Juneau unplugged

Acoustic guitarist Lynn Patrick brings unique music to town

Posted: Thursday, August 08, 2002

Acoustic guitarist Lynn Patrick could use a musical category called "uplifting."

Her original compositions have elements of jazz, bluegrass and folk, and her new CD features all instrumental music. She flatpicks country guitar and fingerpicks in open tunings, which leaves pigeon-holers at a loss for an easy definition for her style.

"There's rock, jazz, hip hop, singer-songwriter, but there isn't a category for instrumental guitar - or instrumental music at all - so they put me in new age," said the Boulder, Colo.-based guitarist. "The most common thing people say is it makes them feel better, it's uplifting."

Patrick will play two concerts in Juneau this week, a performance Thursday at the Hangar on the Wharf and a benefit concert Friday at Northern Light United Church. Pianist Robert Cohen and violinist Lisa Ibias will join her.

Last fall Patrick won an independent music award for "Passing Through," a song from her new CD, "Winnie's Guitar." The award comes on the heels of national attention - National Public Radio has been using Patrick's music regularly for transitional breaks on the news programs "All Things Considered," "Morning Edition" and "Living on Earth." She performs at music festivals, clubs and small concert venues throughout Colorado, and has opened concerts for Dan Fogelberg, Cheryl Wheeler and Karla Bonoff.

Time and Place

Guitarist Lynn Patrick, with pianist Robert Cohen and violinist Lisa Ibias.

Original instrumental music, 8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 8, at the Hangar on the Wharf, no cover; 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 9, at Northern Light United Church, $30 or $50 per couple, benefit for Jabali, reception follows.

Patrick owes the Juneau concerts to "Winnie's Guitar" and a Boulder friend. The woman brought the recording to Alaska last summer when she came to visit her friend Tracey Ricker in Juneau. Ricker liked the CD, and then met Patrick when she took a trip to Boulder. Ricker and Patrick became friends and Ricker organized the Juneau shows.

"Winnie's Guitar" is named for Patrick's black and white cat.

"When I write songs she always comes around, she likes music and she was a big part of the music," Patrick said. "The cover is painting of Winnie flying over some hills, and that led to the title."

Patrick was born and raised in central Florida and was 16 when she began teaching herself to play guitar. Within a couple years she was writing music and performing in local clubs and colleges.

She supported herself with her music while pursuing a humanities degree at Florida State University in Tallahasse and moved to Colorado in 1984.

Her first CD, "Natural Voice Inside," features her singing as well as playing guitar. She said she taught guitar and performed as a singer and guitarist around the Boulder area for a decade, playing a mix of cover tunes and originals, mostly working the Rocky Mountain ski area circuit.

"I stopped in 1994. I did it for so many years I wanted to get completely out of music, I did it for too long," she said. "I dropped out for a year. Then I started writing these songs. Guitar songs, I call them. I've been getting more of a following and been able to focus on instrumental music."

Patrick recently recorded her third CD, titled "When She Dreams," which she's preparing to release. The Juneau concert will feature some of her new compositions.

Patrick plays several guitar parts on "Winnie's Guitar," which also includes bass and mandolin and violin on some tracks.

"On the new CD I have piano and cello on a few tunes, and I have a lot of my favorite Colorado guitarists as well playing lead guitar," she said. "I play quite a bit of lead guitar myself, but I usually write the second guitar parts and have someone else play them. The second parts adds highlights to the songs."

Patrick said she works in a number of open tunings, which gives her music a full sound even when she plays solo. She's working with a bassist, pianist and lead guitarist to showcase her new compositions in performances this fall.

She said she loves to work with other musicians and said she's delighted that Ricker was able to recommend Cohen and Ibias.

"I think will create a lot more dynamic," she said. "It's so much more fun performing with other people and it sounds fuller."

Patrick usually has three guitars on stage to minimize retuning during performances. She's brought two to Alaska, a Takamine and a Taylor, both steel-string guitars.

"I saw Crosby Stills Nash and Young 10 years ago and I counted 60 guitars on stage, acoustic and electric," she said with a laugh. "It's nice to be able not have to tune on stage."

Riley Woodford can be reached at rileyw@juneauempire.com.

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