Christine Lavin emerged out of the crowded New York City songwriter scene of the '80s with a style that distinguished her from her peers. First, her songs were overwhelmingly concerned with contemporary romantic mores (that scary, uncertain world of "relationships," "commitments," and "biological clocks"). Second, while her takes on this subject could sometimes be sentimental or even maudlin, more often they were humorous. "If You Need Space, Go to Utah" was the first track on her second recording, a 1983 EP called Husbands and Wives. (Her first album, 1982's Absolutely Live, was out of print until 2000, when it was reissued on CD.) In 1984, Lavin self-released her first full-length studio album, Future Fossils, which included both her serious and comic numbers, notably "Damaged Goods" (what people start to feel like after enough failed relationships) and "Don't Ever Call Your Sweetheart by His Name" (how difficult it is to remember people's names after enough failed relationships).
In 1986, she signed to Rounder's Philo label, which issued Beau Woes and Other Problems of Modern Life, Another Woman's Man (a 1987 reissue of Husbands and Wives), Good Thing He Can't Read My Mind (1988), Attainable Love (1990), Compass (1991), and Live at the Cactus Cafe: What Was I Thinking? (1993). She moved to Shanachie Records in 1995, releasing Please Don't Make Me Too Happy and Shining My Flashlight on the Moon (1997). Then she set up her own record company, named after her website, christinelavin.com, and released One Wild Night in Concert (1998) and Getting in Touch with My Inner B**ch (2000) herself; that year, Rounder also released the Bellevue Years collection.
In 2002, Lavin moved yet again, releasing I Was in Love with a Difficult Man on Redwing's Blind Pig label. A year later, she signed with Appleseed to issue the holiday effort Runaway Christmas Tree. The concert album Sometimes Mother Really Does Know Best followed just in time for Mother's Day in spring 2004. Lavin has also made a particular point of promoting the work of her contemporaries, notably on such collections as When October Goes, and with 1991's Buy Me Bring Me Take Me: Don't Mess My Hair!!!, she launched the part-time group Four B**chin' Babes. In 2005, Folkzinger, her 17th solo album (and third for Appleseed Records), was released, and in 2006 she compiled and commissioned songs about food for the compilation One Meat Ball, on which Lavin sang the recipe for French toast bread pudding on a track of the same name. Her own studio effort, Happydance of the Xenophobe, followed in 2007, with Cold Pizza for Breakfast arriving in 2009. ~ William Ruhlmann