In a career that spans six decades, 27 albums and three GRAMMY awards, Hudson Valley Troubadour Tom Chapin has covered an incredible amount of creative ground. In addition to his work as a recording artist, concert performer, storyteller and activist, heʼs performed on Broadway and worked extensively in television, radio and film. As a music-maker, Chapin maintains two long and productive parallel careers, both as a respected contemporary folk artist and as a pioneer in the field of children’s music. During the height of the Covid shutdowns, Tom and his daughters The Chapin Sisters streamed 200 live concerts under the moniker “Mornings with Papa Tom.” All are archived on YouTube. The son of noted jazz drummer and teacher Jim Chapin and the grandson of author/critic Kenneth Burke and portrait painter James Chapin, Tom grew up in a family that encouraged artistic pursuits. He began performing professionally as a teenager in the early 1960s, playing in Greenwich Village folk clubs alongside his siblings Harry and Steve as The Chapin Brothers.
In 1971, he began a five-year run as the host of the Emmy- and Peabody award-winning ABC-TV children’s series Make A Wish. Chapin and his songs were also featured in the seminal 1970 documentary film Blue Water, White Death, for which he spent six months sailing the Indian Ocean searching for great white sharks. Chapin launched his solo recording career with 1976’s Life Is Like That. It was the first of a string of albums that further established his reputation as both a gifted storyteller and a natural entertainer, winning him an uncommonly loyal fan base in the process. He also continued to venture into other creative areas, playing the lead role in the hit Broadway musical Pump Boys and Dinettes, working off-Broadway as musical director of both Cotton Patch Gospel and Harry Chapin: Lies and Legends, and serving as host of TV’s National Geographic Explorer. He’s also written and performed satirical topical songs for National Public Radio’s Morning Edition, and had a cameo role as the Vice Presidential candidate in Jonathan Demme’s 2004 remake of The Manchurian Candidate. Chapin’s latest project is the 2023 Earth Day re-release of “This Pretty Planet,” the Grammy-nominated collection of environmental songs originally released in 2000. A soulful, powerful, playful and musically exciting environmental collection of original compositions, featuring new, re-recorded and classic Chapin tunes, re-mastered and ready for a new generation! Sadly, these songs are just as relevant now as when they were originally released. Simon and Schuster has released three childrenʼs books based upon his songs: This Pretty Planet, Library Song (The Library Book), and The Backwards Birthday Party.
Chapin also serves as narrator of a series of children’s books, three of which, Mama Don’t Allow, There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly and The Train They Call The City Of New Orleans, have won GRAMMY awards in the Best Spoken Word Album for Children category. In addition to his musical and media endeavors, Chapin has long been an advocate for environmental causes, issues of hunger and social justice, and a supporter of music and the arts in public schools. “The pandemic has forced us all to reinvent ourselves. I still love the guitar, I still love to sing, and I still love the thrill of creation: a good song, a good recording, a good concert.” Through it all, Tom never stopped writing smart, thoughtful, funny and beautiful songs for the folk audience, and Hold Our Ground is his 14th album in the genre. Created with the help and talents of old friends like longtime band mates Jon Cobert and Michael Mark, his harmonizing daughters Lily and Abigail, and co-writers Si Kahn, John Forster, John McCutcheon, and Scott Ainslie. “At 77, Tom Chapin is at the top of his game…an album that is warm, wise, whimsical, and anthemic — and very right for our times.” John Platt, host of “Sunday Supper” on WFUV-FM, Bronx, NY
“One of the great personalities in contemporary folk music.” – New York Times