Chapin Sisters Record a Tribute to Everly Brothers

By on December 23, 2012

     In A Date With the Everly Brothers, the Chapin Sisters, Abigail and Lily, revisit their favorite Everlys songs, recreating their classic harmony arrangements, Lily as Don and Abigail as Phil on the high parts). Their goal was to recreate the songs in their original styles, recording all fourteen tracks in one day at Thump Studios in Greenpoint Brooklyn with an ensemble of crack New York musicians assembled and directed by Evan Taylor. Contributors included piano virtuoso Jon Cobert (composer of the Baseball Tonight theme song, and a member of John Lennon’s last band),Tim Luntzel (from Smokey Hormel’s “Round Up”), Taylor, Andrew Kimball, and Kyle Cadena (Bernie Worrell Orchestra).

     All the primary recording was done in one session, then the stems were sent to four different mixers — their father Tom Chapin, long-time collaborator Dan Horne, John Guth and Seth Thomas – to produce a varied and intriguing soundscape that ranges from rollicking country jams to spacey ballads. Additionally, extra vocals were added to the tracks “All I Have To Do Is Dream” and “Cathy’s Clown” were added at one point and legendary keyboardist Rob Schwimmer added three layers of theremin to “Sleepless Nights.”

     The Chaptin Sisters studied the Everly Brothers’ two-part harmonies when they became a duo (when they first formed a trio with their sister Jessica Craven, they had learned from the Andrews Sisters and Beach Boys). The Everlys, Louvin Brothers, and the Davis Sisters all discovered ways to make harmonizing enhance the emotional impact of any given song. Since the Everlys straddled the line between Country, Pop and Rock ‘n’ Roll the same as Elvis and Buddy Holly had they wound up introducing two-part harmony vocalizing into the Pop world, setting the stage for much of pop and rock of the 60’s and 70’s.

     The Chapin Sisters took on this project as a labor of love, to learn why these songs and this vocal style are so powerful. It is also a dialogue between one set of siblings and another, from different generations…and different genders: the songs feel different when sung by women rather than men even though the Chapins chose not to change the gendered pronouns in songs, leaving them mostly as originally written. The album package features the Chapins dressed and coiffured as the Everlys, recreating their classic album covers and promotional photos.

     Lily & Abigail Chapin are singing, songwriting sisters known for pristine harmonies and haunting melodies/ They’ve been compared to sister acts of old and Appalachian family groups, yet their original songs and arrangements have a very contemporary aspect, with elements of pop, blues, folk, and even psychedelic rock.

     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, the girls 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.
     Their first full-length record, Lake Bottom LP was a collaboration with their other sister, Jessica, who left the group to be a mother. Produced by Thom Monahan (Lilys, Devendra Bandhart, Vetiver) and Mike Daly (Whiskeytown, Grace Potter), the record was critically acclaimed and was named one of the LA Weekly’s Top Ten Records of 2008

     The Chapins spent the bulk of 2010 singing back-up for She & Him, touring the world, often opening for them. That Spring, they released their sophomore effort, Two. This album incorporated lush keyboards, layered percussion, electric guitars and warm, rich vocals tones, in addition to the staple acoustic guitar and three part-harmonies that the sisters are already known for.  The album was lauded in outlets like The New York Times, Bust and Rolling Stone among others and the Chapin toured extensively in their own right and opening for kindred spirits like Rooney. They are currently readying material for their third album of original material.


Author: DaveHHM

Dave Luttrull: Owner/Editor in Chief of Hellhound Music. Star Wars nerd, Gamer, Destiny homer, blogger, writer and lover of all things music.