Tributes paid to prolific singer-songwriter Michael Chapman, who has died aged 80

The announcement was made earlier today (September 11), informing fans that Chapman died at his home at age 80.

Folk singer-songwriter Michael Chapman has died at the age of 80.

The announcement was made via Chapman’s Instagram page earlier today (September 11). No cause of death was revealed, but the social media post stated that Chapman died in his home.

“Please raise a glass or two to a gentleman, a musician, a husband, a force of nature, a legend and the most fully qualified survivor,” it reads.

His label Paradise of Bachelors also issued a statement on the platform.

“Michael Chapman was a hero and friend to so many, including us,” they wrote, “moving with unmatched grace, vigor, and gruff humor within and beyond his songs and those he inspired from others. We are devastated to hear of his passing today.”

Born in Leeds in 1941, Chapman released his debut album, ‘Rainmaker’, in 1969. Since then, he has issued over 40 full-length albums. His final recorded effort, ‘True North’, was released in 2019 via Paradise of Bachelors.

In his work, Chapman explored roots music, such as blues and folk, through acoustic and electric instruments, issuing multiple instrumental efforts and collaborations over the decades. His work has also been influential to various artists ever since, including Sonic Youth‘s Thurston Moore.

In 2017, Chapman told The Guardian that he had dinner with Moore in 1998, who confessed to him that his 1973 album, ‘Millstone Grit’, helped spark the genesis of Sonic Youth. “He blames the feedback extravaganzas on there for them forming,” Chapman said.

On Instagram, Moore shared a clip from a fireside performance by Chapman via Ecstatic Peace Library. “And this is the last time we saw you by the fire,” he wrote. “We got to know England when (and because) we got to know you. Thank you hero.”

A 2012 compilation album, titled ‘Oh Michael, Look What You’ve Done: Friends Play Michael Chapman’, featured covers of his songs by Moore, Lucinda Williams, Hiss Golden Messenger, and William Tyler, among others.

Chapman also spent his time in recent decades touring with younger contemporaries such as Bill Callahan, Ryley Walker, Daniel Bachman, and the late Jack Rose.

Singer-songwriter Steve Gunn, who went on to produce ‘True North’ for Chapman, told The Guardian that his 1970s albums “were so ahead of their time”. Upon news of his death, the musician tweeted pictures of Chapman, one taken with Gunn.

US label Light in the Attic, who reissued his first four albums in the 2010s, called Chapman “a rare human”.

“Immensely talented, honest, supportive, funny, and always zero bullshit,” they wrote.

Source: Tributes paid to prolific singer-songwriter Michael Chapman, who has died aged 80

Pedair, Cerys Hafana and Eve Goodman perform at the National Library of Wales

Gwedd fodern ar y byd gwerin yng nghwmni Pedair, Cerys Hafana ac Eve Goodman, rhai o berfformwyr mwyaf cyffrous y sîn yng Nghymru heddiw, o leoliad hyfryd Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru yn Aberystwyth.

A modern take at the folk scene in Wales today with Pedair, Cerys Hafana and Eve Goodman performing in the beautiful surroundings of the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth.

‘Five Leaves Left’: The Legacy Of Nick Drake’s Album Debut

The start of the all-too-brief recording life of Nick Drake, on his debut ‘Five Leaves Left,’ released by Island on September 1, 1969.

Don’t go looking for extensive chart statistics to map the career of Nick Drake, because there aren’t any. That’s to say that, however much we now rightly revere the quintessential sensitive singer-songwriter, his tragically short life was painfully unrepresented by commercial rewards on either the UK or US charts while he was alive. A far cry from today, when you hear his music playing everywhere, from album-oriented radio stations to supermarkets.

We’re celebrating the start of Drake’s all-too-brief recording span and his debut album Five Leaves Left. Produced by the great acoustic music frontiersman Joe Boyd and released by Island on September 1, 1969, the LP featured such timelessly haunting pieces as “Time Has Told Me,” “River Man” and “Way To Blue.”

Five Leaves Left, which took its title from the manufacturer’s message inserted near the end of a packet of Rizla cigarette papers, was recorded between the summer of 1968 and a year later. It featured contributions from Richard Thompson, then of Fairport Convention, on guitar, Danny Thompson on bass and others, as well as the beautiful arrangements of Robert Kirby.

The record has come to be internationally acknowledged as a classic, landing at No.280 in Rolling Stone’s 2003 list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, 85th in a 2005 poll by the UK’s Channel 4 TV, and No.74 in an NME all-time list. In 1975, the NME’s Nick Kent described it as “one of those albums that seem tied to exhorting and then playing on a particular mood in the listener, like Astral Weeks and Forever Changes.

Public indifference, critical approval

Indeed, the public’s apparent indifference to Drake’s singular talents was not for lack of some critical approval. Mark Williams, reviewing Five Leaves Left as a new release for the International Times, made the point that the newcomer’s voice would be compared with Donovan’s.

“But Don would get nowhere without his songs and Nick will get nowhere without his,” he wrote. “They are beautiful, gentle breezes of cadent perfection which carry along reflective poems like dancing, golden leaves.”

Source: ‘Five Leaves Left’: The Legacy Of Nick Drake’s Album Debut | uDiscover

Gwenifer Raymond on American primitive fingerstyle, spooky tunings and the morbid potential of the acoustic guitar

 

The Welsh-born guitarist draws upon classical punk, grunge and folk-horror to write dark, immersive acoustic compositions

Gwenifer Raymond’s rich, powerful solo acoustic instrumental music first took flight with her debut album, You Never Were Much Of A Dancer. A 13-song flurry of acoustic guitar and banjo compositions – very much in the vein of the big hitters of American primitive, John Fahey and Jack Rose – the set was a riveting demonstration of her often-blistering playing.

For Gwenifer’s second release, Strange Lights Over Garth Mountain, she has composed music that feels more personal and confident. Longer pieces unfold in complex forms and worry less about typical structure.

“The first album was the result of spending years playing in [American primitive] style and gathering songs,” she says. “Some of the riffs went back to when I was learning. With the second album, I’d been playing this music for a long time and at lots of shows, so by that point my voice had begun to come out more naturally. Before, I felt like I was trying to do this American primitive music, but with this one I was like, ‘I’m all right with whatever comes out.’”

Solo acoustic music is solitary by nature, but the pandemic put paid to Gwenifer’s plans to record the second album in a studio, forcing her to take a homemade approach. Continue reading