Feeling Regroovy 

PATTY LARKIN'S QUIRKY songs are peopled by a strange lot: a 1940s Appalachian bride, a sexy pyromaniac, a girl who does nothing more than let her dog roam free. Befitting her degree in English literature, Larkin's songs are more like short stories, intense glimpses of people we would otherwise pass by.

She started out as a folkie more than a decade ago alongside people like John Gorka and David Wilcox after attending the Berklee College of Music. She's released nine albums, including two live sets of her wildly entertaining shows. Her latest, Regrooving the Dream, explores characters in the midst of changes. The songs are more lyrical than her usual stream-of-consciousness writing, she said from her Cape Cod home where she records at her in-home digital studio.

"I think it's a wonderful marriage of digital technology with easier access for us as musicians," she explains. "I've been writing a lot closer to the recording process. It's allowed me to concentrate on the form of the song. It gives me the capability of trying things again and coming at it from a different angle."

Larkin says she admires writers like Hemingway who write dark narratives that don't have tidy endings.

"For the most part, it's like these exposés," she says of her songs. "They're more observational. Even the fictional work comes out of my own experience, something that I've felt or witnessed."

Larkin's regrooving the dream herself, she says, with her new record contract. This is her first studio album for Vanguard.

"Part of it was switching labels, part of it is where I'm at," she explained. "I was determining what are my priorities, why do I do what I do, what am I going to tell a new label that I'm most interested in doing and what feeds my passion. It became very apparent that I was entering a new phase in many ways."

Patty Larkin will perform on Saturday, September 23 at 8 p.m. in the Berger Performing Arts Center, 1200 W. Speedway Blvd. Tickets are $15 with a $2 discount for In Concert! members. Tickets are available at Hear's Music, the Folk Shop and Antigone Books, or order by phone at 327-4809 (outside of Tucson toll-free, 877-327-4809).

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