An enigmatic singer/songwriter whose work veered from the bitterly comic to the profoundly spiritual, Richard Shindell gained attention with the Fast Folk Musical Magazine series (which previously launched then-unknowns like Lyle Lovett and Nanci Griffith, as well). A native of Lakehurst, New Jersey, Shindell was a former seminary student whose first musical exposure came while playing guitar in the Razzy Dazzy Spasm Band alongside the young John Gorka; he began composing songs during the late 1980s, and quickly earning a word-of-mouth cult following. After a featured appearance on Christine Lavin's 1991 compilation When October Goes, he recorded his Shanachie label debut, Sparrow's Point, a year later; Blue Divide followed in 1994, and in 1997, Shindell resurfaced with Reunion Hill. He next teamed with Dar Williams and Lucy Kaplansky in the group Cry, Cry, Cry, issuing a self-titled LP in 1998; the solo Somewhere Near Paterson followed in early 2000. The rest of the decade treated Shindell well, with Sparrow's Point and South of Delia ranking among his finest work. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi