- - Monday, March 30, 2015

You would think Grammy Award-winning folk musician Cathy Fink would coast on the kudos she is collecting as executive producer of “On Redemption Road,” the just-released album by folk hero Tom Paxton. But Ms. Fink and her musical collaborator and spouse, Marcy Marxer, are also touring behind their just-released 44th album, “Dancin’ in the Kitchen,” spreading the word about the joy of all family configurations.

Ms. Fink and Ms. Marxer partnered with the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Children Youth and Families Program to increase awareness about their music and to celebrate family diversity. The new album — a portion of the sales of which benefit the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Welcoming Schools program — celebrates one- and two-parent households, grandparents raising children, same-sex parents, extended families, adoptive families and even pets.

“This project has been in the works for a long time,” said Ms. Fink. “While we have produced many themed recordings for families, this one is very special and particularly timely. We see the increasing diversity of families in our audience and our culture, and knew it was time to create music in which these families could see — and celebrate — themselves.”

Ms. Fink and Ms. Marxer are known for their mix of traditional and contemporary folk, old-time country and swing music. Both members of the duo are musical virtuosos who mix banjo, mandolin, ukulele, guitar and other instruments with their rhapsodic harmonies.

Cathy and Marcy are at home in a dozen musical styles,” said Mr. Paxton. “They swing you, jazz you, and old-timey you till you just give up and bliss out.”



That is why the duo was tapped to collaborate with artists including Pete Seeger and Patsy Montana, which led to over 60 recordings by and with other artists.

Despite the acclaim, the duo is perhaps best known for its family-friendly music, including the annual Uke and Guitar Fest each August at the Music Center at Strathmore in North Bethesda, Maryland. This album is an even more definitive way to unite families of all configurations.

“We loved ‘Free To Be a Family’ by Marlo Thomas, who defined the word family as ‘a feeling of belonging,’ ” Ms. Marxer said. “This message resonates with us as artists and the families we’ve been playing music for over several generations. But our music is new or puts a new twist on classic older songs. It’s hip, it’s participatory, and we have found that there are many topics that are easier to talk about with music.

“We have a fabulous kids chorus that encourages kids to sing along. We were also very intentional in performing a wide variety of musical styles from R&B to Cajun to Western swing and folk. This album takes the ‘Free to Be’ message and brings it up to date in a fresh, new way,” Ms. Marxer said.

The album also has plenty of tradition, including the rootsy title track that centers on the kitchen as the traditional gathering place of friends and family.

“My children grew up with Cathy and Marcy’s music, so I’m especially delighted that we will be working with them to make their songs a powerful part of our expanding Welcoming Schools efforts,” said Ellen Kahn, director of the HRC Foundation’s Children, Youth & Families program. “This landmark album will resonate with a whole new generation of families, including and especially LGBT families.”

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