Today’s Not Yesterday
Lake Bottom Records LBR 006
Sweethearts of the Alt. Country Rodeo.
I listen to and watch a lot of music; too much according to Mrs. Magpie; so on a far too regular occasion I forget albums I’ve reviewed and gigs I’ve seen; regardless of the quality involved. Yet, the Chapin Sisters gig at the Jumping Hot Club at the Cluny II, in September 2011 has stuck in my mind.
Although the audience barely mustered 40 souls; the promoter has been asked several times when the sisters were coming back. So that musty tell you how I felt when I opened the envelope stamped from Hemifran in Sweden.
First of all the cover definitely caught my eye with Lily and Abigail dressed all in virginal white as they pay homage to the genre defining Sweethearts of the Rodeo album cover.
The opening song Autumn; is something of a head-spin, as it sounds a little bit hippy-trippy, but nonetheless quite beautiful, with the sisters voices soaring and swooping like swallows in High Summer; on a song that could easily be the theme tune for some romantic drama starring Gwyneth Paltrow.
Thankfully the Country guitars, and the first of the heartbreakers make an appearance immediately afterwards with Angeleno; a timeless piece of writing and a performance that Patsy Cline would have been proud of, I’m sure.
The Sisters can even do ‘sensual,’ as Abigail proves on Child, with its Fleetwood Mac undertones while Omar Valesco’s guitar simply sizzles in the background on a song about the unconditional love a Child brings.
Personally I much prefer the tracks with Dan Horne’s pedal-steel at the fore; the Sisters have never sounded better than on Love Come Back and the almost cinematic Sleep In, which effortlessly straddles Alt. Country and Soft Rock, with the greatest of ease.
When I first saw the Chapin Sisters at that gig in 2011 ‘Sister Acts’ and certainly female harmony drenched duos were all the rage; but seem to have disappeared without trace until now (there’s a Madison Violet album on the way soon too!), so it’s been an absolute delight kicking off my shoes, loosening the belt and just letting songs like World Is All and There Will Be a Time wash all over me until all my worries just disappear like bubbles in the sky.
I sort of missed, what has become my favourite track the first couple of times; but the final track, We Will Not Stop (Singing) is the subtlest protest song you will ever hear. The Chapin Sisters prove that you don’t need to shout to be heard; just like Nanci Griffith did with Hell No (I’m Not Alright). Next time you watch the TV news and think that the world is going to Hell in a handcart; give this song a listen….it will restore your faith in mankind.
One of the joys of doing what I do here at Rocking Magpie HQ is discovering and re-discovering, acts like the Chapin Sisters; and then screaming their talent from the rooftops…..
Released October 2015