Congratulations are in order for anyone who makes it 50 years working in any industry, but it takes an extra special person to survive and thrive in a field as unstable as music. Yet Michael Chapman is still here — and still sounding vital — five decades after helping to inaugurate a new wave of experimental acoustic blues alongside the likes of Bert Jansch and Richard Thompson. He celebrates a half-century touring and recording on 50, a new album produced by Steve Gunn and featuring some of his Paradise Of Bachelors brethren including Nathan Bowles and James Elkington.
“I’m still waitin’ on my reward,” Chapman sings with weathered intonation on “Sometimes You Just Drive,” and he’s writing like a man inspired to keep pressing forward. This album’s guitar tapestries are mesmerizing, as are the arrangements overall, which is to be expected with this cast of musicians. But what really stands out are Chapman’s finely crafted songs; each one feels like a little universe with many stories waiting on the periphery. The album’s combination of instrumental prowess and songwriting power demonstrates why Chapman has been able to endure so long. Stream it below.
50 is out 1/20 on Paradise Of Bachelors. Pre-order it here.