Jen Chapin | Five Songs

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Five Songs

by Jen Chapin

These are songs of ambition (and the lack thereof), privilege (ditto), anger, affection, gratitude, exhaustion, and humility. In short, of family.
Genre: Folk: Folk-Jazz
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
clip
1. Paris
3:47 $0.99
clip
2. Spare Love
4:56 $0.99
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3. Don't Talk
4:28 $0.99
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4. Reckoning
3:19 $0.99
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5. Go Away
6:22 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Rearing young children is like romantic heartbreak. Both are overwhelming and exhausting, yet are ultimately fleeting. Both yield to great humility and new self-awareness. Both are near universal experiences (well, at least in my brownstone Brooklyn neighborhood..) Yet it is only heartbreak that serves as inspiration for the majority of pop songs.

My EP Five Songs, and the full album that will emerge from it eventually, are my attempt to document this time and place of raising two young boys -- “when seconds are slow and years are fast” -- while emerging from seeing myself only in the eyes of my children to reclaiming, sometimes unwillingly, my identity as an artist. These are songs of ambition (and the lack thereof), privilege (ditto), anger, affection, gratitude, exhaustion, and humility. In short, of family.

In close partnership with my husband/bassist/co-producer/hands-on papa Stephan Crump, the music was recorded live at our home studio over two days in November 2010. Vocal, percussion, and keyboard overdubs were added later. The musicians are guitarist Jamie Fox, who rounds out the Jen Chapin Trio on our minivan tours, Liberty Ellman, who joins Jamie and Stephan on guitar in Stephan’s acclaimed ensemble Rosetta Trio, and drummer Dan Rieser. Working to make our space and technical limitations into liberations, Dan did not play a traditional drum kit but rather an assortment of percussion instruments, a cardboard box, tinker toy carton and rum bottle assembled around him on the floor where he sat. Stephan departed from his usual custom and played electric bass, while I sang in the next room.


Jen Chapin’s music is urban folk — story songs that search for community and shared meaning, powered by the funk, soul and improvisation of the city. Critics have hailed her work as “brilliant.. soulfully poetic” (NPR), “thoughtful.. worth-savoring” (People), “addictive” (Boston Globe), “smart, observant, lyrically deft, politically aware and emotionally intuitive” (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel). JazzTimes has called her “a first-rate storyteller” while Relix regards her as “one of the freshest voices singing today." She has been featured on “Late Nite with Conan O’Brien,” honored by the USA Songwriting Competition, appeared on stage with Bruce Springsteen, and opened up for Bruce Hornsby and the Neville Brothers. Her performances are powerful, spotlighting the world-class musicianship and rare chemistry of Grammy-nominated acoustic bassist/husband Stephan Crump and “unflappable melodist” (New York Times) guitarist Jamie Fox. As an activist, educator and mother, Jen also brings the knowledge and insight of varied experience (student/traveler in Mexico and Zimbabwe, BA in International Relations, longtime Member, former Chair and present Secretary of the Board of WhyHunger – (http://www.whyhunger.org) to her workshops and presentations to college, church and community groups.

Jen Chapin Discography:
ReVisions: Songs of Stevie Wonder (2009) “sophisticated ..little short of miraculous” - The Sunday Times
Light of Mine (2008) “crossing multiple musical boundaries ..mesmerizing” -- Time Out London
Ready (2006) “supremely confident, slightly off-center, and instantly compelling." -- River City Reader
Linger (2004) “uncommon wit and sweetly supple singing” - Entertainment Weekly
Open Wide (2002) “cool ..spare funkiness” - Washington Post

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Reviews


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Albert Hanner

Absolutely Beautiful.
I’ve listened to Jen Chapin’s newest album Five Songs at least twenty times, it’s dripping with creativity, and I’ve enjoyed it tremendously. I love the way she has arranged the songs to tell the story of an artist’s creative process, struggling with the balance of family life and the time one needs to be creative. Chapin begins with Paris, and Spare Love, where the focus of the songs are on her love for her children and parenthood, then she eases into Don't Talk where she tells the story of a couple struggling to find time in their busy lives for each other, to be heard, and ultimately their desire to slip away together. The third song, Reckoning, is more introspective, and she delves into the realization that everything else in life has slowly become the priority, and her (or the protagonist of the song) needs and dreams have been pushed aside. Then finally, my favorite, Go Away. Creative people need to create constantly to remain happy and balanced, and this song is about a culmination of mounting pressure and a lack of time to create, and the artist saying enough is enough. This is just a wonderful song that everyone can relate to in some way or another. I’ve enjoyed Jen Chapin’s last few albums where she has covered other artist’s music; I can’t listen to David Bowie’s Starman or Van Morrison’s Into the Mystic without thinking of Chapin’s amazing interpretations of those songs, but nothing compares to the songs she has wrote. Her music is unique, honest, and absolutely beautiful.
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