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Simple Man

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Album Review

The Chapmans encompass the best of the old and new, encompassing a healthy respect for tradition while relying on contemporary material. "Fire in the Canyon," for instance, sounds like a typical old story song about a fire that engulfs a number of households. The tragedy, however, is laced with a modern-day environmental message, stating, "Mother Nature gives us life/ But if we don't treat her right ... She can take back what she gave." "Jeanie and Tommy" tells the moralistic tale of a young couple in love who plan to marry. After dropping Jeanie off at home (where she dreams of their wedding day), he decides to have a few drinks with friends. He, of course, decides to drive home, with fatal results. By the end of the song, Jeanie's walking down the aisle, but it's for Tommy's funeral. These songs, while certainly laced with a moral, are presented as straightforward, down-home bluegrass, though, and never come off as preachy. The Chapmans — guitarist/lead singer John, bassist Jason, banjoist Bill, and mandolinist Jeremy — are supplemented by a number of stellar players including fiddler Stuart Duncan and dobroist Rob Ikes. John Chapman offers a fine lead, and the group excels at smooth, soaring harmony. The sum result is that Simple Man should find a welcoming audience on the contemporary bluegrass scene for its fine blend of the old and new. ~ Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr., Rovi

Biography

Genre: Country

Years Active: '90s, '00s

The Chapmans don't quite fit the profile of the usual family bluegrass band. Unlike the Renos, the McCourys, and others, there are no ancestors with years of musical experience lurking in the Chapmans' background, nor does the obvious talent stretch back generation after generation. They are the first of the family to carve out a career in music, but they aren't going at it alone. All the members of the Chapman family — father Bill; mother Patti; and sons Jason, Jeremy, and John — were...
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Simple Man, The Chapmans
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