May’s Song Review: “Manhattan Moon” by Lucy Kaplansky

May’s synopsis: If you’re not open to folk music, please move along. This a good, solid song. The imagery is strong. And it’s not very long.

May’s rating scale:







Last Thursday I went to Joe’s Pub for a concert. Three folk singers performed to celebrate the 25th anniversary of their independent record label, Red House Records. They took turns singing from their respective repertoires, and more often than not the others joined in with a guitar lick or harmony. Joe’s Pub is a great venue. It’s really intimate, and these particular performers were extremely personable. They have known each other at least twenty years and their cameraderie really added to the show.

Here are photos of the show.

The first performer, Eliza Gilkyson, had a song with a whistling lick, and at the end she threw whistles at the audience for us to repeat. Our first time she told us we sucked (we laughed), so she whistled at us again, and we were much better, and by the last whistle, everyone was all together and in tune. That was fun.

The second performer was Cliff Eberhardt. He was more bluesy and could really jam on his guitar. The soundroom had the most technical difficulty with his pickups and monitors, but he didn’t appear awkward or frustrated about the equipment. He still sang and played and sounded amazing. A few of his songs you could really clap your hands to.

The third performer was Lucy Kaplansky. I’ve really taken to her music. Her live voice is completely mesmerizing (the studio doesn’t do it justice), and I appreciate how her songs are singalong. Her songwriting is impressive, and she has great autoharmony (and it probably helped that she knew her friends’ songs). She adopted a daughter from China about five years ago, Molly. She’s now five years old. Lucy wrote “Manhattan Moon” for her.

Listen to -Manhattan Moon-

You say you want to see the moon
Outside of our living room
Over the Manhattan sky
Like we saw last night

You don’t understand where she’s gone
When the morning comes
And I promise you she’ll be back tonight
We’ll find her and we’ll say goodnight

So you look for her in the books we read
In a shadow’s curve you show her to me
Then the sun goes down and she’s there again
Brighter now, your brand new friend

And for me the skyline’s changed
Same old buildings rearranged
The sky’s a richer shade of blue
And the moon’s my new friend too

I used to travel in a straight line
Now I’m walking on a road that winds
You take my hand we take our time
Oh, we take our time

The moon shines on half of the sky
And on the half you left behind
When it’s nighttime here it’s morning there
But the moon’s the same everywhere

While I’m singing you a lullaby
Someone’s waking up on the other side
The moon’s shining on her too
She’ll see it and she’ll think of you

You hear music in everything
The rain’s a drum, the traffic sings
I listen too and I dance along
We keep on dancing when the music’s gone


Nothing frilly. The song follows a basic structure and progression. At the concert, I definitely caught on to the chorus and sang along. I like this song, just because the profoundness is in being able to feel how her having a child changed her view of the world. And I get a true sense of how much she loves her daughter. Reminds me of a couple of moms I know.

One thought on “May’s Song Review: “Manhattan Moon” by Lucy Kaplansky

  1. Oh, sure. NOW she tells me she loves Lucy. (Waaaaaaaaaaaaa Ricky why can’t I go to the club?)

    We’ve only been following her since you were, like, 12. Shawn Colvin performed a couple of her songs on some early albums, and we’ve acquired most of the back catalog over the years. And you got to meet her first.


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