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Marshall Chapman and I move in concentric circles: we both were Thetas, both live off of West End Avenue, both LOVE rock and roll, both recently immersed ourselves into the blog world and both run around like chickens with our heads cut off.  Where we differ is dramatic:  she’s  almost 6′ and blond, a musician and author, friend of  Gwyneth Paltrow and doesn’t have three kids calling her Mommy.  I have some additional feathers in my cap I could throw down – does being nominated for Miss Immaculate Conception count?  But hey, this post is about Marshall.

My first real conversation with Marshall was at a Christmas party in our neighborhood.  I reminded her I was the chair of the Bal d’ Hiver auction committee when she was our featured entertainer.  I agreed to be the auction chair for two reasons, my buddy, La-Voe, was the event chair, and Marshall was the entertainer.  How could you not be smitten with a band named Marshall Chapman and the Love Slaves? Of course, the upper echelon of the Theta guard wouldn’t allow us to put the phrase love slaves on the invitation!  No reputable Theta would ever associate with a love slave.  Or would they?

Here is what Marshall is doing these days, besides hanging out with Gwyneth and looking so put together in her pearls she may have to consider moving to Belle Meade.  I am not versed in all the different periods of her career, but I know enough to call this her prolific period. She has a new CD, Big Lonesome, and a new book, They Came to Nashville,scheduled for release in the fall.  In addition, the Off Broadway play Good Ole Girls is currently drawing rave reviews in New York, featuring 14 songs she wrote with Martraca Berg. One example of the play’s critical acclaim:

“You won’t find a more entertaining 90 minutes of first-rate country music, mixed with stories of gals who’ve been done wrong but keep right on going, than the exuberant off-Broadway revue,Good Ol’ Girls.” –  Jennifer Farrar-Associated Press

And while she is not creating or producing something, she is working tirelessly to get Gaile Owens off of death row.  Gaile and Marshall have been pen pals for some time after they met at the Tennessee State Prison.  Her passionate interest in Gaile’s pardon doesn’t spring from an anti-capital punishment sentiment, but a desire to right a wrong.  If put to death, Gaile will be the first woman executed in Tennessee since 1820.  Gaile’s story is one of abuse, mistreatment and terror by her former husband.  In a rare move, the YWCA is advocating for her pardon.  For more information and to sign her petition go to:  www.friendsofgaile.com

For an added treat, you can see Marshall & Co. in concert on April 21st at the Loveless Barn.   She is doing a benefit for Nature Conservancy with Minton Sparks, Barry & Holly Tashian, Tommy Womack, and David Jacobs-Strain.  Every dollar of the $10 ticket goes to the Nature Conservancy.

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I asked Marshall where some of her favorite haunts were in Nashville.

  • Vanderbilt Women’s Basketball games
  • Wendell Smith’s ‘s meat & 3 on Charlotte Avenue
  • Kalamatas in Green Hills
  • At home with loving husband Chris

Here are some of her favorite music picks.

  • “Moon River” by Johnny Mercer
  • “Green Onions” by Booker T and the MG’s
  • “Mister Vermeer” by David Olney (from his new CD, Dutchman’s Curve)
  • “Mercy Now” by Mary Gauthier (from her CD by the same name)
  • “River in the Rain” by Roger Miller
  • “It Ain’t Cool” by Will Kimbrough
  • “I Shall Not Be Moved” by Pops Staples

Marshall, here’s a secret Theta handshake to you!
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If you’ve never had the chance to listen to Marshall, here is music from her most recent album.
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