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Lucy Kaplansky (born 1960) is an American folk musician based in New York City. Kaplansky also has a PhD in clinical psychology from Yeshiva University.
Lucy was originally from Chicago, and at the age of 18, decided not to go to college, and moved to New York City. She became involved in the city's folk music scene, particulary around Greenwich Village, where she played with, among others, Suzanne Vega, Shawn Colvin and Richard Shindell.
In 1983, she decided to become a psychologist, enrolling in Yeshiva University. She continued playing music while doing her PhD, and began to have some success as part of a duo with Colvin. However, when they began to attract record company interest, Kaplansky declined, choosing instead to set up a private practice and become a staff psychologist at a New York hospital. For several years, she concentrated largely in her work, and played little in the way of concerts. However, she still did some session work, such us singing backing vocals in the studio for Suzanne Vega.
By the early 1990s she found herself increasingly drawn back to music. Colvin, who by this time had experienced some commercial success, offered to produce an album for her. The result, The Tide, a mixture of her own songs and several covers, was released by Red House Records (Greg Brown's label) in 1994. At this time, she decided to give up her psychology practice, and return to music full-time. She released three more albums before her latest, The Red Thread, was released in February 2004.
In 1998 Kaplansky joined with Dar Williams and Richard Shindell to form the folk group Cry Cry Cry, which made an album and toured at length before going their separate ways. Her Ten Year Night album in 1999 won rave reviews and boosted her popularity, leading to performances on CBS-TV. Her album, The Red Thread has a hauntingly beautiful song about her experience of being a New Yorker on 9/11. Ironically, in August 2001, she played a memorable concert outside the World Trade Center.
She is in high demand as a backing vocalist on the records of others, being a semi-regular collaborator with John Gorka and Nanci Griffith.
Her father was the noted mathematician Irving Kaplansky. Lucy sometimes performs songs composed by her father (who was also an accomplished pianist) on mathematics-related themes.