Folksinger, guitarist Jim Chaps operates from a niche in music that brings life to historical poetry. Verse 2: Star-Spangled Banner, Concord Hymn, World Laughs With You, Sending Love and Seeking Truth are notable songs. Jim’s fourth album “UNHINGED” is being released from July 17 – July 31. Songs are appearing on the Jim Chaps YouTube channel – Playlist UNHINGED. Full release to the streaming sites happens July 31. The UNHINGED project features modernized and remastered songs from Jim’s first three albums. Jim Chaps is also one-third of the group PeaceFoals (with band mates Cory Cocco and Brandon Zachary) and co-inventor and developer of GuitarArcs™ arch-shaped guitar picks – “These will encourage all guitarists, especially new players and people with injury or dexterity challenges. They solve pick-dropping and pick-slipping…. You can WALE with these!”.
Jim’s album Triple Treat (2013) is a collection of original lyrics and some public domain words by obscure, historic poets. Jim composed new music for the words and presents them in acoustic coffeehouse-fashion. Among the songs are The Sea, an 1800’s-era poem learned by Jamaican school children and World Laughs With You, lyrics being the Ella Wheeler-Wilcox poem Solitude. The album showcases poetry and motion, Flow is a combination of Jim and Wheeler-Wilcox words, inspired by enjoyment of healthy living, yoga, sports and music. Jim plays acoustic guitars and guilele (pr. gui-LAY-lay) a hybrid guitar/ukulele throughout the album. Rippling Shore a soothing instrumental with a Mayan ocean drum creating sounds of the waves.
A PeaceFoals Holiday EP of four traditional Christmas songs streams steadily year-round ever since it was released in November, 2012. “It is amazing, we recorded it into a single microphone, totally old-school, one-take. The levels were really soft, so the post production added some warmth and reverb – it ends up sounding really great through ear-buds and people love the acoustics and harmonies,” says Jim. “Brandon and Cory are so genuine and their vocals are really great. Cory goes low on Silent Night and you hear people comment – give us more Cory! Brandon’s arrangement for Come On To Bethlehem is really a modern classic. We’ll revisit that one for sure – it’s such a positive song based upon the traditional O Come All Ye Faithful.”
Sub-titled Folk Music Renaissance, the Second album (2007) contains original music and lyrics You Are Here and Love at Second Sight and cover songs like Three Wooden Crosses (Recorded by Randy Travis, written by Doug Johnson and Kim Williams), Riding For A Fall (Chris LeDoux). New arrangements of traditional public domain songs: Acoustic National Anthem (Verse one of The Star-Spangled Banner by Key, music by Stafford-Smith), Old Kentucky Home (words and music by Stephen Foster) and Concord Hymn (words by Ralph Waldo Emerson; music traditional – ‘Old 100’ aka/melody of ‘Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow’). Jim’s live guitar and vocals of Acoustic National Anthem for a Grapefruit League game between the Detroit Tigers and Cincinnati Reds, in Sarasota in 2005, sparked Jim’s quest to present Star-Spangled Banner as a full, contemporary song. Acoustic National Anthem 4-verses (2012) serves as a gap-project, leading to Jim’s discovery in 2013 of the fifth verse by Oliver Wendell Holmes (to complete the 1814-written words of Key) during The Civil War.
Jim’s project/cd First (2004, subtitled Fresh Folk Music) includes 12 original songs and begins with spoken words “Hello, I’m Jim Chaps and this is a song called New York for Firemen.” Jim performed New York For Firemen at the dedication of “Sean S. Hanley Way” (a firefighter victim of 9/11) on Staten Island June 19, 2004. Jim’s best-selling iTunes song the flamenco guitar solo, Man With Blue Guitar appears also on First. (The Wallace Stevens poem The Man With The Blue Guitar inspired the poems-to-music aspect of Jim’s songwriting.)
Jim was born in Detroit. He began writing and performing in the 1970s. At age 18 he performed at The Hinge, a college coffeehouse at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. He has earned a masters degree and is patent holder with his brother Dave. Jim was a YMCA Healthy Living Director, enjoys sports and coaching and cherishes the writings of great poets. Jim lives in southwest Florida finding inspiration and beauty in Florida’s forests and coastal surroundings.
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