English folk-singer-songwriter Michael Chapman died at the age of 80, Brendan Greaves, co-founder of Chapman’s label Paradise of Bachelors, told Pitchfork. The news was first posted on Chapman’s Instagram. A cause of death was not disclosed, but it was stated that Chapman died in his home. A note from Greaves and Paradise of Bachelors can be found below.
Michael Chapman was born in Leeds, England in 1941. Although he initially taught art and photography, his guitar playing quickly developed from a passion into a profession. With no access to teaching materials about guitar playing, Chapman often listened to other artists’ albums to teach himself to play the instrument. “You have to learn the language before you can start saying what you want to say,” he told The Bluegrass Situation Cornish Folk-Circuit in 2017.
Chapman’s debut album Rainmaker was released in 1969 and was the first of four albums to be released in quick succession: Fully Qualified Survivor and Window from the 1970s and Wrecked Again from 1971. When Chapman signed with Decca and his fifth studio album, Millstone Grit, from the year Released in 1973, he switched gears and played electric guitar, but even that sound didn’t define his thrust. He continued to explore roots music, particularly blues and folk, through acoustic and electrical – as well as instrumental and vocal – projects that demonstrated his skill.
Chapman has released over 40 albums over the course of his career, including two recent albums he released through Paradise of Bachelors: 2016 Steve Gunn Collaboration 50 and 2019 True North.