Review: Marshall Chapman "Big Lonesome" & "They Came To Nashville"

Nowhere is Marshall Chapman's influence greater than in Nashville, Tennessee, and stories from the lives of her famous friends are the basis of Chapman's compelling new book "They Came To Nashville" and album "Big Lonesome." The book chronicles the lives of country stars you know, and the CD offers her personal reflections on the loss of a musical soulmate.
Chapman recorded almost all of the album "Big Lonesome" after her best friend in music, Tim Krekel, died in June 2009. However, the title track was recorded shortly before Krekel's passing, and he provided the cut's terrific vocal harmony. The title track - recoded using ADAT -  had been lost, but it was later found in steel player Tommy Spurlock's Austin garage and faithfully restored using ProTools. The cut is a fitting tribute to a master musician. In addition, Marshall Chapman has rarely sounded better.

"Down To Mexico" was recorded after a flight to Mexico six days after Krekel's death. The song is a somber love letter to her musical partner. "Going Away Party" and "Tim Revisited" travel much of the same musical path, and the latter is particularly stirring.

"Falling Through The Trees" is the finest song on the album. The lyrics combined with Chapman's stellar vocal performance provide evidence that even though the dreams of her friend died, Chapman realizes that she must pick herself up, cope with the loss and move forward.

The best chance for a radio chart hit might be "Riding With Willie." Marshall Chapman spent three days with her friend Willie Nelson while she interviewed him for her new book "They Came To Nashville" (Vanderbilt University Press). The book is an amazing walk through the lives of Chapman's famous Nashville musician friends, and the song "Riding With Willie" deserves to become an Americana and country chart hit. At the same time, Marshall Chapman's book is essential reading for any musician wanting to have a successful and fulfilling career in country music. The interviews contained in the book provide golden nuggets of information for both music fans and industry insiders.
After almost a dozen critically acclaimed albums, Marshall Chapman deserves to be called a living legend with the release of her new book and album. Although "Big Lonesome" is the name of her stellar new album, her precious musical gift and gracious southern personality ensure that Chapman never meets a stranger. 

"Big Lonesome" ends on a positive note with an unreleased live track called "I Love Everybody." Chapman's unbridled joy while being on stage is electric. While she's singing "I Love Everybody," it's obvious that the fans in the audience that day and the listeners of the album are all thinking the same thing: We love you, too, Marshall Chapman.

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