LIVE: Christine Lavin @ Caffe Lena, 1/3/10

Watching singer-songwriter Christine Lavin perform, you sometimes get the feeling that she is having way too much fun up there on the stage. She’s like a little kid with a pranksterish grin one moment and a mile-wide smile the next.

Going against the grain of most “serious” folk music artists, Lavin humorously pokes fun at the ills of society, contemporary culture and, of course, herself.

Her songs comically describe a chance meeting with actor Harrison Ford and an unrequited love for Britain’s Prince Charles. Then she gathered together a group of men from the audience, gently poking fun of them onstage during the sing-along of “Sensitive New Age Guys.”

But don’t be fooled. More than many others in the genre, she is an acute observer of the human condition. And masked within her humor is a sincere story or two worth learning from.

Manhattan-based Lavin has a long-standing history with Caffe Lena, and not just as a performer. In the early 1980s, she volunteered there as a waitress and soaked up the atmosphere while learning from the many touring artists that played there.

Lavin’s recent recordings – “Cold Pizza for Breakfast” and “I Don’t Make This Stuff Up, I Just Make It Rhyme,” both on Yellow Tail Records – are at the same time comfortingly representative of her style and yet refreshingly new and vibrant.

Christine Lavin will be making a return trip to Nippertown on Saturday, May 15 as part of the Eighth Step‘s ongoing concert series at Proctors in Schenectady.

(Review and photos by Andrzej Pilarczyk)

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