Folk music meets beat generation meets rock and roll. That is how Patty Larkin describes her hard- to-categorize style of music. It is that unique blend that has created such a strong following for Larkin since her first recording in 1987.
Eight albums later, Larkin has established herself as an innovator and consummate live performer.
Patty Larkin comes to Hope College on Thursday, April 18, at 8 p.m. at the Knickerbocker Theatre.
"Imagine a drop-dead brilliant guitar player, a richly textual singer, a commanding poetic songwriter, a hilarious and personable entertainer. There you have Patty Larkin," said "Performing Songwriter" magazine.
Larkin's latest release on Vanguard Records, "Regrooving the Dream," draws on the varied traditions of Celtic, blues, samba, Middle Eastern, country, and rhythm and blues. Her work will likely continue to earn her acclaim, and she already has won an unprecedented 11 Boston Music Awards. Boston's mayor even proclaimed a "Patty Larkin Appreciation Day."
The "New York Times" has called Larkin "a superb slide guitarist," while the "Chicago Tribune said "Patty Larkin is one of the most gifted performers in music today."
Born in Milwaukee, Wis., Larkin headed to college in Oregon before moving to Boston, where she graduated from the Berklee School of Music. She began playing in subways and on the streets, joined a succession of bands, and finally decided to pursue a solo career in the 1980s.
Her 1997 album, "Perishable Fruit," is often named one of the best recordings of the 1990s, and gained wide critical praise for its innovative structure. Recorded without any drums, only stringed instruments, the recording created new ways of incorporating percussion sounds into music.
Her music attracts a wide range of fans. She has collaborated with Bruce Cockburn, each performing on one another's recordings, and Cher covered one of Larkin's tunes for her recent album. She has sung the National Anthem at Fenway Park, and her songs appear on several movie soundtracks.
Appearances on VH-1, all the major morning television shows, and even "CBS News Nightwatch" have brought her music to a constantly widening group of fans. More information on Larkin may be obtained by visiting her Web site at www.pattylarkin.com.
Tickets for the show go on sale on Monday, April 8, and will cost $10 for the general public and $5 for Hope College students. Tickets will be sold at the theatre lobby ticket office in the DeWitt Center, which is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from noon to 5 p.m., and can be called at (616) 395-7890.
Plus, Hope College does not want the music to end with Larkin's concert. Immediately following the concert, the Hope College Jazz Ensembles and Anchor Band will be in concert at 84 East Restaurant, located next to the Knickerbocker Theatre. The two ensembles are giving a free concert beginning at 10 p.m., featuring the music of jazz greats such as Charles Mingus, James Miley and Dizzy Gillespie.