31. Car tunes

When I found out that Harry Chapin had a brother who was a musician, and that I’d seen him on TV I asked a couple of friends if they wanted to see him perform at the Birchmere. This was the old Birchmere – the cozy one.

Tom Chapin is mostly a children’s singer – and sings whimsical songs about family life and animals and kids. He did sing a couple of Harry’s songs, and said some self-depreciating remarks. I felt bad for him – as he seemed to think the patrons were expecting Harry’s Brother, not Tom Chapin.

I’m pretty sure I’m the only one in my party who enjoyed the music, but we had a good enough time. During the intermission I ran into Tom Chapin in the little store at the Birchmere. He asked me how I liked the warm-up act, I said I thought she was good, he said he did too. I wanted to tell him that I was there to see him, not Harry. That while I liked Harry and his music, I was ready to be entertained by a different musician. But I didn’t say any of that.

That night I bought a couple of his recordings. We’d play them in the car for our children on long car rides – we soon learned many of the lyrics and would all sing along. Don’t tell their friends, but my kids still like to hear Tom Chapin’s songs in the car.

Here’s a video of Tom Chapin singing State Laughs, one of the songs we liked:

9 thoughts on “31. Car tunes

  1. Yeah, the current Birchmere moved there between 9 and 14 years ago. It used to be farther up Mount Vernon Ave. When we first lived in Alexandria we could easily walk there. Then we moved about two miles away. It’s kinda strange that I didn’t really start going there until we moved to Bethesda.I remember walking by Birchmere, seeing about 50 people in line and wondering what on earth such a tiny place could attract such a long line of people. I didn’t know about the Silver Spring Birchmere. Silver Spring is becoming a cultural mecca.


  2. The one in Ontario? A mere 8.5 hours. You could start out early in the morning, catch a show there, then drive back home and only be slightly late for breakfast.


  3. Well, I’ve been trying to think of something to do for my 50th birthday, maybe going to the Birchmere would qualify.


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