With patience comes wider exposure for Patty Larkin
If there's a word that sums up Patty Larkin's career right now, it's options. A year after releasing "Regrooving the Dream," one of the better albums of 2000, the Cape Cod, Mass., resident is awash in opportunity as she mulls her next step, which just might be a guitar-oriented album.
A guitar album?
"It would be instrumentals," she says. "Something more experimental musically than the typical singer-songwriter stuff."
At first glance, that seems to be a strange tangent. Larkin, who will visit Rosebud in the Strip District on Saturday, is perceived as a folk-oriented artist, even though her music has always exhibited a more muscular musicality. "Regrooving the Dream," for instance, was filled with textures and experimental song snippets that are far afield from most folk offerings.
"I got a lot of positive responses to the music on 'Regrooving,'" Larkin says. "It keeps coming up, and it's something I always wanted to do."
If Larkin decides to release a more traditional album of songs, it definitely won't be, well, traditional. Her music stands in contrast to other similar fare by benefit of the chances she takes. Even as, she acknowledges, such experimentation breeds discomfort among mainstream radio programmers.
"'Regrooving' wasn't necessarily what you would call radio-friendly," she says. "But a couple of songs got a lot of airplay. I knew that when they still wanted to sign me at the label (Vanguard), that people were digging deeper into the album."
If Larkin's music is considered a bit esoteric and is rarely heard on mainstream radio, she did benefit from a strange-but-fortunate occurrence a few years ago. Director Sydney Pollack was driving around Los Angeles on his way to a studio to remix the music for his movie "Sliding Doors" when he heard Larkin's song, "Coming Up For Air."
Pollack selected that song and Larkin's "Tenderness in the Block" for use in "Sliding Doors." Larkin subsequently placed songs in the Pollack-produced "Random Hearts" ("Good Thing") and in "Evolution" ("Anyway the Main Thing Is,") which also featured songs from "Regrooving the Dream" in the backing soundtrack.
Hollywood, of all places, really seems in tune with Larkin's music.
"I went out in July with my manager for a few meetings, and they were all really very responsive," she says. "I didn't meet with people who are looking for Celine Dion. My publisher set me up with good matches, and the thing that I hear is they're really looking for this quirky music that is different from real slick mainstream, or different from what a composer can come up with."
Larkin was especially impressed by a film supervisor who was looking for songs in the style of Guy Clarke and Nick Drake, and another who wished he'd used one of her songs in "The Horse Whisperer." Finally, she says, years of hard work are starting to pay off.
"The ultimate message for me is to kind of keep going in the direction I've headed myself in," she says. "To keep working on my own material because people are finding it in bits and pieces."