Recent Album Review by Michael Higgins (St. Louis, MO) "WATCHIN' THE WORLD GO BY" by Jeff Chapman. JEFF CHAPMAN comes from scoreboard country. 43 miles east of St. Louis, Greenville, IL houses the planet's largest privately owned scoreboard company. Locals say that's a good thing. They'll also tell you that if you're really keeping score, Jeff's blues age better than a fine French pinot. WATCHIN' THE WORLD GO BY, Chapman's third CD -- and first in seven years -- is a heartily welcomed reemergence. A 22 year veteran of the STL blues scene, "Big Jeff" (as local soul great Marcell Strong pegged him), has always delivered a wonderful crossmix of blues. But with his husky, gospel-driven voice and latest studio ensemble, these vintage sounds quickly stir the ears. One wondered where he'd gone to. After BIG JEFF'S BLUES VOL. 1 (2009) and the equally sharp VOL. 2 (2010), he disappeared. Actually, a 2011 work injury not only snared his day job, it left his world spinning in circles. But blessings come in disguise, and the good news is the un-welcomed layoff has helped score his best sounds yet. Right from the start, Chapman sets a passionate tone. The horn-backed braiser 'From Nothin', testifies to his pursuant love for music. 'Somebody Else's Money' smartly follows. Greased by Matthew Lawder's stinging, BB King-esque guitar and Kevin Reeves' tight piano, a song about fiscal limbo turns a hard learned lesson into a true blues dance. But straight blues aren't the only primer. As a church toddler, Chapman not only mouthed along to his parents gospel groups, he soaked in their love for country. Early songs by Johnny Cash and Merle Haggard blossomed into a teenage nod for Waylon Jennings, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and Blood Sweat and Tears. Those influences are stamped throughout. For example, 'Best Of Me', a country-inspired love ballad, beckons to his years long wife and soulmate Deb. Yet, the rebel-rocking 'You've Changed' shakes tail feathers loose when a loving mistress switches gears on their playhouse's foundation. Chapman also skillfully works in some new covers. Though his previous work has always been original, versions of the late Michael Burks' 'Don't Waste My Time' and Elvin Bishop's 'My Dog' help breathe life's full spectrum into the CD. In fact, fulfillment of life holds strong on WATCHIN'... Even the trance-like title track lays it out as Big Jeff bemoans how "the meter keeps on ticking". Finally, it would be a crime to not praise the great musicianship. A couple of old standbys, Jerry Chapman (Big Jeff's brother) and Ian Baird (who also co-produces), bring their A-game as usual. But even more revealing are the STL first timers, though they really aren't. Matthew Lawder (gtr, Marquise Knox) and Brian Massey (bs, Hard Tale Blues Band, Brother Jefferson Band) have played local shows with Chapman for more than a decade. So has drummer and executive producer Derek Bonn (Hard Tale Blues Band, Paul Bonn). Chapman openly credits Bonn for lighting a spark to get back in the studio. And even though this is everyone's first combined studio work, the mix is sharp and jells to the fullest. The years of local gigging are self-evident. Every musician involved has contributed greatly to the ongoing St. Louis blues renaissance. WATCHIN' THE WORLD GO BY is a well spun tapestry of passions, hardships and constant faith. It also celebrates life's small things that stabilize love. It's great to know that Jeff Chapman and gang are moving that musical journey forward. It's been too long since we've had the pleasure of hearing Chapman's stories and voice. So the spin is all yours for the taking. In fact, just like the folks in Greenville say, "the scoreboard don't lie." Great sounds await. ENJOY!”

— Michael Higgins - St. Louis, MO

Two things you are assured of when Jeff Chapman takes the stage is true professionalism and that you'll hear Blues. When you witness Jeff with his Brother Jefferson Band you'll hear a proficient songwriter, vocalist, guitar player who has surrounded himself with accomplished and diverse musicians. Whether Jeff is playing Rockabilly, Memphis, Delta, Country, Chicago, Texas or Twelve-Bar Blues he does it his way which I find both soothing and inspirational.”

— Mark Audi ~ Illinois Central Blues Club Board Member

Brother Jefferson Band is a seasoned, professional band with a great sound and excellent catalog of music. We enjoyed their performance so much at the Bond County Bicentennial, that we booked them for the Bradford National Bank 150th anniversary celebration. A great band, sure to entertain any audience.”

— Randy Alderman ~ VP Bradford National Bank - Greenville, IL

Discography

Jeff Chapman - Watchin' The World Go By © 2017

Jeff Chapman - Watchin' The World Go By © 2017

Jeff Chapman - Big Jeff's Blues-Vol. 2 
© 2010

Jeff Chapman - Big Jeff's Blues-Vol. 2 © 2010

Jeff Chapman - Big Jeff's Blues-Vol. 1 © 2009

Jeff Chapman - Big Jeff's Blues-Vol. 1 © 2009

Chapman Bros. - LIVE! One Night In August © 2010 (out of print)

Chapman Bros. - LIVE! One Night In August © 2010 (out of print)



Big Jeff & The Smokers - Blues Covers For Blues Lovers © 2005

Big Jeff & The Smokers - Blues Covers For Blues Lovers © 2005