Jen found her voice in a small Irish cafe in NYC's East Village, singing urban folk music as part of acoustic trio Native Tongue. Cafe Sin-e in the early 1990s was a thriving scene: a place where Sinead O'Connor, Bono & Little Steven, Luka Bloom, Marianne Faithfull, and countless others dropped by when in the neighborhood. Jen's band played there weekly, beside Susan McKeown and Jeff Buckley, until the band split up and Jen moved west to San Francisco.
Separated from the music scene in NYC, Jen pursued another lifestyle altogether, becoming a homebirth midwife and delivering babies across three counties. When her own babies arrived, Jen began a long return to music, this time writing her own songs. When the family moved back east in 2001, Jen began writing more and performing again, back in the East Village and throughout the Hudson Valley where she now lives.
Her debut CD, Lonesome Sunbeam (2009), has her beautiful, warm voice placed among many creative musical ideas - odd keyboard sounds, ethereal guitars, fretless bass and country violins. The record is currently receiving radio play in the northeast, and wonderful reviews in the press.
Jen grew up listening to singers - Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt, singer/songwriters - Jackson Brown, Joni Mitchell and lots of rock music. As an adult, she draws inspiration from the likes of Flaming Lips, Ron Sexsmith, Dayna Kurtz, and indie band Ida. Bits and pieces of each of these artists continue to inform her writing, playing and singing.
Jen Clapp - vocals, acoustic guitar
Sara Milonovich - violin
Dan Fisherman - drums, keyboards, vocals
Simon Walsh - bass, vocals
Debut CD: Lonesome Sunbeam, independently released on Rusted Flower Records in January 2009. Features 10 of Jen's own songs.
"Hospice in the Weald" - a benefit CD created by Chris Difford of Squeeze. Mr. Difford wrote lyrics to the songs, inviting guest artists to write music and perform some of them. Jen is a co-writer, singer and guitarist on two tracks. (2006)
"Washing Day" by Adam Levy. Jen shares writing credits on "Longest Day of the Year," and sings backup vocals on the CD. (2007)
A Gorgeous Album
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(Jen Clapp)...is back with a vengeance with a masterful new album called "Lonesome Sunbeam." This c...(Jen Clapp)...is back with a vengeance with a masterful new album called "Lonesome Sunbeam." This collection kicks off confidently with the lush, layered "On Seven Stones." Title track "Lonesome Sunbeam has a free flowing groove and a luxurious vocal delivery.
Clapp carries on with the hopeful, snappy "Photograph." In the dreamy "Last Ride" Clapp sounds silky and soft. "Tenderheart" holds a haunting tale of love and loss...
Graceful and often majestic, Clapp will win great applause with this fine work.
- David Malachowski (1/16/09)
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Having shared co-writer credits on songs by Chris Difford of Squeeze and Adam Levy of Norah Jones fa...Having shared co-writer credits on songs by Chris Difford of Squeeze and Adam Levy of Norah Jones fame, Jen Clapp knows a thing or two or ten about songwriting and you can hear it here as she explores the space between pop and alt-country on seveal pristine nuggets of reflection.
- Mike Jurkovic (02/09)
Absolutely beautiful. Jen clearly came up from the depths to bring us these beautiful, lucid songs.
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There are a lot of great singers around - but few who actually stir the quiet, inspired place in me ...There are a lot of great singers around - but few who actually stir the quiet, inspired place in me that I mostly only experience when I sit down to write my own songs. It's a voice that evokes a crisp winter's night or the warm August sun. Childhood's memories, momentous or bittersweet. As true, clear and organic as nature itself.
Warm, intimate, and inviting"
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According to its liner notes, Jen Clapp's new CD "Lonesome Sunbeam" was recorded on solar power. Ev...According to its liner notes, Jen Clapp's new CD "Lonesome Sunbeam" was recorded on solar power. Even if that's impossible to tell by listening to the music, it's worth mentioning, as the album is warm, intimate and inviting. Performing with a full band on this solo debut, Clapp sounds comfortable and confident, equally at ease in moodier numbers, like the album's tender title track and "Last Ride" as she is in those that shimmy and shake, such as "Voodoo Baby." The prevalent sound might be considered as being under the alt.country umbrella; see "Might Have Moved On" and the wistful "Tenderheart," both of which feature aching violin played by Sara Milonovich. But there's much more than meets the eye, including what might on paper seem impossible: the blending of the earnestness of the '70s singer-songwriter with the goosebump-raising atmospherics of Portishead on the drums-free "Last Ride." "Icy Windows" might be Lonesome Sunbeam's artistic tentpole; the lyric's somber feeling of yearning blends seamlessly with the music, floating in the slow wake of guitars, keyboards, and Clapp's gentle voice.
A former member of New York band Native Tongue, Clapp was a key player in the early '90s folk-punk scene in the city, with a steady gig at the legendary Cafe Sin-e, the stomping grounds of a your Jeff Buckley. Representing something of a return, it's clear Lonesome Sunbeam is right where Clapp belongs.
Jen has about 2 hours of original material, including all of the songs on her CD. She also adds covers by Cat Stevens, Tom Waits, Neil Young and an occasional traditional folk tune or a cappella song.
There are no upcoming dates at this time.