by Chuck Dauphin
Until I read the description of Jen Chapin’s bio of her music as “Urban Folk Soul,” I have to admit that I had never heard those words all strung together in that form before. However, the terminology definitely applies – as her musical style is all of those terms – and a whole lot more.
Music is something that is entrenched deep into her soul – and she comes by it naturally as the daughter of the legendary singer-songwriter -activist Harry Chapin. As a result of that upbringing, Chapin is all over the musical map – but stays in a state of excellence all the way around. “It’s All Right” kicks off this disc on a positive vibe – about hanging in the game of life when everything looks to tear you apart. The track benefits from jaw-dropping bass work from Stephan Crump, one of the linch-pins of Chapin’s band. She weaves a story well, too. That comes to light on “Insatiable,” a song about a woman at an emotional mixture of depth and despair – and the path that led her there.
There are also some fine ballads on Reckoning, such as the evocative “Paris.” but Chapin is at her best when she lets her groove show – as she does on the 60s-ish “Go Away,” which shows a ton of her wit and personality.
Warning – this is one of those discs that is too deep and meaningful to be used as background music. But, if you consider yourself to be a lyrics person – you’ll be the better for it!
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