Mailbag: The Chapin Sisters

The Chapin Sisters are an L.A. band that you might have caught opening for She & Him (they’re also part of the backing band) this year.  They recorded their debut album – Lake Bottom LP – with their sister, Jessica Craven, but the band is now comprised of Abigail and Lily Chapin.  As others have said, their sound is reminiscent of both the country and motown – of long-forgotten harmonies in gaslit cabins, and of doe-eyed variety singers.  Yet, beyond this is a sophistication of craft, and an intricacy of sound, that is positively captivating. And really, I ought to let their sound speak for itself…

Here’s a bit about the Sisters from their website:

Abigail and Lily were born in Brooklyn New York. They couldn’t help but pick up a thorough grounding in traditional American roots music and folk-rock from their father, 3-time Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter Tom Chapin. He, along with their grandfather Jim Chapin, a jazz drummer, and their uncle, singer-songwriter Harry Chapin, created an environment wherein music held an almost sacred purpose, of bringing people together, whether it be for family, humanitarian purposes, or joyful release.

When the family relocated to New York’s Hudson Valley, Lily and Abigail attended a Waldorf school whose arts-based education added training in orchestral music and the complicated harmonies of Shape-note songs and old English folk ballads. Through elementary and high school they sang on over a dozen studio albums.

The band has recorded a sophomore album – Two – which will be released on Sept. 14 via Lake Bottom Records.  In the meantime, you can listen to their new single – “Palm Tree” – here:

[audio:|titles=The Chapin Sisters – Palm Tree]  Download

You can also hear more of The Chapin Sisters on their myspace page (including an amazing cover of one of my favorite Smiths songs: “I Know It’s Over”), and live when the girls embark on their Fall Tour.  For now, here’s a live performance from KCRW, and a video of The Chapin Sisters describing what they do best.  Enjoy!

And now that video from PBS:

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