Simple Man

Simple Man

by The Chapmans


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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.

Product Details

Release Date: 04/19/2005
Label: Pinecastle
UPC: 0755757114424
catalogNumber: 1144
Rank: 139845

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Chapmans   Primary Artist
John Chapman   Guitar,Rhythm Guitar,Vocals,Tenor (Vocal)
Stuart Duncan   Fiddle
Rob Ickes   Dobro
Aubrey Haynie   Fiddle
Darrin Vincent   Guitar,Vocals
Jason Chapman   Bass,Vocals,Baritone (Vocal),Tenor (Vocal)
Jeremy Chapman   Mandolin,Vocals,Baritone (Vocal),Tenor (Vocal)
Andy Leftwich   Fiddle,Strings
John Chapman   Guitar,Vocals
Bill Chapman   Banjo

Technical Credits

April Stevens   Composer
Smokey Stover   Composer
Neal Cappellino   Engineer
Chris Jones   Composer
Jimmy Martin   Composer
Arthur Lee Stevenson   Composer
Darrin Vincent   Producer,Audio Production
Mike Dekle   Composer
Beth Stevens   Composer
Bob Murray   Art Direction
Kim Fox   Composer
Byron Hill   Composer
Rick Bradstreet   Composer
Jeremy Chapman   Composer
Robert C. Amos   Composer
Becky Buller   Composer

Customer Reviews

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Simple Man 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Playing Time – 38:59 -- Bill Chapman discovered bluegrass after moving to Colorado in 1976. He went to Woolworth’s and put a banjo on layaway. When I wrote about them for Bluegrass Unlimited in 1999, they had already relocated to Missouri, toured Europe, showcased for the IBMA, and won the SPBGMA Best Bluegrass Band Award. They also won the IBMA Emerging Artist Award. Now, about thirty years from that humble beginning in Colorado, Bill Chapman’s band has come to represent some of the most polished bluegrass around. Their lustrous sound is built around well-arranged and novel songs that are balanced with impeccable vocals and sizzling instrumental prowess. “Simple Man” continues the band’s association with the Pinecastle Records label, and we’ve had to wait four years for this latest (their third on that label) from The Chapmans. Opening with Bob Amos’ “Fire in the Canyon” is a good stroke to get us into the esoteric nature of this recording which demands our attention to the intellectual messages that range from Mother Nature’s fury to being a “Runaway Kind,” “Simple Man” or “Lost Ball.” It’s a treat to hear them present songs from a variety of excellent songwriters and musicians in their own right in bluegrass circles – the likes of Becky Buller, Art Stevenson, Chris Jones, Kim Fox. The title cut comes from Fox, one of their favorite songwriters, and tells of hard-working and easy-going people who don’t make a big deal out of life. Covering Rick Bradstreet’s “Cold and Lonely” is a lovely tribute to the now-deceased former Bluegrass Patriots dobroist. I was also pleased to see “Runaway Kind,” from Svata Kotas and Jana Dolakova (from the band “Fragment” of the Slovak Republic). A ballad like Beth and April Stevens’ “Jeanie and Tommy” is a tearjerker that will surely make you sad. Impressive virtuosity with a little humor are the trademarks of the licks in Jeremy Chapman’s own “Pickle Flavored Ice Cream.” “The Photograph,” a lost-love ballad with a lyrical twist, is nothing short of haunting. Finishing strong with a respect for the traditional canon is their feisty and powerful rendition of Jimmy Martin’s “You'll be a Lost Ball.” Besides Bill Chapman on banjo, The Chapmans are his three sons—Jeremy (mandolin), Jason (bass), and John (guitar). Guests include Stuart Duncan, Aubrey Haynie, Andy Leftwich, Rob Ickes, Sonya Isaacs and Darrin Vincent. Back in 1999, Bill Chapman told me that The Chapmans were focused on presenting professional, entertaining music and a wholesome family image. His advice was to “start from scratch and keep scratching,” and their hard work has paid off to meet their goal to be taken seriously for their unique, identifiable sound. I would say that they have wonderfully succeeded and have achieved their place in the national bluegrass spotlight. “Simple Man” is the album that will dispel any lingering doubts about their national prominence. (Joe Ross, Bluegrass Now)