Marshall Chapman: Big Lonesome

Tall Girl
Music •••• Sound •••


Marshall Chapman’s seventh studio album since I first wrote about her for this publication (circa Jaded Virgin in — egad — 1978) functions as a memorial for the late Tim Krekel, a Nashville session stalwart who was a longtime friend and collaborator. (The album was conceived as a Chapman-Krekel duet project.) As difficult as it may be to say, Big Lonesome is a rather convincing validation of Bob Dylan’s famous assertion that “pain sure brings out the best in people,” by which I mean this may be the strongest collection that Chapman has ever come up with.

It helps that she gets stellar support from the likes of Will Kimbrough (formerly a guitarist in my favorite-ever Nashville alt-rock band, the Bis-Quits), and Krekel himself shows up on vocals — by way of a recently completed tape from 1999 — on the charmingly honky-tonkish title track. The new songs are not only consistently moving but verbally felicitous, which we expect from Chapman. In addition, there’s a kick-ass live bonus track (“I Love Everybody”) and a cover of Hank Williams’s “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” that could induce tears in a large rock.