Rearing young children is like romantic heartbreak. Both are overwhelming and exhausting, yet are ultimately fleeting. Both yield to great humility and new self-awareness. Both are near universal experiences (well, at least in my brownstone Brooklyn neighborhood.) Yet it is only heartbreak that serves as inspiration for the majority of pop songs.
My EP Five Songs, and the full album that will emerge from it eventually, are my attempt to document this time and place of raising two young boys — “when seconds are slow and years are fast” — while emerging from seeing myself only in the eyes of my children to reclaiming, sometimes unwillingly, my identity as an artist. These are songs of ambition (and the lack thereof), privilege (ditto), anger, affection, gratitude, exhaustion, and humility. In short, of family.
In close partnership with my husband/bassist/co-producer/hands-on papa Stephan Crump, the music was recorded live at our home studio over two days in November 2010. Vocal, percussion, and keyboard overdubs were added later. The musicians are guitarist Jamie Fox, who rounds out the Jen Chapin Trio on our minivan tours, Liberty Ellman, who joins Jamie and Stephanon guitar in Stephan’s acclaimed ensemble Rosetta Trio, and drummer Dan Rieser. Working to make our space and technical limitations into liberations, Dan did not play a traditional drum kit but rather an assortment of percussion instruments, a cardboard box, tinker toy carton and rum bottle assembled around him on the floor where he sat. Stephan departed from his usual custom and played electric bass, while I sang in the next room.
Thanks so much to our kickstarter backers who made this all possible!
With special guest Marco Benevento
Pocket Piano and Wurlitzer
All songs by Jen Chapin
2011 Purple Chair Music (ASCAP)
Recorded (mostly) November 20th and 22nd, 2010 at the Butler Plaza, Brooklyn NY, by Stephan Crump
Mixed by Stephan Crump at the Butler Plaza, Brooklyn NY
Produced by Stephan Crump and Jen Chapin
A Papillon Sounds production
Mastered by Steve Fallone at Sterling Sound, NYC
Cover art by Maceo Crump
Beach photo by Stephan Crump
Design by Brooke Barnett