Though bluegrass is a music in which tradition plays a vital role, it's also one which requires new generations to pick up the tradition and make it their own - and among the members of its newest generation, few are meeting the challenge with more talent and inspiration than The Chapmans. Together with their father Bill, the band's three brothers - John, Jeremy and Jason - have created a distinctive, dynamic sound that honors bluegrass tradition even as it extends it, and as their busy tour schedule and the chart performance of their latest album, Follow Me (Pinecastle), demonstrate, their musical approach and entertaining stage presence have won them fans across the country.
Though he is a member of the family's younger generation, this story of the band really begins with John Chapman. At 24, he's now the band's impressive guitarist and lead singer, but he began his career as a child fiddler, becoming skilled enough to win a Colorado statewide contest's junior division championship by the time he reached his early teens. His success with the fiddle prompted his father Bill to take up the banjo and, with John, start a bluegrass band with some family friends. Within a few years, the pastime had turned into a serious - and talented - ensemble, as John shifted to guitar and lead singing, while younger brother Jeremy began to master the mandolin and joined the group. With the boy's mother Patti handling the bass, The Chapmans became a self-sufficient bluegrass band, completing the evolution when youngest brother Jason added his voice to the mix and took up the upright bass.
Since the beginning of the 90s, when they established themselves through appearances in such modest venues as malls and county fairs, The Chapmans have honed their instrumental skills and polished their vocal abilities through extensive touring and a series of self-released recordings, By the beginning of 1998, the band was poised for a breakthrough onto the national scene, moving to Missouri to make national travel easier, With a victory at the 1998 International Bluegrass Band Championship held by SPBGMA and the release of their well-received first CD, Love's Gonna Live Here, The Chapmans moved onto the national stage, capping the year with a prestigious IBMA Would of Bluegrass showcase and signing with Pinecastle Records.
1999saw the release of The Chapmans' first Pinecastle album, Notes From Home. Produced by IIIrd Tyme Out's Ray Deaton, the CD earned a Highlight review in Bluegrass Unlimited, which called it "one of the most exciting new projects for 1999 and beyond," while Bluegrass Now called it "excellent... they've got a bright future" and the CD was nominated for SPBGMA's Album of the Year award. With a second SPBGMA nomination for Vocal Group of the Year and an award to John for Guitar Player of the Year, The Chapmans prepared for an exhausting round of personal appearances in 2000 at some of bluegrass's biggest, most highly-regarded festivals and venues, including Santa Fe Trails (Kansas City), Peaceful Valley (NY), Poppy Mountain (KY), Bean Blossom (IN), the IBMA's Fan Fest (Louisville, KY) and an entire series of shows at Dolly Parton's Dollywood entertainment complex in Pigeon Forge, TN, even as Notes From Home continues to receive widespread airplay.
In 2001, fans of The Chapmans eagerly awaited the release of their second project on Pinecastle, Follow Me, which quickly exceeded expected sales. In its second month, Follow Me arrived on the bluegrass radio Album Charts at No. 11, while "Losing Again" and "Follow Me to Tennessee" debuted on the song charts. The year also saw The Chapmans at more of bluegrass's most prestigious festivals including, Summersville (WV), Graves Mtn. (VA), Bass Mtn. (NC), and Ocean Lakes (Myrtle Beach, SC). They were also acknowledged by industry professionals with a nomination at IBMA for "Emerging Artists of the Year."
With powerful vocals, top-notch picking, a relaxed, humor-filled stage presence and a creative approach to bluegrass tradition that blends with innovation, The Chapmans are superbly qualified to carry bluegrass into the next century.
See what's being said about The Chapmans
Bill Chapman - 5 string banjo - guitar - sings baritone and low tenor
With his unique on-stage humor (what do you expect from a banjo player?) he connects with audiences like no one can. He has achieved notoriety in the bluegrass scene for a number of years as a banjo teacher and bluegrass promoter. Bill also owns and operates a small recording studio, recording for a variety of bluegrass groups. Bill is a Civil War and history buff. He spends a lot of time reading, and taking apart banjos to see what makes them work. If only you could do that with banjo players...
Jason Chapman - upright bass - sings lead and harmony vocals
At age 18 he's become a big part of the show on the bass, and is doing a super job. With a natural talent for solid timing and tasteful licks, he has really added a lot to the sound of the band. He also steps up the mic. on a few songs to sing lead and harmony vocals. He's still trying to get the band into Disney World, but refuses to wear mouse ears. Jason likes computer games - Dreamcast, The Sims, X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter. He also like Lego's, Star Wars books, and listening to Barry Bales.
John Chapman - guitar - fiddle and a bit of everything else - the bands lead singer
John first gained recognition winning fiddle contest in the Rocky Mountain Region. He has been captivating audiences with his powerful, expressive voice and heartfelt singing. Perceived on a nation level for his unique guitar style, he was awarded the SPBGMA Guitar Player of the Year award in Nashville, TN. At 24 he is a popular fixture at festivals and jam sessions wherever the family appears. He can always be found on BGRASS-L. John is into electronics - CDs, DVDs, CDRs, CDRWs, MiniDisc, THX, Dolby Digital, DTS, DAT, TIVO, Home Theatre Magazine and computers. He's also into Z-Z-Z-Zs - he likes to sleep.
Jeremy Chapman - mandolin - lead and harmony vocals
At 22, Jeremy has achieved notoriety for his rapid fire mandolin solos and his solid backup rhythm along with his warm well-blended "baritone" voice, which is heard in his lead and backup vocals. Aside from being the best dressed member of the band, he has maintained a reputation for entertaining folks with his slight-of-hand and dry sense of humor. His mandolin style is a successful blend of traditional and contemporary that can't be beat. He is also know as a treasure chest of useless information. Jeremy likes reading, Tomb Raider, football, Frisbee, working on the band's website, chess, Star Wars, drawing and movies.
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P.O. Box 344
500 Bluegrass Trail
Suwanee, GA 30024
Phone (770) 271-9056
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