Singer/songwriter/guitarist Abby Linhart was a familiar face and voice on the Northeast Ohio acoustic music scene in the ’70s and early ’80s. A steady presence on the coffeehouse circuit, she hosted a Sunday-night folk showcase at the old Red Horse Hollow Tavern in the ’70s.
During that time, she also studied briefly with Liam Clancy of the Clancy Brothers (whom she met at a club in the Flats), learning more about the traditional British Isles folk music that strongly inflects her classic melodies and quivering, emotionally direct singing.
She ran the music portion of the Coventry Street Fairs from 1981-1983, a time when she was also involved in a production company that staged area concerts by traditional folk artists. She moved on in the late ’80s and eventually settled in New Mexico where she now lives and performs at events like the Albuquerque Folk Festival.
Interestingly, while her better-known big brother Buzzy’s recording career ended in the mid-’70s, Abby’s is beginning late in life. She’s just released her first-ever CD, Requiem for Eli, Vol. 1. It’s full of spare, acoustic songs heavy on themes of freedom — both standard folk repertoire like “I Am a Poor Wayfaring Stranger” and “Freedom Is a Constant Struggle” and original singer-songwriter tunes like “Keeper of the Keys,” “Yesterday Today Tomorrow” and “Song for Indigo,” which are heavily influenced by traditional folk, updated to the ’60s.
Linhart is in town this weekend to promote her new release. She’ll be performing at 8 p.m. Saturday on the lower level of the Detroit-Superior Bridge as part of the Bridge Project. At 8 p.m. Sunday, she’ll host a CD release party at Wilbert’s. —Anastasia Pantsios