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Stephanie Chapman

This Song Is To You – 2009 (Pain in the Art)

Reviewed by Dawn Pomento

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CDs by Stephanie Chapman

One of the best things about this is that Stephanie Chapman wrote all the songs but one cover of a Johnny Cash tune. So not surprisingly, the songs are wonderfully suited to her voice. The debut CD kicks off with one of her strongest songs, Long Hot Summer, which manages to capture the essence of the title with simple lyrics. "No promises and no regrets, Just a busted-down, dusty brown Chevette, And the soft sounds of an AM radio."

The one song that threatens to strike a wrong note is Steely Dan, simply because of the unfortunate title. What at first listen seems like a novelty song is especially surprising because it follows one of the stand out songs, Cowboy I Tried, a sad song of failed love. But Steely Dan is actually a playful tribute to the man behind the pedal steel, Dan Dugmore. And if nothing else, he deserves a song in tribute because on Chapman's CD Dugmore's pedal steel or Dobro dances with Chapman's voice on almost every song. He's one of several talented musicians that support Chapman, including her husband on guitar, mandolin and other instruments. The sum is much greater than the parts on this honest and heartfelt CD.