Singer-Songwriter Christine Lavin Completes Unique Project 34 Years After Beginning

With 80 songs, 480 digital pages, and fantastic packaging, THE SEASONS PROJECT is released.

By: Dec. 12, 2023
Singer-Songwriter Christine Lavin Completes Unique Project 34 Years After Beginning
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Back in 1989, Christine Lavin made a 21-artist cassette, using $300 she received from ASCAP in the form of a songwriting grant. The first night she brought it to a gig was opening for her favorite thinking person's rock'n'roll band, "Buskin & Batteau," at Sanders Theater on the campus of Harvard University.  "I sang my one song that was on it -- 'The Kind Of Love You Never Recover From,' which at the time was brand new, then held up the cassette and said, 'If you like that song, you'll hear 20 other songwriters I think you'll dig."

"That first night I sold more than $300 worth of those cassettes ($10 each). Little did I know it would take 34 years to finally complete the project."

Singer-Songwriter Christine Lavin Completes Unique Project 34 Years After Beginning

That first cassette was called, ON A WINTER'S NIGHT, a song on it written by Willie Nininger, and all the songs fit the theme of winter/night love songs. In 1995 she made a similar compilation -- but for autumn -- naming it, WHEN OCTOBER GOES, after the brilliant Johnny Mercer/Barry Manilow tune sung by Megon McDonough on the collection.  Both albums inspired multi-artist tours that criss-crossed the country many times [artists who participated include Cliff Eberhardt, Patty Larkin, David Wilcox, Cheryl Wheeler, John Gorka, and Lucy Kaplansky]. 

In 2004 Rounder Records created a "15th Anniversary edition of ON A WINTER'S NIGHT and added a few new songs, including "Another Time And Place" by the late Dave Van Ronk, and "Secret Gardens" by Judy Collins. In 2022 Lucy Kaplansky's song "Old Friends" was added. In 2023 Chris & Meredith Thompson's song, "Lines Of Longitude" was added to WHEN OCTOBER GOES. 

"I always planned to create a Spring and Summer compilation, so I began work on those during the pandemic. Finally by the summer of 2023 I had completed the massive amount of paperwork a project like this commands. There were now 80 songs, a nice round number, all mastered or remastered by Phillip Klum, one of the best mastering engineers in the business, who happens to live in NYC."  

Singer-Songwriter Christine Lavin Completes Unique Project 34 Years After Beginning

Then Christine spoke to some indy labels to see what they thought. Concord Records had bought up Rounder's catalogue and now owned ON A WINTER'S NIGHT and WHEN OCTOBER GOES. They allowed her to license 300 copies of the songs on each album, but they strongly advised her not to make a "4 CD Boxed Set," which was her ultimate goal. They told her CD sales are unreliable and she'd be better off making it a digital project only.

She then spoke to another indy label that said the same thing, only more strongly worded: "Why not just set your money on fire?" But a boxed set was what her heart was set on, so she went about gathering songs, then lyrics, bios, and photos of all the musicians involved. 

One of them, Judy Kass, a wonderful singer/songwriter who lives in Tarrytown, NY, came up with the idea of a wooden box -- and found a Ukrainian artisan on Etsy who made samples and sent them to her in the fall of '22. Without consulting anyone Christine and Judy ordered 100 boxes from Mykhailo Chaban, who now has his own section in the liner notes where he writes about how he is trying to keep his business running as bombing runs come uncomfortably close to his building. 

"Ukraine has the sympathy of the world, but what they need is our business," Christine says, "so in our own small way we are trying to help."

They eventually ordered 200 more boxes. As of today, 200 of those 300 "boxed sets" have been sold for $100 each, which includes the Ukrainian box, the thumb drive, all 80 songs and 480 digital pages of liner notes that include hundreds of live links. 

A handful of songs by Christine have been recorded and performed by the likes of Broadway's Betty Buckley, Sutton Foster, Karen Ziemba, Klea Blackhurst, and Susan Egan -- and she is sure that any theater singers who are looking for unknown -- but terrific -- songs, will find many more here.  

Singer-Songwriter Christine Lavin Completes Unique Project 34 Years After Beginning

"There's only 100 left," she says, and you'll find them at her website,  

They also make a lovely gift.