Most parents spend the months leading up to a newborn’s arrival painting nurseries, dreaming up names and trying to assemble playpens accompanied by indecipherable Swedish instructions. Jen Chapin and bassist-husband Stephan Crump opted instead to anticipate the arrival of son Maceo by birthing their third and best disc to date.
For the uninitiated, Chapin is the daughter of legendary troubadour Harry. These days, though, she seems more vocally akin to a couple of other folk-rock icons of daddy’s era, suggesting a gutsier Carole King and a more grounded Maria Muldaur.
Understandably, many of the tracks she and Crump crafted for Ready have to do with the hopes, fears, dreams and quiet introspection that fill those seemingly endless days leading up to a blessed event. But, this being Chapin and Crump, a team worthy of Joni Mitchell and Neil Young when it comes to laying it on the line lyrically, there’s much more to Ready than merely sweet reverie. Consider, for instance, the course grit of “NYC” (a sort of funkified variation on “Take Me Back to Manhattan”), the cunning political bite of “Election Day,” the brave emotional vulnerability of “Strip It Bare” and the raw sexual heat of the title track. Get ready.