the Alberta Rose Theater. When I spoke with Lucy earlier this week, she reminded me, that she really means it when she wants to meet fans after the show. Sounds like it is one of her favorite things to do. Listen to our entire conversation, below.
Richard and Lucy (collectively know as The Pine Hill Project) first met at a recording studio in 1989. At that point, neither were pursuing a career in music. Lucy, having recently completed her graduate training, was beginning a career as a clinical psychologist. Richard was a graduate student at the time, and heading toward a career in counseling. And yet both were ambivalent. For each, music had always been the thing. But it’s a long step from there to having a viable career in the music industry. Back at the studio in 1989, Richard had invited Lucy to sing harmony on some of his first original songs, and instinctively their voices honed in on each other – choosing the notes, negotiating the timbre, finding the blend. Soon after, both decided to follow their dreams, and pursued their own solo careers in music. Though coming into the scene much later than most, Richard and Lucy quickly became known among the acoustic folk circuit, and have never looked back.
Having made critically acclaimed solo albums since the 90’s, and guest starring in each other’s from time to time, Richard and Lucy have been talking about making an album together for years. Deciding it was time, they immediately asked two-time Grammy Award winner, Larry Campbell (longtime Bob Dylan sideman who’s also performed alongside Levon Helm, Sheryl Crow, and Willie Nelson among others), to produce. With Campbell on board as producer and player, and a Kickstarter fund of more than double their goal, the three set off to choose the songs that would make the 11 track album.
Wanting to create a sound much different than their solo albums, Richard decided to focus on the electric guitar, while producer Larry Campbell pushed them both to sing differently than they ever had before. But the further they moved towards recording, the more they noticed a collective theme to the songs they chose; one that Richard refers to as “gone-ness” and one that he is familiar with. Splitting his time between the U.S. and Argentina, making an Americana album, had a different significance. “Making an album is another way of coming back, whether I’m recording here in Buenos Aires or in Upstate New York. The material itself (this collection of songs on Tomorrow You’re Going) represents another way of cutting the distance and reaffirming connections. As a vehicle, it’s more powerful than a jet plane.”