2016 was a landmark year for Michael Chapman. As well as celebrating his 75th birthday it was also 50 years since he first went on the road professionally. We organised some special events to mark this important milestone in his life and career – including a short residency in London, a UK tour with BJ Cole on pedal steel and Sarah Smout on cello, and issues of some new recordings, including collections of guitar instrumentals Fish and Homages. Never one to stand still for long, Chapman continues touring in 2018 with more new projects including his new album 50 on vinyl and some exciting new collaborations are in the pipeline.
New recordings: Chapman’s new album 50 was released in January 2017 on the Paradise Of Bachelors label. Produced by & featuring Steve Gunn it features his first full band sound for some 20 years.
Michael Chapman (born Leeds Yorkshire – 1941) first became known on the London and Cornish folk circuits in 1966. Playing a blend of atmospheric and autobiographical material he established a reputation for intensity and innovation. Signed to EMI’s Harvest label he recorded a quartet of classic albums. LPs like Rainmaker and Wrecked Again defined the melancholic observer role Michael was to make his own, mixing intricate guitar instrumentals with a full band sound.
His influential album Fully Qualified Survivor, featuring the guitar of Mick Ronson (David Bowie) and Rick Kemp’s bass (Steeleye Span), was John Peel’s favourite album of 1970. Survivor featured the Chapman “hit”, ‘Postcards of Scarborough’, a characteristically tenderly sour song recounting the feelings of nostalgia and regret.
Chapman is known as one of the UK’s best finger picking style guitar players. As part of a continuing musical lineage that includes the likes of Ralph McTell, John Martyn, Davey Graham and Bert Jansch, Chapman is still active touring and recording and his playing is on top form. There are regular releases of new recordings, (Fish – 2015) archive recordings (Live at Folk Cottage -2013) and reissues of his classics. Rainmaker, Fully Qualified Survivor, Wrecked Again, Window and Playing The Guitar The Easy Way have been reissued by USA label Light In The Attic on CD and vinyl format as a complete reissue series of his early work on EMI’s Harvest label.
Recent collaborations with Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth) and the American “primitive school” of guitar players including the late John Fahey and Jack Rose, opened up a whole new audience of US based admirers. Appearing on recordings with Hiss Golden Messenger and Steve Gunn has cemented Chapman’s position as pivotal figure in roots, folk and acoustic guitar playing over the last 50 years.
Artist’s website: http://www.paradiseofbachelors.com/Michael-Chapman/
The classic ‘Postcards Of Scarborough’ – live:
Tour Dates – www.michaelchapman.co.uk/concerts.htm for detailed listings.
April 19th- The Platform Morecambe 8pm £14
20th- the Live Room, Caroline Social Club, Shipley 7.30 pm £12
21st- Scarborough Market Hall, Scarborough 7pm £10
22nd The Deaf Institute, Manchester 7.30 pm £16
25th The Lexington, London 7.30 pm £14 + booking fee
26th- Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, 7pm £16 (£17.50 inc booking fee)
27th Greystones, Sheffield, 8 pm £13
28th The Basement, York 8pm £10 advance £12 on the door.