"Prepare to lose your soul," says L.A. Record of siblings Abigail and Lily Chapin, whose seventh recording, Ferry Boat, will be issued by Loantaka Records on April 30. Making music that The New York Times praises as "tantalizingly close to beauty," The Chapin Sisters carry on a proud family musical legacy: Father Tom Chapin is a Grammy-winning singer/songwriter, legendary late uncle Harry Chapin was a musical artist and activist best known for his 1974 #1 hit "Cat's in the Cradle," and grandfather Jim Chapin was an esteemed jazz drummer and author of seminal drum instructional books.
Since 2005 the sisters have garnered critical acclaim by forging a distinctive musical imprint in which they "wed lilting voices, dynamically complex vocal harmonies, and folk-influenced melodies to dark, wryly sarcastic lyrical content," notes Amazon.com in an editorial review. Ferry Boat was produced by drummer/composer Evan Taylor (whose credits include producing the late Bernie Worrell and Jimmy Destri) and features two songs each by Abigail and Lily alongside their take on a number written with them in mind by the friend and musical compatriot, banjo player/multi-instrumentalist Hilary Hawke.
The two have been singing and harmonizing from their youth in, first, Brooklyn, NY and later the Hudson River Valley, heard on their father's children's albums (which have won him three Grammys) and other recordings as well as at festivals, benefits and tribute shows. Abigail and Lily had relocated to Los Angeles after graduating from college to pursue non-musical creative interests when they got an opportunity to record as a trio with their half-sister Jessica Craven (daughter of film director Wes Craven) in the home studio of singer Michael Fitzpatrick (Fitz and The Tantrums).
Lily & Abigail
The resulting seven-song, self-titled 2005 debut EP by The Chapin Sisters enjoyed strong support from the taste-making L.A. indie radio station KCRW as a demo, and spawned a viral underground hit with their reinterpretation of the Britney Spears hit "Toxic." The three began performing and put out a debut album, Lake Bottom LP, in 2008. Since Jessica bowed out of the group following the birth of her first child, Abigail and Lily have carried on with another EP (Oh, Hear the Wind Blow), two albums (Two and Today's Not Yesterday) and a warmly-received, gender-shifting album salute to another set of harmony-singing siblings, A Date With the The Everly Brothers. They've done two tours as background singers and opening act for She & Him (Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward) in addition to their own tours and shows.
Along the way they've earned kudos in the media with their meld of folk music roots with modernist sensibilities plus their alluring vocals. Amazon.com praises their "enchanting harmonies and lyrics that are infused with as much hope as they are longing." Similarly, Consequence of Sound notes how the sisters "create powerful harmonies that simultaneously awe with their beauty and recollect memories probably better left untouched."
Music & Motherhood
“Music is something positive that we could put into the world. And now as new mothers it feels more powerful than ever,” explains Abigail, who like her sister currently lives in New York.
Ferry Boat was recorded in New York City, and is the first recording by Abigail and Lily since they each gave birth to their first children. The sessions for the EP had further emotional ripples due to being recorded some two weeks after the November 2016 presidential elections.
Last April, they appeared at Mark Ruffalo and Michael Moore’s New York City rally protesting Donald Trump’s inauguration, joining Natalie Merchant, Cher, Ruffalo and others on stage to sing Woody Guthrie’s anthem This Land Is Your Land.
Since 2005 the sisters have garnered critical acclaim by forging a distinctive musical imprint in which they "wed lilting voices, dynamically complex vocal harmonies, and folk-influenced melodies to dark, wryly sarcastic lyrical content," notes Amazon.com in an editorial review. Ferry Boat was produced by drummer/composer Evan Taylor (whose credits include producing the late Bernie Worrell and Jimmy Destri) and features two songs each by Abigail and Lily alongside their take on a number written with them in mind by the friend and musical compatriot, banjo player/multi-instrumentalist, Hilary Hawke.
In the last decade, the Chapin Sisters have released 4 full-length albums, including 2015's Today's Not Yesterday. They’ve been featured on NPR's Weekend Edition, in Rolling Stone, Nylon, Spin, Paper, The New York Times, T Magazine, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post and have toured the world multiple times on their own and twice singing in the band She & Him.