News / Arts & Entertainment

Marshall Chapman Shows No Signs of Slowing Down

Marshall Chapman
Marshall Chapman
Katherine Cole
Marshall Chapman turned 64 earlier this year, but the South Carolina-born rocker shows no sign of slowing down. She’s just released her 13th album, “Blaze of Glory” and reviewers are calling it one of the finest of her more-than-40-year career.

“Blaze of Glory” isn’t just the title track to Chapman’s latest CD, it’s a premonition she once had. Living the hard life of a rock-and-roller, Chapman never figured she’d live past 40. But at 39, after years of a stereotypical rock-and-roll lifestyle, she checked herself into rehab.  And now, at an age when many performers start thinking about slowing down, Chapman is doing just the opposite.

Marshall Chapman Shows No Signs of Slowing Down
Marshall Chapman Shows No Signs of Slowing Downi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

Since graduating from Vanderbilt University in 1971, she he has supported herself not only as a performer, but as a songwriter. Many other acts have recorded her songs, including John Hiatt, Wynonna Judd, Jimmy Buffett and the band Sawyer Brown…yet she’s never had a huge hit of her own.

That doesn’t mean, however, that Chapman’s not successful. In the past few years, the 1.8-meter-tall Nashville resident has released two albums to glowing reviews from critics around the world, while also acting and writing prose. You may have seen her playing Gwyneth Paltrow’s road manager in the hit movie “Country Strong.” Or on the current TV show “Nashville.” Chapman co-wrote the songs for an off-Broadway musical called “Good Ol’ Girls” and has published two books, including an autobiography. In it, she tells how she grew up in a wealthy family in Spartanburg, South Carolina and then defied her family’s expectations by becoming a rock-and-roll musician.

Chapman dates the roots of her rebellion to 1956, when the family maid took her downtown to see Elvis Presley perform.

“My parents were out of town and we just took the city bus down there. They had matinee shows back then. He was on a Country package tour with The Louvin Brothers and The Carter Sisters and Justin Tubb," she said. "I think when that deal was signed, he wasn’t quite 'Elvis' yet, but by the time he got to Spartanburg he was Elvis and he was definitely closing the show. This was, of course, during segregation and I was in the balcony with the blacks. This little tow-headed [blonde] seven-year-old child. So that started it. They measure time BC and AD. I measure time BE and AE.”

x
The opening track on "Blaze of Glory" harkens back to those early days of rock. “Love In The Wind” is a duet with Todd Snider that almost didn’t happen.

Chapman’s original vision for “Love In The Wind” had alternative-Country singer-songwriter Todd Snider singing harmony with her. But that idea blew up the minute Snider walked into the studio.

“Todd walks in and the first thing he says is ‘I don’t sing harmony.’ So, I had to rethink this and get loose," Chapman said. "And we went on the ‘Todd plan.’ It sort of became more of a call and response, which actually is probably better than what I had in mind. And that often happens in the studio.  And now it sounds really cool the way it is, because you don’t know when he’s coming in. And I love it.”

When we spoke, Chapman was on her way back to Nashville after a show at Spartanburg’s Chapman Cultural Center, named for her arts-supporting family. The show was a fundraiser for arts education and took place just a few days after the singer was inducted into the Spartanburg Music Trail - an open-air hall of fame for musicians in her hometown.
 
There are nine original songs on “Blaze of Glory” along with two interesting covers: Hoagy Carmichael’s standard “The Nearness of You,” and this jazzy update of the Delmore Brothers’ Country classic “Blues Stay Away From Me.”

You May Like

Video Indiana Controversy Points to Divergent Notions of Religious Freedom

Gay-marriage opponents are looking for ways to maintain their beliefs in face of changing culture, one writer says More

UNICEF Denies North Korean Measles Outbreak

Agency dismisses Russian media report after government, WHO assurances More

Turkey Seen Taking Harder Stance Against Militant Kurds

Stance comes as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is being seen as moving closer to generals More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedomi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 01, 2015 1:41 AM
Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Welcome Buhari's Return to Power

Crowds of jubilant Nigerians nationwide have celebrated the return to power of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. The retired army general won this year's presidential election with more than 2 million votes more than incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari's supporters hope he can strengthen the country's economy and security once he takes office in late May. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Gamma Ray Observatory to Open Soon in Mexico

American and Mexican scientists have completed construction of the world's largest gamma ray observatory, situated high in central Mexico’s Sierra Negra Mountain. The observatory's huge array of water-based detectors will soon start discovering secrets about black holes and supernovas. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

New in Music Alley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the latest edition of "Beyond Category" blues singer and guitarist Corey Harris performs with his band and talks about his travels in West Africa tracing the roots of the blues.