(HUDSON, N.Y.) – Singer-songwriter Jen Chapin brings her unique style of soulful, jazzy “urban folk” to Club Helsinki Hudson on Sunday, August 13, at 7pm, as part of the Rogovoy Salon, a new music and literary series curated and hosted by cultural journalist and music critic Seth Rogovoy.
“Jen is a remarkable songwriter, an untouchable vocalist, and one of our greatest song interpreters,” says Rogovoy, explaining why he chose Jen Chapin for the monthly Rogovoy Salon. “While to some extent to the manor born, Jen has totally carved out her own unique path, with her vocals that owe as much to jazz artists including Billie Holiday, Nina Simone, and Cassandra Wilson as to any folk singers; her compositions that are likewise infused with soul influences of Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, and the Motown sound; all delivered as if she were a new-folk singer-songwriter, except that she’s not. She defies genre in a similar way to her fellow Brooklynite, Norah Jones.”
Jen Chapin, who performed several memorable concerts in the original Club Helsinki listening room in Great Barrington, Mass., has been celebrated for writing “brilliant soulfully poetic urban folk music” (NPR) for well over a decade, beginning with her stunning debut album, “Open Wide,” in 2002, followed up by “Linger” in 2004, which featured such sensual numbers as “Good at Love” and “Little Hours” alongside her sociopolitically charged “Passive People” and her poignant 9/11 eulogy, “Hurry Up Sky.” The song “Let It Show” on 2006’s “Ready” was one of her first songs dealing with the responsibilities of parenthood, while the title track once again was a sultry, bedroom number.
Nurtured in and around New York City by a large family of artists, writers, and musicians, Chapin’s “observant, lyrically deft, politically aware and emotionally intuitive” (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel) songwriting features her gorgeous, gritty vocals and the accompaniment of Brooklyn’s finest jazz musicians, solidified by appearances on Late Night with Conan O’Brien, NPR’s Mountain Stage, WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour, WFUV’s Sunday Breakfast with John Platt, Mary Sue Twohy’s Folk Village, and the Bob Edwards Show on Sirius Satellite.
As much as an artistic legacy, the roots of Chapin’s upbringing have inspired her “potent, jazzy, layered folk” (Newsday) songs and a lifetime of passionate activism, through ongoing work with WhyHunger (founded by her late father, Harry Chapin), and other food justice groups.
Chapin has performed on stage with Bruce Springsteen and on bills with Aimee Mann, Bruce Hornsby, and the Neville Brothers. Her rendition of Van Morrison’s “Into the Mystic” was recently featured in an episode of the SyFy TV series “Defiance,” and her song “Go Away” was honored by the USA Songwriting Competition.
Chapin’s album “Reckoning,” produced and engineered by five-time Grammy Award-winner Kevin Killen (U2, Elvis Costello, Kate Bush), is a collection of urban folk/jazz/pop storytelling songs, reckoning with the challenge of balancing creative ambitions with the immediate demands of mothering small children, combined with a good dose of social commentary. Chapin has also released “Revisions,” featuring a dozen covers of Stevie Wonder songs, in 2009.
The Rogovoy Salon is a new, monthly series featuring musicians, writers, and artists hand-picked by Seth Rogovoy. Each event will be hosted by Rogovoy and include conversation and Q&A with the artists when appropriate. For over 20 years, Rogovoy has contributed a weekly cultural commentary for WAMC Northeast Public Radio Network. Rogovoy has been a cultural journalist and music critic based in the Berkshires and Upper Hudson Valley for 35 years, and is a contributing editor at the national Jewish newsweekly the Forward. Rogovoy is the artistic director of the annual YIDSTOCK: Festival of New Yiddish Music at the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Mass., and is currently working on a special project for Carnegie Hall, to be staged in spring 2019. His books include “Bob Dylan: Prophet Mystic Poet” (Scribner) and “The Essential Klezmer” (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill). Rogovoy lives in Hudson, N.Y.
For reservations in The Restaurant or in the club call 518.828.4800.