Penny Lang isn’t ever gonna be 100 percent cool, but she is one of the few singers today who evoke thundering accolades that go far beyond the customary comments made about artists.
As fellow Montreal singer/ songwriter Jesse Winchester once remarked, “I first heard Penny sing at the Montreal Folk Workshop. I heard passion, I heard vulnerability, and I heard complete candour about pretty much everything.”
Lang’s eighth album Stone & Sand & Sea & Sky on Borealis Records caps a remarkable four- decade career. In that time this delightful 63-year-old singer/guitarist has evolved from being a coffeehouse draw in her Montreal hometown to being one of Canada’s leading roots-based artists and a major name at folk festivals.
And an out lesbian.
“Penny really is remarkable,” says Roma Baran, co-producer of Stone & Sand & Sea & Sky. “Absolutely distinctive. Listen to that voice for two seconds and you think, ‘That’s Penny Lang.'”
Through her career, the fiercely unconventional Lang has played for fishermen in Newfoundland and farmers in Alberta. And to audiences in coffeehouses and festivals throughout North America. She has also toured Australia, Italy, Denmark, France and Great Britain.
Assessing her career, Lang says, “I’m not a big star. But I love what I do. Often, I am referred to as a folk or blues person. Or as a Pete Seeger-type singer. People may have a particular idea of what I do but it is not necessarily what they will hear when I perform. I do material from all types of music.”