It took singer-songwriters Lucy Kaplansky and Richard Shindell nearly 20 years to get around to making a record together, but only 24 hours for devoted fans to push past their initial goal of $40,000 to subsidize the resulting folk-roots effort, Tomorrow You’re Going.
“Every penny to do this was funded through our fans,” Kaplansky says by phone. In fact, the longtime friends/sometime-singing partners – recording under the moniker the Pine Hill Project – raised more than $85,000 on Kickstarter to cover all aspects of the album’s creation in just a matter of weeks.
“Everything went so well: the fan support through Kickstarter, the fact we got Larry Campbell to produce . . . and the actual studio work,” Kaplansky says. Tomorrow You’re Going features covers by an array of songwriters, including Gillian Welch (“Wichita”), Nick Lowe (“I Live on a Battlefield”), U2 (“Sweetest Thing”). and Dolly Parton (“Making Plans,” the tune from which the album gets its name).
Comparing the Pine Hill Project to the much-acclaimed 1998 Cry Cry Cry album Kaplansky and Shindell recorded with Dar Williams, the 55-year-old New York resident says the new record has a “much stronger roots-rock-country-folky vibe.”
“Cry Cry Cry was gentler, more acoustic, and more meditative,” Kaplansky says. “Like with this record, there was a lot of focus on harmony singing, but part of what made this so different is that Richard has been playing a lot more electric guitar lately . . . and that fantastic sound is at the center of the instrumentation.”
Plus, Kaplansky says, having two-time Grammy winner Campbell produce the new record – “kind of a miracle when you consider he’s the busiest producer and player there is” – hugely affected its overall sound.
“So much of this is Larry’s vision. It’s very different than anything either Richard or myself have done in the past,” Kaplansky says. Campbell, whose never-ending musical portfolio includes eight years as a member of Bob Dylan’s touring band, pushed Kaplansky and Shindell to “sing in a way we’ve never sung before.”
“We’d do a track, and he’d say, ‘That’s good, now do it louder,’ ” Kaplansky says. “I was skeptical, but Larry truly brought out this searing power in our voices.”
Kaplansky says she and Shindell – in addition to simply “getting” each other as friends and fellow roots-folk musicians – have a deep appreciation for the same type of songwriting, something that enhances their vocal symmetry. Shindell, in fact, suggested they add to their tour repertoire a song he’s long admired. Kaplansky won’t reveal its title but says it’s a favorite of hers that she sang during the early years of her career: “We’re just in synch like that.”
Performing with three backing musicians – including Campbell, who will tackle an array of stringed instruments and also open the show with his wife, singer Teresa Williams – Kaplansky says she and Shindell are “more than ecstatic” to hit the road together.
“We both love singing a great song, no matter who wrote it,” she says. “Nothing feels as good.”