Cabaret Hotspot Legacy Review

June 8, 2022: Carol Lipnik: “Blue Forest” @ Joe’s Pub

by | Apr 29, 2022 | CD's/HotTrax, Spotlight Picks: National, Spotlight Picks: New York




“One of New York’s most inventive singers and performance artists”
 The Village Voice

CAROL LIPNIK — the spellbinding, wistfully-humorous singer and songwriter called an “ethereal vocal phenomenon” by The New York Times — will celebrate her second new major recording of the season, the new EP Blue Forest, with a special return to Joe’s Pub (425 Lafayette Street, NYC) on Wednesday, June 8 at 7:00 PM. Tickets are $20. She will be joined by music director Michael Visceglia (Suzanne Vega, John Cale, Bette Midler, Kinky Boots) on bass, Matt Beck (Matchbox Twenty) on guitars, lap steel guitar, and ukulele, and Mark Bonder on piano.

Wielding her trademark tragicomic voice, Lipnik blends folk music, operatic flourish and art song with the classic nightclub tradition. At Joe’s Pub, Carol will also perform selections from her other newly-released album Goddess of Imperfection, which feature collaborations with Obie Award-winning playwright/performance artist David Cale and Mexican composer Tareke Ortiz.

Blue Forest, which will be released in streaming and digital platforms on May 20 through Carol’s own Mermaid Alley label, is a wide-ranging song cycle that serves as an immersive dreamscape of feeling and emotion. The EP’s original songs combine Lipnik’s uncanny ability to channel the magic of the natural world to pierce through today’s chaos and anxiety to invoke a more hopeful future. The album is produced by Kyle Sanna (Yo Yo Ma’s Silkroad Ensemble, Seamus Egan Project, Kinan Azmeh’s CityBand) who plays guitars, ukulele, and synths; Matt Kanelos on piano, harmonies, synths and Wurlitzer; and Mathias Künzli (Regina Spector, Yo Yo Ma’s Silkroad Ensemble) on percussion. The songs were developed by Carol during an artist residency at Yaddo while living in a stone tower from 1893. The recording’s cover art features an image of Carol by renowned photographer Dona Ann McAdams.

The bewitching title song “Blue Forest,” which opens the album, is a prelude setting up the themes: the cognitive dissonance of finding revelations in sad yet magical spaces. It segues into the swirling “All the Colors of the Sky,” which invokes the dichotomy of being in a beautiful place, yet knowing the world is falling apart. The song starts off delicately but builds into a chant that rises to a howling crescendo, at once beautiful and terrible.

“Birds of a Feather” is an anthemic, childlike hymn about the bonding of like-minded spirits, whose connection will hold for eternity, beyond their earthly lives. “I Don’t Work Hard” paints a wry portrait of a character procrastinating through life. The song evokes a dream-time, tragic-comic, happy-sad operetta feel of living effortlessly but expecting big results.

“Thrice Toss These Oaken Ashes – written in 1617 by the poet Thomas Campion, the collection’s only song not written by Carol – is ripe with witchy Elizabethan charm. “Tick Bite,” though set to the sweet strings of a ukulele, is about the duality of human nature, how we simultaneously have the power to harm and heal ourselves.

The EP closes with “A Pure Dose of Mercy,” a self-effacing and passionate ballad about opposites together, giving power to someone else in a relationship, and preferring to live in a fantasy rather than face reality.

CAROL LIPNIK is acclaimed for her hauntingly beautiful multi-octave voice and enchanting performances of her own tenderly wry and wrenchingly honest songs. She has built a dedicated following through her popular weekly performance residency at the East Village boîte Pangea, in addition to performances at The Rose Theater at Lincoln Center, The David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center, The Abrons Arts Center, the Hudson Opera House, the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, The Ancram Opera House, and The Spiegeltent at Bard. She is the winner of the BroadwayWorld Award for “Best Alternative Cabaret Show.”

She has released seven albums on her Mermaid Alley Music label. Her 2016 title, Almost Back to Normal, was funded by a grant from the Peter S. Reed Foundation. She has collaborated with and composed music for performance artist John Kelly’s The Escape Artist and these songs are included on his debut CD recording Beauty Kills Me. She composed the score Mythologies (with Scott Killian and Jacob Lawson) for the Cherylyn Lavagnino Dance Co. Carol is a three-time artist-in-residence at the Yaddo Art Colony in Saratoga Springs, NY.

“Lipnik is surprisingly strong in her ethereality,” says Time Out New York, “maintaining an eerie self-possession as she shares enigmatically spooky folk-art songs in an octave-spanning wail.”  New York Music Daily proclaimed “Carol Lipnik might not just be the best singer in New York, she might be the best singer anywhere.”

“Earth-mother nightingale Carol Lipnik is a mesmerizing find,” says James Gavin, the journalist who penned biographies of Peggy Lee, Lena Horne and Chet Baker. “She writes fantastical tunes, full of mythic imagery, that carry the listener to worlds unknown.” According to a notice from BroadwayWorld, “Lipnik’s songs have a quality akin to chants, mantras, and prayers. Her voice is clear, full, reverent, beautiful. The imagery she uses is of the natural world: oysters, sand, trees, honey, weeds, and antlers. Her truth is emblematic, universal.”

“Carol Lipnik’s music does more than evoke a shadow-world of mysterious, often misunderstood creatures, from sideshow freaks and B-movie monsters to love’s obsessive victims,” says musician and Village Voice music writer Franklin Bruno. “It creates that world, bringing it into audible being through her stunningly versatile four-octave voice and expressive, impeccably crafted songs, drawing audiences in with an intimacy and intensity that is both theatrical and deeply musical.”

In addition to critical plaudits, she has been praised by her fellow downtown performers as well. Justin Vivian Bond said “If you are in NYC and you only do one thing culturally, go and see Carol Lipnik.” Penny Arcade raved “Carol’s new songs, which are truly art songs, set in the jewel-like quality of her voice reach such levels of glorious individuality that we were all gobsmacked.”


1) Blue Forest (Carol Lipnik) – 2:20

2) All the Colors of the Sky (Carol Lipnik) – 4:05

3) Birds of a Feather (Carol Lipnik) – 3:38

4) I Don’t Work Hard (Carol Lipnik) – 2:17

5) Thrice Toss These Oaken Ashes (Thomas Campion) – 3:54

6) Tick Bite (Carol Lipnik) – 2:58

7) A Pure Dose of Mercy (Carol Lipnik) – 4:10


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Facebook Feed

2 months ago

Cabaret Hotspot
Amanda Reckonwith was back at Pangea last night ro entertain and regale with songs, stores, and musings. ... See MoreSee Less
View on Facebook

2 months ago

Cabaret Hotspot
View on Facebook

Cabaret Hotspot Archives