It's been a busy past couple of years for Richard Shindell. In 2017, he released his 10th full-length solo album, Careless. Then he reunited with former bandmates Dar Williams and Lucy Kaplansky to tour this year as Cry Cry Cry, the much loved folk supergroup who released a single folk-rock covers album in 1998.
Having wrapped up the reunion, Shindell is back touring solo. He performs in the North Bay with a show at HopMonk Tavern in Novato on Nov. 2.
"I'm really happy about both things. I like the record—it was a long time in the making. And then to immediately follow it up with this amazing opportunity to put Cry Cry Cry together, which I thought would never happen, it's just a blessing." says Shindell.
Given that Cry Cry Cry was originally a single album project, the reunion surprised Shindell as much as it did the fans.
"I think there are a lot of different reasons [we reunited]. I can't point to any one causal thing," says Shindell. "Lucy [Kaplansky] and I made a record together back in 2015—the Pine Hill Project. It was a Cry Cry Cry sort of project. There were other people's songs, and the idea was to sing a lot of harmonies. It's a record that Lucy and I had wanted to make for a long time. In fact, prior to the original Cry Cry Cry, Lucy and I had talked about making such a record and we never did. And partially that's because Cry Cry Cry happened."
Shindell notes that the purpose of the 1998 self-titled album was to hold a mirror to the folk community at that juncture.
"There was a deliberate effort made to record songs that we love by people that we knew in our community," Shindell says. "Cliff Eberhardt for example. His 'Memphis' might be my favorite song on the record."
The band also recorded songs by performers they weren't as familiar with. "There's a Robert Earl Keen song," Shindell says. "I don't know Robert Earl Keen, but he's a heck of a songwriter. Dar wanted to sing this R.E.M. song, 'Fall on Me,' so it wasn't like we only wanted to do that one thing. There were songs that came from other areas.
"Ultimately what you want to do when you make a record is just find out what sounds good."