Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Country, Pop
From the Stanleys and the Louvins through the Everlys, Whites, and McCourys, familial harmonies form a bluegrass bloodline. This family band from Springfield, Missouri, extends the lineage, emphasizing the vocal blend of b... more »
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From the Stanleys and the Louvins through the Everlys, Whites, and McCourys, familial harmonies form a bluegrass bloodline. This family band from Springfield, Missouri, extends the lineage, emphasizing the vocal blend of brothers John, Jeremy, and Jason Chapman over instrumentation that includes their banjoist father Bill, along with stellar guest support from fiddlers Stuart Duncan and Aubrey Haynes, guitarist Ron Block (of Alison Krauss's Union Station), and Dobroist Rob Ickes. Ballads and bittersweet tales of lost love dominate the Chapmans' first release in four years, with guitarist John's reedy tenor providing the plaintive lead vocal amid soaring harmonies that highlight "The Photograph" and "Sometimes You Just Can't Win." Like so many within the emerging generation of bluegrass artists, the Chapmans sidestep the showoff strain of technical virtuosity as they employ instrumental arrangements that enhance the song rather than overpower it. Yet the instrumental romp through the playful "Pickle Flavored Ice Cream" and the rousing finale of Jimmy Martin's "You'll Be a Lost Ball" show that they can really air it out when the situation warrants. --Don McLeese
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Dispels any doubts about the Chapmans' national prominence
J. Ross | Roseburg, OR USA | 04/20/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Playing Time - 38:59 -- Bill Chapman discovered bluegrass after moving to Colorado in 1976. He went to Woolworth's and put a banjo on layaway. When I wrote about them for Bluegrass Unlimited in 1999, they had already relocated to Missouri, toured Europe, showcased for the IBMA, and won the SPBGMA Best Bluegrass Band Award. They also won the IBMA Emerging Artist Award. Now, about thirty years from that humble beginning in Colorado, Bill Chapman's band has come to represent some of the most polished bluegrass around. Their lustrous sound is built around well-arranged and novel songs that are balanced with impeccable vocals and sizzling instrumental prowess.
"Simple Man" continues the band's association with the Pinecastle Records label, and we've had to wait four years for this latest (their third on that label) from The Chapmans. Opening with Bob Amos' "Fire in the Canyon" is a good stroke to get us into the esoteric nature of this recording which demands our attention to the intellectual messages that range from Mother Nature's fury to being a "Runaway Kind," "Simple Man" or "Lost Ball."
It's a treat to hear them present songs from a variety of excellent songwriters and musicians in their own right in bluegrass circles - the likes of Becky Buller, Art Stevenson, Chris Jones, Kim Fox. The title cut comes from Fox, one of their favorite songwriters, and tells of hard-working and easy-going people who don't make a big deal out of life. Covering Rick Bradstreet's "Cold and Lonely" is a lovely tribute to the now-deceased former Bluegrass Patriots dobroist. I was also pleased to see "Runaway Kind," from Svata Kotas and Jana Dolakova (from the band "Fragment" of the Slovak Republic). A ballad like Beth and April Stevens' "Jeanie and Tommy" is a tearjerker that will surely make you sad. Impressive virtuosity with a little humor are the trademarks of the licks in Jeremy Chapman's own "Pickle Flavored Ice Cream." "The Photograph," a lost-love ballad with a lyrical twist, is nothing short of haunting. Finishing strong with a respect for the traditional canon is their feisty and powerful rendition of Jimmy Martin's "You'll be a Lost Ball."
Besides Bill Chapman on banjo, The Chapmans are his three sons-Jeremy (mandolin), Jason (bass), and John (guitar). Guests include Stuart Duncan, Aubrey Haynie, Andy Leftwich, Rob Ickes, Sonya Isaacs and Darrin Vincent. Back in 1999, Bill Chapman told me that The Chapmans were focused on presenting professional, entertaining music and a wholesome family image. His advice was to "start from scratch and keep scratching," and their hard work has paid off to meet their goal to be taken seriously for their unique, identifiable sound. I would say that they have wonderfully succeeded and have achieved their place in the national bluegrass spotlight. "Simple Man" is the album that will dispel any lingering doubts about their national prominence. (Joe Ross, staff writer, Bluegrass Now)