Tom Chapin began his career in the early years of the folk music revival of the 1960’s, playing with his brothers, including his older brother Harry Chapin, who was becoming famous in the New York clubs and coffee houses frequented by such folk music legends as Bob Dylan and Joan Baez. From 1971 to 1975, he hosted “Make A Wish”, the ABC network’s Sunday morning TV program featuring folk music.
For those who don’t know, folk music is a genre of music steeped in tradition with lyrics that typically tell a story, usually sung with acoustic instruments, and exploring themes of life, love, joy and hope, often in a satirical way or with a socially relevant message. Beginning with the folk music revival in the 1960’s, American folk music has often been associated with political protest and social activism such as the Civil Rights movement, the Peace movement, the War on Hunger, and similar social justice causes.
Over the years Tom Chapin has become a folk music icon in his own right as a troubadour traveling the world singing, playing music, telling stories and entertaining audiences of all ages. Songs from Friday’s night show ranged from hits like “City of New Orleans”, “Cat’s in the Cradle” and “Circles” to more socially conscious fare like “In My Hometown”, “Common Ground” and “Give Peas a Chance”. After a fifty year career as a folk artist, time only seems to have mellowed Tom Chapin. His musicianship on traditional acoustic instruments, guitar, banjo, and autoharp, was remarkably fine.
The sponsor of Friday night’s concert, the Folk Sessions, has been described as one of the most eclectic radio shows in America. Founded in Prescott in 2002, by Tom Agostino and Alexa McDonald, the Folk Sessions, is broadcast throughout northern and central Arizona, on KJAZZ and Prescott Public Radio and is the area’s longest running radio program. Over the years the concerts they have sponsored have brought to the Prescott area over 350 folk artists including Tom Chapin, Rosanne Cash, Jack Williams and Rambin’ Jack Elliot.
The Folk Sessions will celebrate their 17th anniversary later this month with a gala event at the Elks Theater on February 23rd, featuring an afternoon of food, wine and music with some the areas’ top folk musicians. Tickets can be purchased at https://www.folksessions.com/concertstickets/4569867412