Great Blue is a musical duo using two voices, guitars and mandolin to weave a fabric of eclectic tunes with rich harmonies and meaningful lyrics that touch the heart.
They perform classics from the great folk tradition, as well as their own finely crafted tunes. Remarking on the enthusiasm of their audiences, Shirl noted: "When you wake up after one of our performances, you won’t need a radio. Our tunes will already be with you."
Shirl Lawrence and Steve Kaplan have been singing together in the Hudson River Valley for more than thirty-five years. They are now based in the Rockies of Northern Colorado. Their beautifully crafted music has been heard at coffeehouses and festivals as a duo, and also as members of the Hudson River Sloop Singers and the Walkabout Chorus. Their choice of material offers a fresh variety and a varied tempo. Listeners have been transfixed by a hauntingly beautiful Kate Wolf ballad, then amused by the audacity of Byrne & McCarthy's “Old Cook Pot” or Bryan Bowers’ “Bad Boy”. Many concert-goers have said that they were pleasantly surprised that the songs were so carefully chosen, and the lyrics of each song were so compelling and meaningful. Many audience members have often commented about the beauty of Shirl’s voice.
This duo is now called “Great Blue” after the observant heron they often find during their kayak trips. Their ever-increasing number of original home-spun tunes are complemented by Utah Philips, Pete Seeger, well-known folk anthems and songs echoing Clearwater’s environmental message. They will sing one of the old songs, and then bring out something more current by Ellis. One sailor from the Hudson River Sloop Woody Guthrie who ought to know said Steve’s “We’ll Make It to Coxsackie” truly described how it felt to be in a rockin’ Hudson River storm.
These two kindred spirits have spent many years perfecting their musical performances among other musicians they’ve worked with or opened for. They include Pete Seeger, Kim and Reggie Harris, Joe Crookston, David Amram, Odetta, Guy Davis, Eric Weissberg, Tony Bird, Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon, and Sy Kahn.