At an early age, Kaplansky left her native Chicago for New York City, drawn to a growing folk scene in the late 1970s. She quickly made a name for herself, becoming well-known as an excellent backup and harmony singer. By the late 1980s her credits included appearances on two fine Nanci Griffith albums, "Lone Star State of Mind" and "Little Love Affairs," and the Suzanne Vega tune "Left of Center," which was recorded with Joe Jackson for the "Pretty in Pink" soundtrack.
She also attracted much attention early on singing with partner Shawn Colvin. However, as Colvin's career began to grow, Kaplansky left music in order to pursue a career as a clinical psychologist. She kept on singing -- her vocal abilities still very much in demand -- even as she continued working as a psychologist.
But the pull of the music business was great, and with Colvin's help she recorded her first solo release, "The Tide," in 1994. Her success continued with subsequent solo records, and eventually she left the field of psychology altogether, returning to music full-time. In 1998 she released "Cry Cry Cry" with Richard Shindell and Dar Williams, a collection of covers by some of that trio's favorite songwriters. She has since formed another folk supergroup, recording and touring with John Gorka and Eliza Gilkyson as Red Horse.
Throughout her long career as a vocalist, Kaplansky has continued to develop her own considerable skills as a songwriter. Her records are down-to-earth collections of originals along with choice covers of songs written by friends and other great songwriters. The recently released "Reunion," her eighth solo album, is no exception and even includes a version of the Lennon/McCartney classic "I'm Looking Through You."
All photos by Joe O'Toole.