The Michigan Daily - Weekend etc. - Thursday, February 10, 1994-5
Four songwriters come together 'on a winter's night'
tBy DIRK SCHULZE
It is a unique opportunity, the
,chance to see four of the largest names
in the singer-songwriter business--a
profession that encourages solo per-
formances-work together. The "On
a Winter's Night" tour features the
rock 'n' roll-inspired passion of Cliff
Eberhardt, the humor of Cheryl
Wheeler, the magnificent baritone of
John Gorka and the concise guitar
work of Patty Larkin.
"The shows are
always infused with The first h
said. "Each night is night is gi
different as we as- Of songs:
sume different roles.
OIf it always stayed requested
the same, it would newest sc
be boring for the au-
dience and us." song.
The tourcame to-
gether three years
ago when singer / songwriter Chris-
tine Lavin assembled a compilation
of songs related to winter. A subse-
quent tour was booked showcasing a
variety of artists, including David
Wilcox, Kristina Olsen and the four
rwho currently comprise the group.
For Gorka, Eberhardt, Larkin and
Wheeler, this will be the second year
on the tour. "There is a certain strength
to doing it two years in a row with the
same lineup," Larkin said.
Along with the lineup, the format
of the shows has crystallized. The
first half of the night is given to rounds
Olof songs: most requested song, new-
est song, favorite song. The spotlight
is given to each in turn as they trade
lead and harmony duties. The second
half is the "game show" segment.
Audience members are encouraged
to suggest song topics and the four
must think of a song that fits it. Sug-
gestions usually range from songs
about toxic waste to songs about hav-
ing your ex-husband sitting three rows
in front of you at a folk concert.
Each of the four brings a distinct
musical personality and past to the
show. Patty Larkin, with five records
and nine Boston Music Awards to her
name, is not only an established
songwriter, but an amazing guitarist
as well. Hermost recent release, "An-
gels Running," is her most polished
and fullest record. "The songwriting
is a little edgier," Larkin said. "I tried
to not write formulaic songs." She
brings to the tour both a gifted ear for
melodies and a keen wit. At one early
show, she stepped in after a David
half of the
iven to rounds
"Yeah, well, I
don't care," and
launched into a
song about self-
"I look for-
ward to this pe-
said. "It is very
inspiring to be around such incredible
John Gorka, over the course of his
first three releases, garnered himself
a reputation as an extremely talented
and depressed singer-songwriter. His
latest, "Temporary Road," retains the
intensely personal aura of his earlier
works, but finds him meditating on
much happiertopics. "My formerview
was backward / My backward view
was blue / Now I'm looking forward
to you," he sings on "Looking For-
ward" and adds in "Gravyland," "I
did not expect to feel this good."
"This tour has a real good blend of
personalities," Gorka said. "I'm
laughing nearly too much."
If anyone embodies the spirit of
tour assembler Christine Lavin it is
Cheryl Wheeler. Both her stage man-
ner and sense of humor are quite simi-
lar to those of Lavin, though her ample
songwriting abilities and pure vocals
are all her own. Her four albums are
full of moving character sketches and
wicked looks at the absurdities of
American life. On her latest, "Driv-
ing Home," she offers not only. the
melancholic "75 Septembers" and
"When Fall Comes to New England,"
Cheryl Wheeler, John Gorka, Patty Larkin and Cliff Eberhardt make up the "On A Winter's Night" tour giving audiences the equivalent of tour shows in one.
but also the sarcastic "Don't Forget
the Guns," in which a family strikes
out on vacation armed to the teeth.
Growing up in Philadelphia, Cliff
Eberhardt was surrounded by music.
He began performing when only eight-
years-old and backed his older brother
throughout high school while steadily
honing his own songwriting skills.
"I'm more rock and rhythm 'n' blues
based than the others," he said. Both
his guitar playing and vocals ring
with passion. His lyrics have a sparse-
ness about them that belies their emo-
tional depth. On his two albums, "The
Long Road" and "Now You Are My
Home," Eberhardt proved that he was
just as capable of rocking out, as on
'My Father's Shoes," as matching
vocals with folk-legend Richie Ha-
vens on the evocative title track of
"The Long Road."
