The Chapin Sisters, Lily and Abigail Chapin, are set to return to the UK and win over many a new fan this July with their Appalachian, folk and country rock inspired music as they head across the ocean to tour the UK for the first time in a decade.
Growing up in a famous American musical family, up the river from New York City, the sisters made their vocal debuts at ages 6 and 8, on their father Tom Chapin’s Grammy Award winning children’s albums. Their uncle was the late, legendary folk icon and social justice activist Harry Chapin, whose number 1 single ‘Cats in the Cradle’ is still beloved. Their grandfather, Jim Chapin, was a celebrated jazz drummer and their cousin Jen Chapin is an acclaimed jazz-influenced singer/songwriter and activist. Music runs in their blood.
Together with their half-sister Jessica Craven, their 2004 demos made an immediate splash at KCRW, a prominent Los Angeles taste-maker radio station, with their haunting cover of Britney Spears ‘Toxic” quickly becoming a station favorite. In 2010, Jessica left the band to focus on raising her own family, though not before the sisters became media darlings (Rolling Stone, Spin, The New York Times, Paper, Nylon, Washington Post) with their debut album ‘Lake Bottom LP.’ Shortly afterwards Abigail and Lily, now a duo, released their 5 song EP ‘Oh, Hear the Wind Blow’ closely followed by their second album, the aptly titled ‘Two’ on their own Lake Bottom record label.
Maintaining independence within a very corporate industry, they soon began to garner acclaim for their songwriting with Popmatters.com comparing them to Lennon/McCartney and adding ‘their music blends the harmonies of traditional sister acts with a modern lyrical sensibility’
Perhaps with harmony in mind, their next self-release was 2013’s gender-bending tribute album A Date With The Everly Brothers featuring some of New York’s finest players and Abigail and Lily perfecting their 2-part vocals a la Don and Phil.
Their follow up album Today’s Not Yesterday was recorded in 2015 at Jonathan Wilson’s recording studio in Echo Park, California using Jackson Browne’s old tape machine. The album captures a Southern California vibe with a more emotive, reflective and contemplative side of the sisters emerging, looking back upon what had been and forward to what would be. In 2018, soon after both sisters had given birth to their first children, ‘Ferry Boat’ EP arrived with a new view of the world around them. Recorded days after Trump’s surprise presidential victory in November 2016. Lily described the time spent recording as ‘A refuge’ while Abigail added that ‘music is something positive that we could put into the world, and now, as new mothers, it feels more powerful than ever’… and then silence…
Well, like their half-sister before them, children were born, and families needed to be raised, but that was far from the end of their recording and touring careers. Lockdowns hit the world and that seclusion proved to be a creative time for The Chapin Sisters. Once again in the Hudson valley, in quarantine with their family, they returned to their children’s folk music roots. Along with their dad they started playing a live streamed daily concert for families with little ones to help them make it through the pandemic. What they imagined would be a handful of shows ultimately became a year and a half long project. In July 2021 they played their 200th and final show of ‘Mornings With Papa Tom and The Chapin Sisters.’ Simultaneously they have been busy writing and recording and working towards what will become their fifth album, and we, the good folk of the UK will be the first to hear many of the new songs ahead of America and ahead of the album.
There’s a great musical lineage in The Chapin Sisters family, and they are keeping that high standard of songwriting mixing the personal with the political, and the observational. They look forward to sharing both old and new songs with audiences across the UK in July. A tour that you should not miss.
‘Bottle Of Wine’ – official video:
July 20, Kitchen Garden Café, 17 York Road, Kings Heath, Birmingham, B14 7SA, Doors 7.30 pm, 8pm start. £14 + £1.40 booking fee 0121-443-4725.
July 21, Landmark Arts Centre, Ferry Road, Teddington, TW11 9NN, London. Doors 7pm starts 8pm. £20 + £1 booking fee. 0208-977-7558.
July 22, St. Edith Folk, Memorial Hall, 28 A High Street, Otford, TN14 5PQ, Sevenoaks, Kent, Doors 7 pm, Starts 7.30 pm, £15 + £1.50 booking fee 01959-525181.
July 23, Chidham & Hambrook Village Hall, Chidham lane, Chichester, Hampshire, PO18 8TL. 8-10 pm. £15 + £1.50 booking fee. 07802-500050
July 24, Ropetackle Arts Centre, Little High Street, Shoreham By Sea, Sussex, BN43 5EG, Doors- 7.15 pm starts- 8pm, 01273-464440. £14 + £1.50 booking fee.
July 27, Basecamp, Exchange house, Exchange Square, Middlesborough, TS1 1DB, 7.30-10.30pm, 01642-247755.
July 28th The Greystones, Greystones Road, Sheffield, S11 7BS, Doors 8pm, Start 8.30 pm, 0114-266-5599 £15 + £1.50 booking fee.
July 29th, The Vault, 22-24 Hallgate, Hexham, NE46 1XD. 7pm. 01434-603884. £28 in advance from-
July 30, The Abergavenny Chapel, Market street, Abergavenny, NP7 5SD, Doors 7pm, £18 + £1 booking fee, 01873-736430
August 2, Victoria Hall, Kirkgate, Settle, BD24 9DZ, 01729-825718, Doors 6.45 pm, concert 7.30-10.30pm, £13.50 + booking fee.
August 3, The Atkinson, Lord Street, Southport PR8 1DB, Lancs. 01704-533333.
August 4th, The Live Room, Caroline social club, Caroline Street, Saltaire, BD18 3JZ. Doors 7pm, concert 8pm. £14. 07855-164182 Hilary.