LIVE in the Air Studio on Nowhere Near
with Dominic and Folk & Beyond's Aer Stephen
Wednesday October 27, 2010, 3:00 PM
Abigail and Lily Chapin are singing, songwriting sisters who have been performing under the name The Chapin Sisters since 2004. They are known for pristine harmonies and haunting melodies that have gained comparisons to sister acts of old and Appalachian family groups, yet their songs and arrangements have a very contemporary aspect, with elements of pop, blues and psychedelic rock. Their first full-length record Lake Bottom LP was a collaboration with their other sister, Jessica Craven, who is now taking a leave of absence to spend time with her new baby. Produced by Thom Monahan (Lily’s, Devendra Bandhart, Vetiver) and Mike Daily (Whiskeytown, Grace Potter), the record was critically acclaimed and was named one of LA Weekly’s Top Ten Records of 2008.
Abigail and Lily were born in Brooklyn New York. They couldn’t help but pick up a thorough grounding in traditional American roots music and folk-rock from their father, 3-time Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter Tom Chapin. He, along with their grandfather Jim Chapin, a jazz drummer, and their uncle, singer-songwriter Harry Chapin, created an environment wherein music held an almost sacred purpose, of bringing people together, whether it be for family, humanitarian purposes, or joyful release.When the family relocated to New York’s Hudson Valley, Lily and Abigail attended a Waldorf school whose arts-based education added training in orchestral music and the complicated harmonies of Shape-note songs and old English folk ballads. Through elementary and high school they sang on over a dozen studio albums.
One night the sisters started playing three part harmony renditions of new wave and punk songs they'd listened to growing up. The result was so satisfying they decided to scrape together some cash and record six covers ranging from Neil Young to Culture Club. Abigail Chapin packed up her life in New York and moved to LA, Lily Chapin quit her busy film job, and Jessica Craven welcomed them to LA. (All have the same mother, Bonnie Chapin - though while Abigail and Lily are daughters of folk singer Tom Chapin, Jessica's father is director Wes Craven.)
Abigail and Lily and co-producers Jesse Lee (Gang Gang Dance) and Louie Stephens (Rooney) retreated to an old family farm in rural New Jersey where they put together a studio and recorded Two, released in September of 2009 via their own label, Lake Bottom Records (Thirty Tigers/RED). This record incorporates lush keyboards, layered percussion, electric guitars and warm, rich vocal tones, in addition to the staple acoustic guitar and three part-harmonies that the sisters are already known for.
[reprinted with permission]"The tunes off their new album, "Two," are stripped down, with tight, unique vocal harmonies, dark lyrics and melodies that haunt the listener long after the last note is uttered. In spite of their flowing dresses, in spite of the golden locks that fall to their guitars as they play, it would be simplistic, if not misleading, to call their music folk. "Maybe stylistically, our music fits in a different decade, but I also think we reference a lot of things that didn't exist in another decade," Abigail says. "It's folk if you're comparing it to hip-hop, hard rock and metal. But if you're comparing it within the folk world, it's very different. . . . "
~Moira E. McLaughlin - The Washington Post
This year, The Chapin Sisters have been busy touring as part of She & Him’s band (M. Ward & Zooey Deschanel) and opening many of their shows. They have also begun headlining their own club shows. You can catch them later this night as the headliner at The Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar (414 E Main Street on the Down town Mall in Charlottesville). Also appearing earlier will be Teddy & The Roosevelts & NeeMA - show time is 9 PM.