After two years in LA, musician Jeff Murray (S. Chaparral) worked with an indie gospel band and released a debut LP with Badabing Records, played Austin City Limits 2015, a live KEXP session, and earned a spot with Billions Booking Agency.
He left the band with his anonymity and a handful of songs, but decided to contact producer, Matt Wignall (Cold War Kids, J Roddy Walston, Deep Sea Diver, Sam Outlaw) to record an EP. When it was done, he was left with, “A Hymn Alone”, an exploration of relationships, growing up, religion, and the places that define us.
Musically, the project of S. Chaparral is raw and focused with it’s songwriting. A Hymn Alone sounds like classic rock deep-tracks dug up from the likes of Bob Seger, Van Morrison, Neil Young, or Tom Petty. S. Chaparral’s tracks like “She Told Me” and “Bet You Feel Smooth” blaze onward with energy and passion and furor. “Never Taking It” carries the scene of a cross-country caravan, with the melodies of the saxophone and piano to help lead the way. The grand track of “Canyon” is an epic accomplishment that unleashes the potential of it’s slow-buildup, while ruminating on nostalgia and returning home, only to find yourself alone.
With elements of folk and rock, gospel and pop, it’s something new for the American catalogue. It’s simple with its scope, combining accessibility, quality songwriting, and originality, and it achieves each of these.