Somewhere during 1998, I rediscovered the 1995 CD, Performing Songwriter Magazine's Top 12 Independent Releases.
Regrettably, the album from which this is taken, Chalk this One Up to the Moon, by this time, is no longer in print. I then found out that she was going to be one of the acts on the bill at the First Night concert in Oakland, New Jersey, on the eve of 1999. We were lucky that she was sharing a workshop performance with Buddy after the main performance. At my 9-to-5, the department chairman, Ben, is into contemporary folk, going back to Phil Ochs and Tom Paxton.
Some of the songs on Slightly Haunted are, for me, riveting enough to keep me playing them over and over. By the time this issue hits the streets and our readers pick it up in the venues throughout NYC and surrounding burbs, we will have seen Lynn once more at the Towne Crier, in Pawling, NY on Halloween eve where she's sharing the bill with Richard Shindell. 1999 ASCAP-award winning singer-songwriter Laura Wetzler sings, plays and composes a wide range of material, all with great flair and verve. As she told me on the phone, she inherited an early passion for music from her mother, a professional musician with a specialty in Jewish folk songs who also worked as a folk DJ.
Her debut CD release, Songwriter's Notebook, is currently receiving airplay on 260+ radio stations around the world.
There's something about seeing a favorite performer in a house concert, up close and intimate, that has me clinging to my ownership of an old, beat-up, but still costly automobile. We headed for another room in the High School where the concert was held and listened to them both for another hour. The production is sheer perfection, showcasing Lynn's voice and melodies without going too far.


She tours in over 150 concerts and workshops a year, singing contemporary folk and Jewish roots music in Hebrew, Yiddish and Judeo-Spanish. As a kid, Laura always loved the strong, poetic lyrics of Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell and others. It features songs about lost jobs, group home buddies, sudden deaths, ancient texts, notorious NYC canals and long-haul relationships.
During the pot luck lunch before the concert and during the break, it gets even friendlier when the Blixt's two big, gentle dogs come 'round to see who'll give in and offer them a snack. As an aspiring songwriter, long ago, compulsively and with very limited results, I tried to emulate Gordon Lightfoot. Her voice is soft but enormously expressive, with the barest hint of a catch in her throat. Again, she spun tale after tale, weaving her voice through songs with more hooks than a tackle box. I loaned him my copy of Night in a Strange Town and he promptly went out and bought two copies of the first CD of Lynn's that he could find, her previous album, Slightly Haunted, and gave me one. Other giants to come south across that northern border and blow people away have included Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Bruce Cockburn and Sarah McLachlan. It's just her voice and her acoustic guitar with a bass in the background and just the right amount of echo added.
All were exciting, but it was Lynn, who I'd never seen live before, that I was most eager to watch. Belatedly, I decided to run out to the front lobby where the CDs were being sold to get her latest, Night in a Strange Town. She's scheduled to play Nashville, Philadelphia, Winston Salem, North Carolina, San Louis Opisbo and Santa Barbara, California.


Her words show that she's seen those late afternoons with the long shadows that coat the loneliness with a wistful amber light.
The guitar and mandolin set up a mantra-like rhythm and the pedal steel sighs in the background. We got to hear a bunch of great new songs and Lynn worked a sardonic brand of humor on the living room full of guests. Her back-up musicians on the album include some wonderfully familiar names: David Hamburger, Mindy Jostyn, George Wurzbach, Greg Anderson and others. Every song, one after another, was movingly satisfying, filled with surprising melodic turns and articulate phrases. When she mentioned that she'd gotten a feature spot in November in the main showcase at the Northeast Regional Folk Alliance Conference in the Poconos, we thought it would be a good idea to do a feature on her, sharing our fondness for her work with the others in attendance at NERFA. Some favorites who've appeared there include: Cheryl Wheeler, Cliff Eberhardt, Hugh Blumenfeld, Vance Gilbert, Lucy Kaplansky, and Richard Shindell. It didn't hurt that she's also attractive, with a mantle of dark hair framing a striking face with eyes that seem to brood in their intensity. Enormously popular with Cabin-goers, Richard is booked for two shows on Sunday, January 16th. John Flynn is pencilled in for December and Pierce Pettis and Michael Smith are scheduled for the spring of 2000.



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