Where'd she come from?
“I have always gotten chills from the sounds of consonants and the patterns of poetry.”
This is the inspiration behind the work of Poughkeepsie native, and now Boulder CO singer/writer/performer Allie Chipkin. Allie has been singing since her earliest childhood days, doing Celine Dion and the Little Mermaid on her boombox in the living room. She started voice lessons in 4th grade, moving onto choir, clarinet lessons, jazz singing and musical theater throughout college. All this experience has led to Allie’s new EP, Cascades, recorded in Boston with Producer Kevin O’Connell.
After two years at the Boston Conservatory, Allie moved to Spain to study Spanish, immersed herself in bilingual literature, and then returned to study Poetry at Skidmore College. It’s Allie’s love for the rhythm of words, both in English and Spanish, that led to her writing and recording her original songs. She studied the work of her influences: Joni’s lyrics, Ani’s melodies, Patti’s wild New York stories, as well as the work of younger artists, like the harmonies of Sara Bareilles and Laura Mvula’s R&B chord progressions, all of which shaped Allie’s songwriting style. For her senior year English project, Allie wrote and recorded her first album, Honey & Knives, featuring songs inspired by her influences. She was able to record for free at the Skidmore studios and subsequently received a grant from the school to publish an accompanying book for the project: Three Lessons: A Songwriting Memoir. The album and the book earned high honors and won one of Skidmore’s most prestigious academic awards, the Periclean Scholar’s Award.
Armed with this recognition and encouragement, Allie returned to the studio-- this time in Boston with her favorite musical collaborator Kevin O’Connell-- to create Cascades. Kevin helped organize the recording sessions, the musical arrangements, and the key players for the new songs. Allie played a rich variety of guitars, Fender Rhodes, and lead vocals in conjunction with an amazing group of players that includes a string quartet, a 15-year-old guitarist (on “Reckless”), and an a capella friend of Allie’s from Skidmore on harmonies, recorded in Woodstock.
Cascades captures Allie’s time spent exploring in Seattle, traveling the country, observing relationships and occupations, and facing the uncertainty of life in these crazy times. “Seattle” opens the record with revelations about the city, the weather, and the people who live there, as she found them all surprising and refreshing. The percussion track is built to emulate the rain she was expecting to find walking around the city, and the rhythm has a certain Stevie Wonder “Isn’t She Lovely” upbeat, positive feel. “Conductor” was composed on the train traveling from Poughkeepsie to Grand Central Station in New York City, and “Lovesick” is a perfect example of the collaborative spark Allie found working with Kevin in the studio-- his ability to draw the sounds out of her head and get them down on tape.
Allie is planning on getting back out on the road in the Spring, looking to return to Club Passim in Boston, The Path in New York City, the Towne Crier in Beacon and venues in New England and Colorado. She is an Honorable Mention award winner at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival in Lyons CO, and has built lasting relationships while attending the lakeside Miles of Music Camp in New Hampshire, where she experiences a musical recharge each summer.
Although Allie’s songs first found their voice in solitary writing settings, she has recently discovered the joy in sharing and collaborating on music to connect and commune with others. Allie looks forward to forming a band in Boulder to take her music out to the touring community.