Stoneskipper Makes the Jump

Stoneskipper album cover. Vinyl record limited run exclusive for sale, as well as digital downloads available at Image courtesy of Stoneskipper Sound

Topanga local Brian Chapman’s EP makes loud statements by being decidedly delicate.

Stoneskipper’s eponymous EP is mood music in the best way be it sunrise, sunset, nursing a hangover or a broken heart

Admittedly, at slightly under 30 minutes, the band doesn’t offer too many looks, sonically. There isn’t an obligation to do so with the songs crafted as well as they are. Love and relationships serve as the thematic structure for the album, making the songs more a meditation on a subject than a collection of singles.

“Crooked Line” kicks off most deliciously. Lush acoustic guitars supporting a slide guitar that Dwayne Allman could wish he wrote himself. Marty Rifkin chips in nicely with the pedal steel guitar with a nice assist from John Nau on the keys. A wonderful calling card for Brian Chapman who gets help with the heavy lifting on this, his first album. Vocally, Chapman cribs the attitude of outlaw country and a little blue-eyed soul without doing an impression of either.

“Stay in These Arms” channels Jennings, both Shooter and Waylon, if one was less depressed and the other lived at the beach. It’s a good thought exercise while you listen. The whole album feels lived in. Music from an older era but with attitude of a younger time.

“Hold So Tight” is a proper apex with dramatic strings from Steve Kaye and cutting vocals from Claire Chapman. “Midnight Couchette” has Ben Gibbard-inspired acoustics that require introspection. The real beauty of the album is the shades of gray in sound and lyrical content Chapman and Co. are giving the listener.

The EP closes on a proper note with “Looking for the Sun,” apparently a long-lost B-side from “Led Zeppelin III.” Expertly produced. You can hear everything.

Short and sweet, the Stoneskipper EP is a quick listen that’s worth repeating. It’s also an album you may want to hear by yourself with the audio dynamics and the introspection it warrants. Sometimes it’s good to keep a few things for yourself.


JP Spence

JP Spence is a writer, screenwriter, and improviser living in Los Angeles. He previously served as the media critic for the Topanga Messenger and as Editor-In-Chief for the LA Valley Star. You can find Josh @JP_Spence on twitter or at any press screening.

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