Jen Chapin
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Jen Chapin

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The best kept secret in music


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Albums by Release Date:

Ready - Hybrid Recordings 2006
Linger - Hybrid Recordings 2004
Open Wide - Purple Chair Music 2002

Songs from all three albums have had extensive radio airplay.


Feeling a bit camera shy


In the two years since releasing her critically-acclaimed debut with Hybrid Recordings, Linger, Jen Chapin has toured the East coast, West, South and Midwest, given TV performances ranging from the WB Morning News to Late Nite with Conan O’Brien, and given birth to a baby boy. Along the way, she has recorded with her band a fresh new album of 11 songs of desire and frustration (both personal and political), whimsy and hopefulness – Ready.

Largely written while Jen and her husband/bassist/co-producer Stephan Crump awaited the arrival of their son Maceo, Ready is an album of anticipation. A household preparing for the addition of a new life, a sister waiting for a not-so-little brother to grow up, a citizen waiting to see if her country will vote to stop the bleeding, a would-be lover waiting for her attentions to be returned – all of these tense ticking moments are part of the stories sung here.

Set amid the groove of New York and in escapes from that city, Ready is an album of place. A little tent pitched at the foothills of West Virginia, a rocky beach of a Long Island childhood, a grade school polling site in working-class (that is, if you can find a job) Youngstown OH – each sets one of the varied scenes here. Then there are the smaller frames -- a cozy chair for daydreaming over a pregnant belly, the tragic-comic news spread over the kitchen table, a moody nightclub.

Performed mostly live as an ensemble in the studio, Ready is an album of performances. Among them, one of the funkiest ukelele solos on record from Jamie Fox (“Ready”), Dan Rieser and Stephan’s explosive, spontaneous drum and acoustic bass wizardry, rehearsed in the studio just before the rolling of tape (“NYC”), some unexpected (pre-Katrina) zydeco from Pete Rende’s pump organ (“Election Day”), the dueling guitars of Jamie and Liberty Ellman pushed on by the double drum kit synergy of Dan and Tony Mason (“Time”); Jen’s raw studio one-take vocal and guitar (“Go On,”) – Ready is a collection of songs played by real people, listening and interacting together, without headphone click tracks and computer manipulations. Ingredients added later, like the lushly intimate strings and spicy percussion, integrated themselves into the spirit of the band.

Praise for Linger came from a diverse array of sources: National Public Radio’s All Things Considered, People magazine, The Today Show, Entertainment Weekly, and so on. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel lauded Linger as being “smart, observant, lyrically deft, politically aware and emotionally intuitive” while The Boston Globe called it simply: “addictive.” As a live performer, Jen offers “an intensely emotional, sensual experience, almost embarrassing in its naked intimacy and vulnerability, in its invitation to listeners to think and to love along with her. She is a remarkable presence on stage...” (Berkshire Eagle), and presents something “powerful,” where her “supple voice move[s] deliberately and often through a wide range of notes and emotions throughout the concert, a bold and demonstrative instrument.” (South Bend Tribune)

Whether on Linger, Ready, or her earlier independent release Open Wide (a bold minimalist experiment featuring only her voice and Crump’s acoustic bass, prompting JazzTimes to anoint Jen as a “first-rate storyteller”), Jen’s music is informed by a fertile family background and a wide array of education and experiences. She was born to an extended family of artists and academics, and raised along with her four siblings in Long Island, New York. Work toward earning her BA in International Relations from Brown University was complimented by studies abroad in Mexico and Zimbabwe, and then followed by a new focus in jazz harmony, improvisation and arranging at Berklee College of Music.

Jen’s performing career started after moving to NYC in 1995, and then only as a sideline to her full-time job developing curricula and teaching music to Brooklyn middle and upper school students. As she moved toward writing, performing and recording full time, Jen kept her hand in education through the development of workshops in “Music and Social Action” and lyric-writing, which she still presents today to college students and other groups.

As a committed social activist, Jen has worked hard to interweave her musical and political passions. She chairs the Board of Directors of WHY (World Hunger Year) -- an organization co-founded by her father, the late singer-songwriter Harry Chapin -- and helps to support WHY’s role as a leading advocate for innovative, community-based solutions to hunger and poverty. Naturally, She is especially committed to WHY’s “Artists Against Hunger and Poverty” program which works to network performing artists with local anti-poverty groups building self-reliance. Meanwhile, across the stories told and the themes explored on Ready, Jen muses over our values and the choices we make. Most intimately, in “Let it Show,” she sings to her yet-to-be-born son “