Penny Lang

Penny Lang



Penny Lang takes top honors at the Canadian Folk Music Awards

Canada's "grande dame of folk-blues," Penny Lang, capped off a triumphant
career come-back in Edmonton last December earning top honors at last year's
Canadian Folk Music Awards. Twenty two Canadian newspapers carried the

Lang took the prize for "Best Solo Artist," while her new CD,
Stone+Sand+Sea+Sky won "Best Album - Contemporary."

"Penny really is remarkable. Absolutely distinctive. Listen to that voice for two seconds and you think, 'That's Penny Lang.'" Roma Baran, co-producer of "Stone & Sand & Sea & Sky."

Penny Lang isn't ever gonna be 100% cool, but she is one of the few singers today that evokes thundering accolades that go far beyond the customary comments made about artists.

As fellow Montreal singer/songwriter Jesse Winchester once remarked, "I first heard Penny sing at the Montreal Folk Workshop..I heard passion, I heard vulnerability, and I heard complete candor about pretty much everything."

Lang's eighth album "Stone & Sand & Sea & Sky" on Borealis Records caps a remarkable four decade career during which this delightful 63-year-old singer/guitarist has evolved from being a coffeehouse draw in her Montreal hometown to being one of Canada's leading roots-based artists.

Through her career, the fiercely unconventional Lang has played for the fishermen in Newfoundland; the farmers in Alberta; and played to audiences in coffeehouses and festivals throughout North America. She has also toured Australia, Italy, Denmark, France and the United Kingdom.

Lang is also the subject of a 1999 documentary "Stand Up: On High Ground with Penny Lang" by Jocelyne Clarke. In 2003, she received the first Prix Folqui awarded by FOLQUEBEC.

Assessing her career, Lang says, "I'm not a big star. But I love what I do. Often, I am referred to as a folk or blues person. Or as a Pete Seeger type singer. People may have a particular idea of what I do but it is not necessarily what they will hear when I perform. I do material from all types of music."

This 13-track album--Lang's second recording for Toronto-based Borealis--follows the 2001 retrospective "Gather Honey" that pooled live recordings, demos and radio shows from 1963 to 1978. This is Lang's first studio release in seven years.

Lang's first six albums were recorded for the Montreal-based She-Wolf label, a boutique label Lang operates with her tenacious manager Heidi Fleming. This catalog includes: "Yes" (1991), "Live at the Yellow Door" (1992), "Ain't Life Sweet" (1993), "Carry On Children" (1996), "Penny Lang & Friends Live," (1998) and Somebody Else (1999). In 2000, Lang signed a license agreement with Borealis Records.

Lang's staunchest admirers might blanch at news that her new album was recorded over a two year period. That it was co-produced by two meticulous New York-based perfectionists-producer Roma Baran and engineer Vivian Stoll who favored a more polished and warmer sound than Lang's previous recordings.

They would until they listened to the album which includes backing by her son Jason Lang, as well as by Kate McGarrigle, Ken Pearson, Michael Jerome Browne, Dave Clarke, Gaston Bernard, Rachelle Garniez and others.

There are no tracks here less than beautifully-crafted. Each track seems put together with hands knowing just when and where to leave things out. There's both craft, and insight in the songs picked and the production and repertoire are tailored to the contours of Lang's distinctive full voice, now fused with an intimacy rarely heard in her recorded work.

Brimming with unbridled enthusiasm, Lang acknowledges the album is significant step for her.
"Every aspect of this record was done differently than what I've done before," she says. "This is the first time I've had time to prepare and give serious thought to what was going on. All of the other times recording had to be done within ten days or so with little rehearsal time because of budgets."

"Stone & Sand & Sea & Sky" contains an exquisite Lang original ("Diamonds on the Water") as well as her interpretations of songs by Canadians Rose Vaughan ("Stone & Sand & Sea & Sky"), Linda Morrison ("Room To Move"), and Ken Pearson ("It's Not Easy") as well as songs penned by Bob Dylan ("One Too Many"), Rosalie Sorrels (My Last Go Round"), Bruce "Utah" Phillips ("If I Could Be The Rain"), The Greenbriar Boys ("High Muddy Waters"), and Les Barker ("Sudden Waves").

There are also superb renderings of the traditional "Careless Love" and the gospel standard "Let Me Fly."

Until Baran, notes Lang, she hadn't had a producer who had an overall vision for her recordings or who could give her firm direction in the studio.

"Roma had a vision for this CD," says Lang. "She had worked with me as a musician in the Sixties, and knew what I wanted to try to become." After leaving Montreal Baran had moved to New York where she produced most of Laurie Anderson's


Sudden Waves

Written By: Leslie Barker

Sudden Waves

Waves, there are waves, sudden waves break over me,
There are waves, sudden waves, over me.
There are days when the way that I want is not to be
And I am lost.

There are days, broken days, when the gales we sail have blown,
Breaking waves, sudden waves, over me,
And the sea carries me on a course that’s not my own
And I’m alone.

There are storms, sudden storms, when the form of life is lost;
There are waves, sudden waves, over me.
And it’s chance, not design, makes the line my life has crossed
And I may drown.

There are bays, peaceful bays, in the harbour of your hand,
Where the waves, sudden waves cannot reach;
There are days when the ways of your words can make dry land
And I can stay.

Lyrics: Leslie Barker
Tune from Scotland-Shetland Islands-Composer/Author by Ronald Jameison PD
Vocals Penny Lang
Vibraphone Vivian Stoll
Lap steel Roma Baran
Accordion Rachelle Garniez

Careless Love (Trad)

Written By: Traditional

Careless Love (Trad)

Love, O Love, O careless love!
Love, Love, careless love!
Love, O Love, careless love!
Just see what love has done to me!

