Remembering Lisa Atkinson by Greg
Lisa was a favorite performer on Albany’s folk music scene back in the ’80s. While based in the Capital Region, she recorded the single “She’s Got Secrets,” as well as the full-length album “Pack Me in Your Suitcase.”
She was also an award-winning children’s music performer, who recorded three albums for Albany’s children’s music label – “I Wanna Tickle the Fish,” “The One and Only Me” and “The Elephant in Aisle Four.”
“A Celebration of Life” will be held in her honor from 2-5pm on Saturday, August 29 – which would have been Lisa’s 52nd birthday – at the at 97 Broadway in Kingston.
Born on August 29, 1957, in Kingston, the multi-talented Atkinson was not only a musician and entertainer, but also a talented poet, photographer and fabric artist. She wrote her first song at the age of thirteen and began her performing career at Pearl’s Place in Hurley.
In 1987, she relocated to California and became a significant influence on the children’s music and folk music scene in the Bay Area, earning the nickname “Mother of South Bay Folks” for planting and watering the initial seeds of SBF.
Her “grown-up” CDs – “Simple as That,” which she produced with her husband George, and her last CD, “Connie’s Songbird” – earned rave reviews.
Her radio program, “Don’t Panic, It’s Just Us Folks” aired for 11 years on the listener-supported radio station KKUP-FM in Cupertino, California, featuring both local and national singer-songwriters, peace activists and political commentators.
Her band, the , shared the stage with such music legends as Pete Seeger, John Stewart, Leon Rosselson, Tom Rush, Alex DeGrassi and many others.
In addition to her children’s recordings, Lisa was also the voice of Tony Pickleberry on National Public Radio’s “Pickleberry Pie,” a radio show for children.
Atkinson leaves behind her daughters Sarah Emily and Lara Kincheloe, her sons Dylan and Bram Kincheloe, her husband George Kincheloe, her mother Daryl Serniak and many friends, fans and family.
Peter Beagle, our dear friend of many years, sent me this shortly after Lisa left us all. We’ve received countless beautifully expressed notes in that time, but I wanted to share this one with everyone. Thanks to all of you who care so much…………George Kincheloe
Her heart was made of holidays.
her smile was made of dawn,
her laughter was an April song
that echoes on and on…
“I Still See Elisa”
by Alan Jay Lerner
She really did sing like an angel.
I’ve always thought that an irritatingly meaningless phrase. Even if one should believe in such beings as angels, and in a heaven aswarm with the things, how can one possibly envision what they might sound like, let alone what they might possibly sing? As well fantasize about the songs of the Sirens; at least Ulysses actually heard them, and lived to tell the tale (though he never did.) But angels, offering up their ineffable music with all their unimaginable hearts to an inconceivable God? How could anyone sing like an angel who wasn’t one?
Which may, after all, explain Lisa Atkinson, who died on May 9th at the age of 51. She wasn’t merely the best singer I’ve ever known; she was like no one else I’ve ever known. More than the wit of her lyrics, more than her gift for gorgeous melody, her warmth and humor and tenderness informed every song she wrote, and made her performances of them with her husband George Kincheloe and Marty Atkinson utterly inimitable. Other musicians will be covering those songs forever, if that word means anything at all; but I’ll never be able to sing “The Night The Moon Fell From The Sky,” “Whisperville Mountain,” “You Don’t Know What To Do,” “Thank You For The Everything” – which always brought me close to tears, even though it’s a truly joyous song - the deliciously romping “My Signal’s Down,” or the heartbreaking “Another Long Day” without hearing Lisa’s soprano soaring over George and Marty’s elegantly driving guitars. Angels would have to audition.
But I would miss that small woman terribly if she had never written or sung a word. The songs were always there in the way she spoke and laughed and carried herself, and you could hear and feel them in her simple presence. I still can’t take it in that she’s not here anymore; and – even without the comfort of anybody’s afterlife or notion of rebirth – I don’t intend to. As John O’Hara wrote in 1937, “George Gershwin died yesterday, but I don’t have to believe it if I don’t want to.” I’m that way about Lisa Atkinson – and so, I think, is everyone who ever knew her.
See you later, kid.