Archive for March 23rd, 2023


Lucy Kaplansky This Morning I Was Born Again

This morning I was born again, I was born again complete
I stood up above my troubles and I stand on my two feet
My hand it feels unlimited, my body feels like the sky
I feel at home in the universe where yonder planets fly

This Morning I Was Born Again, Woody Guthrie lyrics/ Slaid Creaves music

I have been coming across a name on social media lately that I didn’t recognize, belonging to a musician whose work I didn’t know. One of the posts had very good reviews for one of her recordings so I was intrigued enough to look her up and give a listen.

It’s folk/ Americana and I have liked the small sample I have been able to hear this morning thus far. I liked it enough to examine her background a bit more. Her name is Lucy Kaplansky and was born in Chicago, the daughter of a well-known mathematician. At 18, around 1978, she decided against going to college and moved to NYC. She became involved in the folk scene there playing with the likes of Suzanne Vega and Shawn Colvin. After about five years of playing, she decided to go back to school where she studied clinical psychology.

While pursuing her PhD, she formed a duo with Shawn Colvin which began to get noticed, even attracting record company interest. However, Kaplansky withdrew from the duo and went to work as a staff psychologist at a NY hospital. For several years, she focused on her career as a psychologist while maintaining just a fringe relationship with the music biz.

But the world of music eventually lured her back. in the early 90’s, Colvin, now somewhat successful, produced a record for Lucy Kaplansky and around 1993 she completed her transformation from clinical psychologist to full-time musician. She has released a number of well-received albums, has collaborated with a number of other musicians such as Nanci Griffith, and has performed multiple times on television and radio.

I am always interested in reading about how people reinvent themselves, changing careers to follow a dream or find a different form of existence. Lucy Kaplansky seems to have done this well.

I am playing a song from her this morning that is in itself a sort of reinvention. It’s a song, This Morning I Am Born Again, that began as one of the many lyrics written by Woody Guthrie that were found after his death without being set to music. Several contemporary folk/ Americana musicians, most notably the group Wilco, have reinvented Guthrie’s songs with new music. This particular song was seamlessly transformed by Texas musician Slaid Creaves.

It’s a fine and interesting song. You might mistake it at first glance as a new country gospel song, but it is actually the antithesis of that. It is a song that proclaims that there is no need to seek a distant heaven that is only obtainable after death, that paradise is at hand here and now on Earth:

This morning I was born again and a light shines on my landI no longer look for heaven in your deathly distant landI do not want your pearly gates don’t want your streets of goldThis morning I was born again and a light shines on my soul

The song’s narrator sees each day as a rebirth with the past washed away. Each day becomes an opportunity to experience the wonder of this would-be paradise, to feel the unity of all things natural, and to extend to others a helping hand.

It’s a powerful song and a good way to kick off the day. Maybe it will be a day of reinvention. Who knows?

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