It’s once I wore my apron low
It’s once I wore my apron low
Once I wore my apron low
I could hardly keep you from my door

Now my apron strings don’t pin
Now my apron strings don’t pin
Now my apron strings don’t pin
You pass my door, but you don’t come in

I love my mom and poppa too,
I love my mom and poppa too,
I love my mom and poppa too,
But I’d leave them both to go with you

And what, oh what would mama say;
What, what would mama say;
What, oh what would mama say;
When she learns I’ve gone astray

She’ll tear her hair and bite her tongue,
She’ll tear her hair and bite her tongue,
She’ll tear her hair she’ll bite her tongue,
She did just the same when she was young.

Love, O Love, careless love!
Love, O Love, careless love!
Love, O Love, O careless love!
Just see what love has done to me!

Vocals, Acoustic Guitar Penny Lang
Drums Vivian Stoll
Bass Rick Van Benschoten
Electric Guitar, Weissenborn, Accordion Roma Baran
Acoustic Guitar Bill Garrett
Background Vocals Jason Lang, Sue Lothrop, Linda Morrison

Room to Move

Written By: Linda Morrison

Room to Move

Once we had no star to wish upon
Nor dreams to hope of coming true
Now we have no walls to bind us
And there’s room to move

It’s been a while since we grew older
And a while since we’ve been through
Let’s drink a cup for the love that flew away
And a love that’s new.

Let’s not think of love that lost us
So many times before
Let’s not think of what those kisses cost us
Now we have so many more.

I’ll come to you
As many times
As our arms can entwine
It’s only love that gives a taste for more
Like the oldest wine.

Let’s not think of love that lost us
So many times before
Let’s not think of what those kisses cost us
Now we have so many more.

There’ll be times to watch the setting sun
But now the day is new
And we’ve got blue skies
All around out heads
And there’s room to move.

Lyrics Linda Morrison
Vocals Penny Lang
Vibraphone Vivian Stoll
Acoustic Guitar Dave Clarke


Stone and Sea and Sand and Sky Borealis Records/ TO BE RELSEASED IN MAY 2006. Poduced by Roma Baran with the participation of Kate Mcgarrigle, Vivian Stoll and Michael Jerome Brown

Gather Honey Borealis Records/Festival Nov. 2001 retrospective album 1963-1978 ;liner notes by folk historian Gary Cristall; JUNO nomination; many originals by Penny’s contemporaries of the day

Somebody Else She-Wolf/Festival Distribution, Oct. 99 Produced by David Baxter, with Jason Lang, Michelle Josef, Bazil Donovan, David Baxter, Lori Yates, Linda Feijo mostly Penny Lang originals, some co-writes, and a Bob Snider song

Penny & Friends Live She Wolf/Festival Distribution, Nov. 98. Producers: Heidi Fleming, Simon Pressey and Penny Lang. With: Jason Lang, Michael Browne, Bill Gossage, Bob Stagg, Ken & Chris Whiteley, Jody Golick, Martin Boodman, Linda Morrison, Kim Richardson; mainly traditional songs

Carry On Children She-Wolf Records/Festival Distribution, May 96. Producer: Ken Whiteley. With special guests: Moxy Früvous, Colin Linden, Quartette, Ken & Chris Whiteley, Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer, Garnet Rogers, & others. Half of the songs self-penned…half original Canadian

Ain’t Life Sweet aut. 1993, She-Wolf Records/Festival Distribution. Prod. by
With Jason & Scot Lang, Ray Bonneville, Rick Haworth, Danielle Martineau, Michel Donato, Linda Morrison, & many more. All Penny Lang originals save 1.

Penny Lang Live at the Yellow Door 1992/97 She-Wolf Records/Festival Distribution.
Solo, live at the Yellow Door’s 25th anniversary. Prod. Simon Pressey, Heidi Fleming ‘60’s era classics, new and old

Yes 1991/97 She-Wolf Records/Festival Distribution.
With Jason Lang, Scot Lang, Ken Pearson, Linda Morrison, Pat Donaldson, Michel Donato, Miche Pouliot, Jody Golick, Prod. Scot Lang/Jody Golick; Penny’s first originals and songs by close friends

Set List

For 2 st Performance (2 hours on stage)

1. Ain’t Life Sweet -by Penny Lang
2. Spanish Moss -by Penny Lang
3. Plumb Tuckered Out -by Penny Lang
4. Carry On Children -by Penny Lang
5. Goodness Daughter -by Penny Lang
6. Somebody Else -by Penny Lang
7. Hidin’ and Denyin’ -by Penny Lang
8. On Again Off Again -by Penny Lang
9. Everybody Gone Blind -by Penny Lang
10. Sometimes -by Penny Lang
11. Too Many Nights -by Penny Lang
12. Diamonds on the Water -by Penny Lang
13. When the Wind Blows -by Bob Snyder
14. Stone and Sea and Sand and Sky -by Rose Vaughn
15. Easy Rider – Traditional
16. High Muddy Water - by Frank Wakefield
17. On My Last Go round -by Rosalie Sorrels
18. You Fool -by Margo Does
19. If I could be the Wind -by Utah Phillips
20. Let me Fly -Traditional
21. Outside of a Small Circle of Friends -by Phil Ochs
22. One Too Many Mornings -by Bob Dylan
23. Livin’ with the Blues -by Brownie McGee
24. Trouble in Mind - Traditional