Marshall Chapman (from the album Blaze of Glory) - Marshall Chapman can form words into life and on Blaze of Glory, she puts a lot of flesh to the skeletons that she has been unable to hide. “Waiting for the Music” is the best Behind-the-Music to date.The song peels back the curtain and gives the real back story on the other side of the music that singer/songwriters deliver. Marshall lets us in. She is the tour guide and the hands holding the pen and guitar sitting in the operating theatre.
Blaze of Glory opens with a riff that Marshall snagged from back when she was studying Willie and his Hand Jive dance moves. The track, “Love in the Wind”, puts Todd Snider and Marshall Chapman microphone to microphone. The words of both narrators make the song less a duet and more debate about the whys and wherefores of who is doing what to whom. The bass guitar leads the way into “Let’s Make Waves”. The track is Pure Pop in the vein of Nick Lowe but you get the feeling that Marshall is not interested in getting wet from either ocean….really, how much surfing goes on in the Cumberland River? Jazz and rock’n’roll meet on the persistent riff that walks through “Blues Stay Away From Me” and notes drop like rain on the roof in “Call the ‘Lamas” as Marshall informs anyone within hearing range that she DOES NOT read those trashy rags at the checkout stand.
Marshall Chapman has put together an album of sounds and sights in Blaze of Glory. It is a full album of listening pleasure, and should be heard that way. Listening to Blaze of Glory as singles does a great disservice to Marshall Chapman.
Life lessons via personal experiences are parceled out in Blaze of Glory; “Nearness of You” (“It’s not the pale moon that excites, that thrills and delights me”) makes you want to be the special someone on the receiving end of her words as does “I Don’t Want Nobody”, (“anybody standing in my kitchen is standing in my way”). Yep, Marshall is a love machine. Where Blaze of Glory takes a stand is for the legion of her peeps 40/50 and older that Marshall tags in her music.
Marshall Chapman outs herself and takes a stand. Sure, sixty is the new forty, but sixty still feels like sixty while you are brushing your teeth and at least halfway through your first coffee. Marshall Chapman closes out Blaze of Glory with two tracks that will inspire the more mature listener. “Not Afraid to Die” is less a look-at-what-I-have-accomplished and more a how-did-I live through-that moment. Marshall believes whole-heartedly in life, but if breathing takes an exit, she is ready. The title track captures words that we have heard in our head, no matter what your age. “Blaze of Glory” (the song) points out that with simple honesty that she “never intended to make it this far, never had a fall back plan”,
Marshall Chapman has delivered a career defining album that speaks to the spot she stands on her musical path, and her life. Marshall saw Elvis Presley perform in 1956. In 2013 she can still sell exactly how that felt.