Marshall Chapman

March 30, 2020


Produced by Neilson Hubbard; accompanists are Will Kimbrough and Dan Mitchell, along with Hubbard.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Marshall Chapman has been making records for longer than most of today's indie rockers have been alive. Songs I Can't Live Without is her 14th release, her eighth on TallGirl Records.


“I went through a lot of trauma five years ago, which had me telling myself and anybody else who’d listen, that I had retired from making music,” Chapman says. 


So Chapman turned to movies. In 2015’s Mississippi Grind, she plays the blues-singing mother of a gambler-drifter played by Ryan Reynolds. Before filming began, the producers asked her to record the Dan Penn and Donnie Fritts classic “Rainbow Road” with an up-and-coming young producer named Neilson Hubbard. Hubbard and Chapman hit it off. After the session, Hubbard suggested they record an entire album together.


“Little did we know that five years later, we would do exactly that,” Chapman says.


Recording an album of classics had always been on Chapman’s bucket list. “The songs I write have always been so personal,” Chapman says. “I needed a break. I was getting tired of living myself into a corner, just so I could write myself out.”  


Songs I Can’t Live Without begins with Leonard Cohen’s "Tower of Song,” which Chapman sings for the first time while recording it, and ends with “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands,” the first song she remembers singing as a child. In between are classics by Otis Blackwell, Goffin/King, J.J. Cale, Bob Seger, and even Chet Baker.


The singer-songwriter-author-actress was born and raised in Spartanburg, South Carolina. For the past 50 years, she’s mostly lived in Nashville. To date she has released 13 critically acclaimed albums, and Emmylou Harris, Joe Cocker, Irma Thomas, and John Hiatt are just a few who've recorded her songs. Over the years, she’s toured extensively on her own and opened shows for everybody from the Ramones to John Prine. She’s currently featured in an exhibit, Outlaws & Armadillos: Country’s Roaring ’70s, at the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum, running until February 14, 2021. Chapman is a contributing editor to Garden & Gun and has written for The Oxford American, Southern Living, W, Performing Songwriter, and the Bob Edwards Show (Sirius/XM). But “music,” she says, “is my first and last love.”


For Chapman news and musings, as well as announcements about her CDs, books and live appearances, visit her website: www.tallgirl.comSongs I Can’t Live Without will be available from the site on May 15,and also from Amazon, CD Baby, iTunes and select stores.




It’s a gift and a blessing that the Tall Girl has put a fresh frame around nine songs that none of us should have to live without. And there’s the added value of Her sermon at the end of “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” quite possibly halting the spread of COVID-19.

—Rodney Crowell


Over the 9 or 10 thousand gigs Marshall Chapman and I have ever done together, I’d hear her play her own brilliant songs and then she’d hit you with a Hoagy Carmichael number, or “Going Away Party” or any number of classic tunes. She didn’t just sing these songs, she inhabited them. If anybody calls Songs I Can’t Live Without a “covers album,” they deserve a smack in the mouth. It’s an eclectic array of renditions and shows Marshall Chapman not as a classic rock and country singer/songwriter, but as a razor-sharp interpreter (and reinventor) of classic songs. What’s maybe most amazing is that Marshall took these songs from all over the place and made them all flow like an opera. Extra points for the spoken-word section of “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” in which the Tall Girl pretty much sums up the world. 

—Tommy Womack


When I hear Marshall sing, I think of Marlene Dietrich. I love this record, Marshall!

Billy Swan

When Marshall (here in the South we pronounce it Maah-shul) asked me to offer up a few words about her new album, she explained it contained no originals, only "songs that have kept my soul alive over the years." I was not surprised then to discover most of those songs speak to the dark night of the soul, that ironically help pull us out of that darkness. They are the stuff of real life, the life Marshall has known only too well. It is the reason she writes the way she does, 

and why she knows a good song when she hears it.

Emmylou Harris


She is the princess of song pirates. She is Rapunzel in the Tower of Song. She will lift you up and break your heart. 

Dave Hickey, art critic                     


I can't live without Marshall Chapman's haunting, evocative and impossibly fresh Songs I Can't Live Without. She finds new phrasing, new meanings and new depths in these classics. No one sings like Marshall, her voice evokes a lifetime of living large and living to the edge, and giving all her heart. This CD is a treasure. 

—William Broyles Jr., American screenwriter(Apollo 13),  founding editor of Texas Monthly


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