A Q&A with Jeremy Chapman
Published October 5, 2021
Jeremy Chapman —mandolin-player in the family bluegrass band, The Chapmans—
co-owns The Acoustic Shoppe (a NoteWorthy Music sponsor) in Springfield, Missouri. Jeremy joins us today to share about growing up in a family band, their TV show The Ozark Music Shoppe (every Sunday on KOZL), and the upcoming Ozark Music Camp at Still Waters Lakefront Resort in Branson, Missouri, October 7-10.
Welcome, Jeremy, and thank you for joining us.
~Bambi Grinder, NoteWorthy Music
NWM: Please introduce yourself, briefly, as a musician and human of Earth.
Jeremy: My name is Jeremy Chapman, and I am the middle child of the family/bluegrass band known as The Chapmans. My role in the band is as the mandolin player and tenor singer. I’m also a co-owner with my two brothers in The Acoustic Shoppe, an acoustic instrument store in Springfield, Missouri.
NWM: Please share a unique childhood experience that you feel helped contribute to who you and your music are today.
Jeremy: My father and older brother started out playing music a few years before I picked it up. Having them both playing around the house and at festivals got me excited to join in on the fun. Growing up in Colorado, we used to attend the Rocky Mountain Bluegrass festival, where my time was split playing in the dirt at the fairgrounds and sitting on the front row watching Red Knuckles and the Trailblazers close out the night. My parents never forced us to pick up an instrument but definitely were encouraging when we showed any sign of interest.
We used to attend the Rocky Mountain Bluegrass festival, where my time was split playing in the dirt at the fairgrounds and sitting on the front row watching Red Knuckles and the Trailblazers …
NWM: Name three things that make you smile.
Jeremy: Starbucks coffee. My kids 4, 5, and 6. And watching the Punch Brothers live. I better put my wife Shaylon in there before Starbucks.
NWM: What was your first concert as a fan?
Jeremy: The first I can remember was The Rocky Mountain Bluegrass festival where we tent camped, got to see top level national bands, and jamming all night.
NWM: What is a favorite of your songs? Please tell us a little bit about it.
Jeremy: I really enjoy performing ‘El Cumbanchero’. We get to have a lot of fun playing around with the song live, and it was a song I remember getting to see Jim & Jesse McReynolds perform live as a kid.
NWM: After a life on the road, the Chapmans settled down in Springfield, Missouri, where you opened The Acoustic Shoppe, a source for acoustic instruments and in-person and online learning. Sharing experiences and knowledge is at the heart of what you do.
Please tell us about this and the importance of teaching to you.
Jeremy: Teaching is what actually led to opening the retail shop. When we weren’t on the road touring, we would have some local fans and musicians ask for a lesson here or there. That led to us getting a teaching schedule at a couple of the local stores, and I quickly learned how much I enjoyed sharing what I have learned over the years, and also how much teaching, and explaining how and why I play something the way I do, helped me improve as a musician.
Teaching is what actually led to opening the retail shop.
NWM: What were some of the challenges and rewards of being a family band?
Jeremy: There was always the challenge of being taken seriously as musicians, with the title of family band. Early on in Colorado, our musician friends took us to task by reminding us that we would only be young and cute for so long, so we better focus on learning how to keep up with the best of them if we wanted to be successful past those early years where everything we did got applause. It really helped shape our mindset and try our best to compete on the merits of our music and not on the family aspect only.
One of the best rewards has been getting to see and experience so much of the world with our dad along as our history buff tour guide.
NWM: What is the best piece of advice you have ever received that you actually follow?
Jeremy: See the ‘Cuteness will wear off’ advice above.
NWM: The Chapmans will host the first ever Ozark Music Camp at Still Waters Lakefront Resort in Branson, Missouri, October 7-10. Instructors include renowned instrumentalists Ron Block, Kristin Scott Benson, Alan Munde, Danny Roberts, and of course, The Chapmans.
Share a little about the camp, what prompted its creation, and why it is important to you.
Jeremy: We have been instructors in camps and workshops before and have thought for a number of years that hosting a camp would be a great extension of our lesson program. It really took the prodding and event planning skills of our buddy and partner Brian Wright to get the ball rolling.
We wanted the camp to be somewhat of a hybrid music camp and family vacation.
We wanted the camp to be somewhat of a hybrid music camp and family vacation. The Ozarks offer such a great setting for a family getaway, and the Still Waters Resort was the perfect venue to bring along family members who may not be a part of the music sessions but can still have a great time on the lake, with all the resort amenities (games, pools, campfires, fishing.)
We planned out our schedule to allow all family members to take advantage of the location to make it a real vacation, while still doing our best to make certain that the attendees leave the camp better musicians than they came, with a whole new outlook on how to progress, and plenty of material to work on until next year’s camp.
NWM: We often like to ask seasoned bluegrass players for their thoughts on ‘truegrass’: Where is the line—or is there a line—between paying homage to the early greats and embracing the evolutionary alchemy of styles and genres?
Jeremy: Thankfully, we grew up on the real traditional side of bluegrass and expanded out from there. When we first started playing festivals, the forefathers of bluegrass were still out performing. Bill Monroe, the Osborne Brothers, Jim & Jesse, Jimmy Martin, Ralph Stanley. … We got to watch these legends perform the songs we grew up listening to on LPs as kids.
