Marshall Chapman - The Tall Girl Skinny

APRIL 2010

This just in:

As we were going to press, the Tennessee State Supreme Court set an execution date of September 28, 2010, at 10:00 pm for Marshall’s friend Gaile Owens. This is officially now in the governor’s court. Marshall attended this morning’s press conference, in which Gaile’s son, Stephen, publicly asked Governor Bredesen to spare his mother’s life. We urge you to click HERE and sign the petition.


We’ve pretty much finished mixing the new CD, and now need YOUR help in choosing the cover! Click HERE to vote for your favorite, keeping in mind the CD’s title (Big Lonesome) and theme (a tribute to my friend Tim Krekel who died last June).

Book update: Yesterday we received word that the manuscript for my new book (They Came to Nashville) is being sent to the typesetters. How cool is that? Things are moving along.

Tall kudos to everyone involved with the off-Broadway production of Good Ol’ Girls, including those of you who managed to see the show. You guys rocked the house! Last Sunday was the final performance (after a two-month run), and plans are already in the works for more, so stay tuned.

Shana Feste, who directed Love Don’t Let Me Down (the movie in which I play Gwyneth Paltrow’s road manager) has another movie (her first as a director/writer) coming out this month. It’s called The Greatest and it’s getting great reviews. Chris and I saw it Sunday at the Nashville Film Festival and were completely blown away.

Thanks to everyone who came out to Greener Groundz for my show with Tommy Womack this past Friday in Bowling Green (KY) … and to the Southern KY Book Festival the next day.

See you at Music City Roots tomorrow night!

Ever your Tallness,

Marshall Chapman (signature)

P.S. And now here’s my friend Minton Sparks recounting our recent songwriting session with Gretchen Peters …

Reflections from Minton Sparks

Marshall Chapman - Tall Girl Skinny April, 2010 - Minton SparksMidnight. Booneville, Mississippi. A restless teenager in a knee-length Waylon Jennings T-shirt cracks open her bedroom window and exhales cigarette smoke into the black night. Mating frogs screech down by the pond. She’s still up ’cause she’s mad at her mama for cussing her during supper. Next door, a tailpipe scrapes the asphalt as his stretch limo roars up the long driveway. The young lady’s spied out this window before, watched that wavy blond-haired piano-playing son of a gun stumble up the steps, swear over his shoulder at the driver, then disappear into the dark of his house. Tomorrow morning, like clockwork, she’ll shampoo her hair, return to the window, watch that rascal pull an old piano onto his porch, and set some rock n’ roll on fire as he nurses a little hair-of-the-dog. You could call it “falling in love.”

“That scene could scar a girl for life,” Marshall declares after we gathered around her kitchen table recently to write a new song, “The Killer Next Door,” about Jerry Lee Lewis. The title came to Gretchen Peters late one Nashville night after Marshall’s Jerry Lee stories had inflamed us earlier at dinner. The high-water mark of Marshall’s narrative was listing Jerry Lee’s onstage essentials: a Bible, a bottle of vodka, and a pistol. After that, we knew we had a song.

Families fascinate me. Though we are not blood relatives Marshall, Gretchen, and I share a certain kinship. As we wrote this new song, I thought about Jerry Lee’s cousins – Mickey Gilley and Jimmy Swaggart – and wondered if they’d gathered around a similar table to write sermons or songs. As we finished “The Killer Next Door” I imagined us as mirror images of that unlikely triumvirate. Given my revivalist leanings, I would most likely be Jimmy Swaggart, Gretchen the gifted songwriter, would be Mickey Gilley, and of course Marshall, hands down, would play the part of Jerry Lee.

Click below to listen to our song!

Note: Marshall often refers to spoken-word artist Minton Sparks as “the illegitimate love child of Flannery O’Connor and Hank Williams.”

The GOOP …

Marshall Chapman - Tall Girl Skinny April 2010 - Marshall and Gwyneth PaltrowClick HERE (and scroll halfway down) to see what Gwyneth Paltrow has to say about Marshall.


Marshall Chapman - Tall Girl Skinny April 2010 - Flashback

Lone Star Cafe - NYC (1986). Johnny Adams, Katie ("Swamp Boogie Queen") Webster, Marshall, and Doc Pomus share a laugh. Photo: Joseph A. Rosen

Can you identify the hand (the one with the big ring on its little finger) in the lower right-hand corner of this photo? HINT: Photo was taken during the “Musical Cajunization of Manhattan” in the summer of 1986. Send guesses to Winner(s) will be announced in the May TGS.

Pearl Drop

Marshall Chapman - Tall Girl Skinny April 2010 - Pearl Drop

Hummingbird Hall of Fame!

Marshall Chapman - Hummingbird Hall of FameCurrent inductees (friends who forwarded the newsletter) are:

Darnell Arnoult, JP Baehr, Crista Bailey, Katherine Bilotti, Tammy Boclair, Sheila Bunn, Helen Burnett, Winkie Crigler, Nancy Crow, Jo Doster, Chris Fletcher, Joe Gallivan, Vicki Hardy, Linda Hart-Anderson, Jim Hoehn, Carla Lockhart, Robert Presthus, Jennifer Rawlings, David Herbert Roberts, Erin Seay, Mary Ruth Shell, and Lalitha Vadlamani-Simmers.

Special honorary status goes to Paula Baker, Brenda Sanchez, and Butter Wilson Birkus for their help above and beyond.

Subscribe to The Tall Girl Skinny