Best New Artist – Jen Chapin

Autographed CD - Click for bigger pic...Last night, The Lady Janet and I had a rare evening out on the town. We went down to a nearby small town called Newcastle, CA, population 6,231, to a very cool little joint called Constable Jack’s, where I tried alligator for the first time (Mmm… alligator), and we listened to Jen Chapin, daughter of the late Harry Chapin, sing excellently with her excellent band.

It was very sad that there were only a handful of people listening in this venue that said “Maximum Occupancy 100,” because these guys rocked. The bass player is her husband Stephan Crump, and he plays Fender&#153 like a master, and standup bass as well, though he only played the Fender last night.

The drummer, keyboard player, and guitarist also showed off great chops on about 15 songs that were rhythmically and harmonically sophisticated, yet surprisingly catchy. Several reminded us of other female vocalists we like very much like Alanis, Joan Osborne, and Norah Jones, though Jen has a unique voice that is pure and powerful, laid-back, even girlish at times.

The good news about the lack of crowdedness is that we got to talk at length with Jen and her band. I asked her about her process for writing, for instance, and she said that it depends on the song. Some come to her as a melody, others as words to a bass line. She says she writes on guitar and piano, though she doesn’t play them on stage.

Click through to jenchapin.com and check out the samples, then follow her around on tour and buy all her CDs.

Bottom line – I give this band:

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