Inside the
Winter Issue:

Home Page

Happy Birthday Harry
and Season's Greetings
From The Circle Team

Harry Chapin
Foundation Maintains
"Just Do Something"

Remembering Harry:
A Collection of Rare Photos

Fan Fare

Nancy McCoy

Linda Mitchell

Hitting All
The Right Notes:
An Interview With
Big John Wallace

Run-DMC Star
Strikes a New Chord
With “Cat's in the Cradle”

Behind the Song:
Cat's in the Cradle

Finally... A
West Coast
Jen Chapin Tour!

Consider These Ideas For
Giving Gifts With Meaning
This Holiday Season

DC's Community Harvest
Strives To Provide
"Good Food For All"

Singer- Songwriter
Lea Creates Positive
Energy In Music
and Action

Click to read
the Fall 2003 Issue

Finally... A West Coast
Jen Chapin Tour!

by Bill Hornung

Stephan Crump and Jen Chapin performing at The Coffee Gallery Backstage in Altadena, California on their recent cross-country tour. Photos by Bettylou Steadman

It's understandable why Jen Chapin is happy to constantly perform around New York. She has built a strong network of East Coast fans. She's a native New Yorker. She and her husband, Stephan, live in New York. And New York, arguably, has the biggest talent pool into which to dive if you want to collaborate and grow as an artist (with the notable exception of California-bred Weird Al Yankovic).

But for Chapin devotees way out in the Land of Schwarzenegger, seeing Jen and Stephan perform live is about as rare as recalling a governor. OK, scratch that…. about as rare as the New York Yankees losing the World Series. Oops…. well, you know what I mean. We don't see much of them out here in the rugged West Coast where nearly half the people in the country live.

So it was a momentous occasion when Jen and Stephan added several West Coast dates to their recent tour that served as a warm up for the launch of Jen's new album Linger coming out in February 2004. The crowd at The Coffee Gallery Backstage in Altadena, California was enthralled with Jen and Stephan's performance. In fact, Jen commented during the show that the crowd was probably the best audience they had had during the six-week tour (take that, Long Island!).

While I've heard Jen and Stephan perform at various WHY-related events, the California gig was the first time I got a full two-hour shot of the duo. Jen's voice and lyrics blend with Stephan's acoustic bass to create an inseparable tone that's uniquely their own. The soulful and simple sounds – as featured on the latest Open Wide CD – also stand out as a soothing departure from most of today's over-produced music. In short, it's great to be mesmerized by music once again.

Although, let's face it, the audience has a lot to do with the music, too. And all of us Westerners, particularly here in Southern California, proved we could fill the venues as aficionados of Jen and Stephan's music. Sure, Jen and Stephan had to compete with the World Series blaring in the background at a few stops. But these slight interruptions didn't get in the way of a tour that Jen describes as nearly perfect (undoubtedly due to the cute, well-groomed and intelligent West Coast fans).

During a recent "email interview," Jen reflected on the tour that took her through America's heartland as she prepares for next year's big launch of Linger.

Circle!: Now that you have the long tour behind you, what's your reflection of life on the road? The good and the bad?

JC: As a road trip, this was pretty close to perfect. We made time to stop at about five national parks including Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon. We got to visit several wonderful old friends; we got to spin a lot of CDs that we don't have time to play at home; and we saw beautiful country and met some great people. I think the structure of having close to 30 dates we had to get to actually helped rather than hindered the sightseeing. It made us have to make clear choices. There is so much to see in this country that you can't do it all anyway.

The only bad part was that while all of our audiences were very kind, some of them were quite small! Even with a publicist working on press and radio, and with a good number of Harry fans coming out of curiosity, it's still very hard to get people out to hear new music. So sometimes it was tough to sustain the energy necessary for performance when you are not getting so much back.

Circle!: Had you spent much time out west prior to the tour? What were your impressions going through Oregon, Washington, California, Arizona, etc.? Any particular memories of places you stopped?


JC: I've been in California several times and Steph and I have had a few shows in the Bay area before. I have been in some of the other places but not for concerts. We loved making a little detour to Crater Lake in Oregon—it is an amazing, pristine, deep-blue lake, and we got to throw a few snowballs!

It was nice to drive through the desert but I have to admit it freaks me out a little bit to see the strain we are putting on the environment there--especially on the rivers that are getting sucked dry. In wealthy Sedona, Arizona we saw misting machines spraying water down over shop awnings so that people need not be slightly inconvenienced walking between shops in 80-degree weather. Meanwhile farmers and fishers up the Colorado are finding their livelihoods strangled by a declining water supply let alone the wildlife. And, of course, now there are the fires. It sounds New Age-y to say it, but many times I think we need to just listen a little more to what the earth has to say as we build and develop our communities.

Circle!: Were the West Coast (or Midwest) crowds generally any different than the East?

JC: There is a little bit more openness to ears in smaller towns outside the NYC area, I think, perhaps because here in New York there is so much going on at all times that people just have to shut down a little. We love to play in small towns, whether it's Asbury Park, New Jersey or Chehalis, Washington.

Circle!: A highlight of the tour had to be signing your multi-album contract with Hybrid Recordings in Storm Lake, Iowa. How did it come to pass in Storm Lake? Was it uneventful via FedEx, or was it an in-person thing?

JC: Well, by the time I signed the contract it was more a formality than anything else. The lawyers hadn't been able to finish dotting the "I's" and crossing the '"T's" by the time we left for the tour, so they had to send it to me when I was in Iowa. Meanwhile, the Linger album master was already at the factory being manufactured and the relationship with Hybrid was already unfolding. They are good people--quite different from the cynical characters we think of in the music biz today.

Circle!: Now that you have launched a new legion of fans throughout the West Coast, when do you and Stephan plan to move out this way?

JC: It would be great to build a fan base out there, but I am a New Yorker through and through!

Jen Chapin's powerful lyrics about life, relationships, her love for New York City and her wish for the pain to go away after 9-11 are among the highlights in her and Stephan Crump's Open Wide CD. To order go to the Chapin Family Store at
Jen Chapin's eagerly awaited full band CD, "Linger" is due to be released in February of 2004. For those who want a sneak peek of what's to come, Jen has produced "MbM," an EP that includes three tracks from "Linger" along with two bonus tracks. The EP will be available soon through her website at


Editor's note: Jen Chapin recently signed a multi-album deal with Hybrid Records. The Linger album, which features Jen's full band, will be the first release in February 2004. Circle! will include more information about the album in the next issue.

Watch for the Next Issue of Circle! on March 7