Patty Larkin is still feasting on "25" -- her last studio album for which she recruited 25 of her friends to record 25 songs celebrating her 25th year in music -- but she has plenty of new songs to share, too.
The past several years have certainly provided her with plenty of fodder, including the death of both parents and the illness of her sister. But Larkin worked hard to balance the more somber songs with those that reflect her positive outlook on life.
"Some of the songs are deeply sad," she said of the new album she hopes will be released in June. "I couldn't include them. [Instead, I included songs that show how] you work your way back not to the land of the living but to recovering your balance and your life attitude. That for me is a positive. I have a very positive attitude about life."
That attitude has served her well. Larkin learned to perform when she was still a high school student, singing in coffee houses. She broke into the music business soon after moving to Boston to study jazz guitar at the famed Berklee College of Music. Although many think of Larkin as a folk singer, her style is consistently folk, country and jazz.
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Her musical breadth is what makes "25" such a delight. Of course, Larkin's songs, arrangements and presentation are rightfully lauded. But the addition of guests including Rosanne Cash, Jonatha Brooke, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Shawn Colvin and the other musicians on the album who represent paths Larkin has taken through the years makes for a solid musical memoir.
Larkin is hesitant to label the new, as yet unnamed, album a different style. Yet the songs, which include a winter suite, a dream suite, long songs and songs about nature, seem like a shift to her.
"It is sort of a respite from the emotional upheaval," said Larkin. "There are songs about getting back to what makes sense to me, songs about nature and my family."
During her show, Larkin plans to work through her catalog and introduce some of the newer songs, too. She hopes the set will come together as something of a journey.
"I think I want [those who attend] to come away with the feeling that they traveled with me," she said. "I want to start at a certain place, end at a certain place and go deeper. It's not always pretty and sometimes it's difficult, but we always end with humor and hope."