Singer-songwriters are by nature
given to working a stage alone. On
tours such as "On a Winter's Night,"
it becomes evident that it is just as
productive to join forces once in a
while, not to mention just as enter-
taining. "It's a good break," said
Larkin, "like going to winter camp.
It's a lot of fun."
ON A WINTER'S NIGHT will be at
the Ark tonight at 7 and 9:30. Call
763-TKTS for information.
Sure women bond, but men d(
I believe there are some things in
life which will forever remain a mys-
tery. Why are there only seven won-
ders of the world? Why does Richard
Simmons sweat to the oldies? Why
does the world need another talk show
host? But amidst all these mysteries,
one looms large in my mind: What's
had gotten out of control. I thought
that maybe I should point out that this
was merely the Sports Coliseum and
not Crisler Arena, but I decided I
better not ruin the dream.
Men also have a way of almost
instantly bonding together when in
the presence of women. Men who
have never even met before are sud-
denly best friends if it will strengthen
their position against the women.
Suddenly they are wrapped up in talk-
ing about sports or the injustices
women inflict upon them.
Now, before all you men write to
me and tell me about the existence of
female bonding, I'm not denying that
it occurs, but let's face it, men go a tad
bit overboard. Traditionally, women
have been able to communicate with
one another and we don't usually have
to pretend we're something we're not
to do it. We are able to express our
feelings on an honest and genuine
level without having to hide behind a
sport. We can cry in front of each
other without being dubbed wimps.
Men get very defensive when I
broach this subject with them. It's as
if some little warning light goes on
which propels them to utter useless
defenses against my search for an-
swers. And usually the only thing
they can come up with is "What about
women and shopping? And how'bout
how you all go to the bathroom to-
What these men don't realize is
that, while we may do these things
occasionally, we don't lose our sense
of decorum. And we never have to hit
each other on the butts to show our
approval of a good bargain.
Now, I will admit that I know a
couple of women (Mel) who get a
little nuts when they come within a 20
mile radius of a mall, but this is a
If men would only learn how to
incorporate their testosterone induced
bonding in with their emotions, they
would be much better off. Women
have been able to maintain their inde-
pendence quite well while bonding
with each other.
We women cannot be totally
blameless in the perpetuation of this
phenomenon. We often are guilty of
stroking these testosterone pumped
male egos, when what we really need
to do is slap them around a little.
While I'm sure I will never under-1
stand this primitive behavior pattern,
I do acknowledge that it is healthy for
men to bond and I don't want to deny
them whatever pleasure these rituals'
of manhood bring. But for heaven's
sake, lighten up. And don't be sur-
prised if you hear a woman snicker-
Friday, February 11, 7:30 p.m.
Reading and Book Signing
303 S. State at Lib
Mon-Sat 9-10 * Sun1
668-7652 * parking valid
up with male bonding?
Recently, I have been the unfortu-
nate witness of several ostentatious
displays of male bonding. And my
only response has been one filled with
bewilderment ... and laughter.
A couple weeks ago, I went to
watch some friends play an intramu-
ral basketball game. Now, what-pos-
sessed me to go in the first place, I
can't tell you - let's chalk it up to
temporary insanity. But, once there,
what I saw fascinated me.
All of a sudden, men whom I re-
spect and can usually talk to about
politics and other intellectual topics,
were transformed into competitive
blobs of testosterone. Each magically
turned into beings who shouted at
each other in tones that no longer
One friend, we'll call him Bob to
protect his fragile image (not to men-
tion ego), attacked a bench after being
charged (falsely he claims) with foul-
ing amember of the opposing team. It
was at this point that I realized things
IT'9S A BLAST!1
"The opportunities I've
had at the Daily will be of
great importance after
graduation-and for now,
I'm having a blast!"
Alisa Rosen, Account
BE AN ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE
FOR SPISU TERMS OR
EAI I IfAIITED TCDMU
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