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SOPAC Hosts On A Winter's Night
25th Anniversary

originally published: 10/13/2019

SOPAC Hosts On A Winter's Night 25th Anniversary

(SOUTH ORANGE, NJ) -- Five of the most brilliant stars of the singer-songwriter movement of the past three decades reunite on the SOPAC stage on Friday, November 8 at 8:00pm as part of the national tour of On A Winter’s Night  25th Anniversary, a concert celebrating the 1994 release of the now-classic CD.

Veteran artists Christine Lavin, John Gorka, Cheryl Wheeler, Patty Larkin and Cliff Eberhardt are back by popular demand, presenting a live version of the recording whose selections include “Winter Wind” (Larkin), “Love Is Our Cross to Bear” (Gorka), and “The Kind of Love You Never Recover From” (Lavin), among many other original songs. 

In 1994 Christine Lavin gathered singer-songwriters, along with Americana and folk artists, to showcase music of the winter season for the CD On A Winter’s Night. Several years of touring collaborations followed. These artists have released dozens of recordings and toured steadily through the decades, sharing fond memories of their days together on the road. Now in 2019-2020, the winter season is again celebrated by these unique performers.

Lavin is a singer/songwriter/guitarist/recording artist who has been based in New York City since 1984. The New Yorker calls her “wildly entertaining.” The Orlando Sentinel calls her “a FolkZinger.” Lavin performs in concert all over the U.S., Canada and points beyond, and hosts knitting circles backstage prior to each show. Songs of hers have been performed by artists as diverse as Broadway stars Betty Buckley, Sutton Foster and David Burnham, and cabaret diva Andrea Marcovicci. She’s working on her 24th solo album and has produced 10 compilation CDs, Just One Angel v2.0 being the latest, showcasing the holiday songs of 19 songwriters whose work she loves. ASCAP awarded her book, Cold Pizza For Breakfast: A Mem-wha??, the 43rd Annual Deems Taylor Award; she has also won five ASCAP composer awards. Lavin is the recipient of a 2012 NYC Nightlife Award given annually to the best concert and cabaret performers.

Hailed by Rolling Stone as “the leading singer-songwriter of the New Folk movement,” John Gorka (“I Saw a Stranger With Your Hair,” “The Water Is Wide,” “The Gypsy Life”) is perhaps the quintessential singer-songwriter of the ‘90s folk scene. Originally from New Jersey, Gorka apprenticed at Godfrey Daniels Coffee House in Bethlehem, PA, then the Greenwich Village Fast Folk scene. Winning the prestigious New Folk award at the Kerrville Folk Festival in 1984, he was then signed to Red House Records, for which he released his landmark first of 17 recordings, I KnowThe Boston Globe praised Gorka “for the sophisticated intelligence and the provocative originality of his songs.” Recent accolades include 2016’s Indie Acoustic Project’s Best Singer-Songwriter CD of the Year for Before Beginning (Red House Records). His latest release, the 14th of his career, is 2018’s True In Time (Compass Records).

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Recognized for her brilliant, hysterical performances and beautifully crafted songs, such as “When Fall Comes to New England,” “Gandhi/Buddha” and “Arrow,” Cheryl Wheeler truly needs to be seen to be appreciated. “Strong poetry, complex melodies, clever wit,” raves Singout! Even those who are unfamiliar with this artist have probably heard her music. Because she is highly respected as a songwriter by her peers, her songs have been covered by artists like Dan Seals, Peter, Paul and Mary, Kenny Loggins, Garth Brooks, Suzy Boggus, Melanie, Bette Midler, Maura O’Connell, Sylvia, Kathy Mattea and Holly Near. Wheeler performed at venues around Baltimore and Washington, D.C. before moving to New England in 1976, where she now lives. She tours extensively and usually performs solo or with singer-songwriter Kenny White. In addition to the On A Winter’s Night tour, she was part of the Philo 25th Anniversary tour.

Patty Larkin, whose popular recordings include “You & Me” and “Me and That Train,” redefines the boundaries of folk-urban pop music with her inventive guitar wizardry and uncompromising lyrics and vocals. Acoustic Guitar magazine hails her “soundscape experiments” while Rolling Stone praises her “evocative and sonic shading.” She has been described as “riveting” (Chicago Tribune), “hypnotic” (Entertainment Weekly), and a “drop-dead brilliant” performer (Performing Songwriter). Recently an Artist-in-Residence at Berklee College of Music in Boston – and now on the faculty at Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown – Larkin reflects, “I have been energized by the poets, writers and artists I have met while teaching, and find myself on a journey to break down some of the predictable pathways that songs can travel.” Her 14th CD, Bird In A Cage, is in production.

One of the most original songsmiths currently on tour, Philadelphia-born Cliff Eberhardt (“The Long Road,” “My Father’s Shoes”) is a highly intelligent, articulate artist whose penetrating and profound lyrics are enhanced by his extraordinary guitar playing. His critically acclaimed The High Above and the Down Below (Red House Records) was named No. 5 album of 2007 by USA Today. Performers who have recorded his songs include Richie Havens, Shawn Colvin, Russ Taff and Buffy Sainte-Marie. Like Havens and John Hammond, Eberhardt continues to carry the torch for traditional and contemporary folk music through his strong live shows; the words that tumble from his mouth are framed by a raspy yet deeply elegant voice. Whether he tours solo or with a small band, Eberhardt’s guitar playing, singing and original folk songs and blues make for a compelling, thought-filled, emotional roller coaster of a concert.

Tickets are $38-$58 and can be purchased online. SOPAC is located at One SOPAC Way in South Orange, New Jersey. 

Since 2006, SOPAC has been serving as a premier performing arts center in the region. SOPAC offers innovative artistic and cultural experiences for diverse audiences in an intimate, inviting environment. The arts center hosts a variety of live performances, community events and education programs for all ages. SOPAC is home for Seton Hall University Arts Council’s performances, including Classical Concert Series, Jazz ‘N the Hall performances and Seton Hall University Theatre productions. SOPAC programs are made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Arts and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. The South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC) is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.  

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