We never understood the need to pigeonhole musicians into an easy-to-fit genre.
That said, we also got to see the evolution of the music with Doyle Lawson, IIIrd Tyme Out, Lonesome River Band, Tony Rice, then more progressive groups like California, Continental Divide, etc. We never understood the need to pigeonhole musicians into an easy-to-fit genre. I love listening to Del McCoury as much as the Punch Brothers or David Grisman. I don’t feel the need to define who is actually bluegrass…
NWM: The Chapmans won the International Bluegrass Music Association’s 2002 Emerging Artist Award, have appeared throughout the U.S., Europe, and other countries, including Vienna, Austria, performed on the Grand Ole Opry, and at the Ryman Auditorium.
What has been a particularly memorable or rewarding experience of your career so far?
Jeremy: I think the first tour in Europe, first time performing at the Ryman, and the first performance at the Grand Ole Opry all would have to be at the top of the list. Each one of those experiences will forever live in each of our favorite memories list.
One of the most rewarding things about touring in the bluegrass world would have to be the relationships we’ve been able to build with some of our musical heroes. It’s great when you get a chance to meet someone you’ve looked up to musically and to forge friendships and mutual respect for what you are doing as a musician. The comradery with the musicians is the thing I probably miss the most about being on the road.
NWM: Who might we be surprised to find on your playlist?
Jeremy: I have a diverse taste in music, so you would find anything from classical music, to Rage Against the Machine, Punch Brothers to Panic at the Disco. My bluegrass playlist covers just about all stages from the original traditional bluegrass to Béla Fleck.
NWM: In addition to playing live, running your shop, teaching lessons, and hosting your upcoming music camp, you also have a television program called The Ozark Music Shoppe.
Please tell us about this show, its creation, conception, and focus, and share a few highlights.
Jeremy: We have been airing new episodes of The Ozark Music Shoppe every Sunday on KOZL for more than five years now I think. There were a couple of variations of a bluegrass themed show on the channel for a few years, and when they were no longer able to continue, we were approached about keeping the time slot and producing our own show.
I have a diverse taste in music, so you would find anything from classical music, to Rage Against the Machine, Punch Brothers to Panic at the Disco.
We had already made a significant investment in our video production for our YouTube Channel where we review and highlight our gear, so we jumped at the chance to use the gear to make a TV show.
Because of our long history touring as The Chapmans, we made friends with a lot of the bands in the bluegrass industry who we’re able to call upon to come by the shoppe when they are in the area and film an episode. We usually feature two or three songs from the band and an interview. It’s a great way to introduce these performers and acoustic music in general to a big audience and to give long time fans a place to keep engaged.
NWM: What are your non-musical gifts/talents?
Jeremy: A couple off of the top of my head … I can juggle, and I am pretty handy with carpentry and working with my hands, which has come in handy with the shoppe remodel.
NWM: With the surge of the Delta variant and mounting difficulties and challenges in the United States and throughout the world, cautious optimism wanes. To us, it seems prudent to pause a moment, take a breath, and take stock of our own well-being and those things for which we are thankful.
From the Beatles and the Troggs to Bryan Adams to Snow Patrol, music has long suggested love is the answer. Considering gratitude as an expression of love, do you share that draw to live in gratitude in the face of such challenges? And if so, how does gratitude manifest in your life and work?
Jeremy: It is definitely something that has helped me personally, as well as my brothers and I as business owners to make it through difficult times and to reach the levels of success that we have so far. The amount of support we have received since starting the business from vendors, artists, and customers is something we are so thankful for, knowing that we couldn’t have done what we have without them.
I can juggle, and I am pretty handy with carpentry and working with my hands.
Each of us have families of our own that have been so supportive of the extra work hours and ups and downs of owning a business that keep us going. We’re also all thankful that we can continue working in the music industry in a new role that allows us to be home with our families rather than spending months out on tour.
NWM: What’s next for The Chapmans?
Jeremy: Once shows and festivals can get back to some normalcy, we hope to start putting together some small tours to stay connected with our friends and fans across the country. We had a couple dates scheduled for 2020 that have been postponed until 2022, so fingers crossed that those don’t get pushed another year.
As of the Acoustic Shoppe, we’re still growing, adding new staff members and developing new outlets for our lesson program online, adding new lines of instruments to our shop, and producing new and different content for our show and online social media.
Since he was a boy, Jeremy Chapman has been a member of the family bluegrass band, The Chapmans—winners of the International Bluegrass Music Association’s 2002 Emerging Artist Award—appearing throughout the U.S., in Europe, and on the Grand Ole Opry. He is co-owner of Springfield, Missouri’s The Acoustic Shoppe—host of The Ozark Music Camp.
Jeremy has been a performing musician since the age of 10 and is a longtime instructor—teaching 30-plus students per week. “It’s just hard to explain what it means to have always had music, in all these facets, throughout my life,” he says.
Visit The Acoustic Shoppe at https://www.theacousticshoppe.com/
You may enjoy our previous 20:20 with Ron Block
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