[Cover photo of The Chapin Sisters (L-R): Lily Chapin, Abigail Chapin. Photo credit to Adam Goldberg]
Father Tom Chapin is a Grammy-winning singer/songwriter, late uncle Harry Chapin is was an artist and social justice activist (“Cat’s In The Cradle”), and grandfather Jim Chapin was a Jazz drummer.
The sisters’ first new music since 2017’s Ferry Boat, “Bergen Street,” describes a stretch of Brooklyn road with its everyday “soot in the window ruts” and “air that smells of the tire dust”. It is voiced with sisterly “blood harmony”.
Abigail Chapin explains:
Lily wrote ‘Bergen Street’ as she was leaving Brooklyn to move back to the Hudson Valley village that we grew up in. It’s a bittersweet ode. Not a sad moment, exactly, but wistful. We thought we’d be city people forever, but during the pandemic, I eventually did the same thing. We packed up our little families and moved back to the woods and the grass and the driveways.
Lily Chapin adds:
I always write songs about places I leave. When I was first writing ‘Bergen Street,’ I was still feeling the sting of leaving the city behind. I think it never goes away. The first time I played it for my daughter, she cried. It’s hard to process feelings of loss and leaving things behind that you love. This song allowed me to remember what was unique and to allow the memories to become more vivid.
While Brooklyn is part of their deep family history, and their own childhoods, family connections continued in recording “Bergen Street” at Lily’s house, where both she and Abigail got their young children and husbands involved in the process. Grandparents even took over the baby-watching to make it possible.
This style of working is giving the new recordings by The Chapin Sisters an even more intimate sound.
We are slowly making our way through our recordings, one song at a time. It’s been interesting to approach it this way, focusing on one thing until it’s done, instead of flitting around from song to song. I guess leaving the city is a theme in our lives right now, and it is showing up heavily in this batch of songs that will become our next album.