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MP3 Chip Raman - Edge Of A Song

Philadelphia based folk-pop-rock singer-songwriter bringing a mix of stories of personal growth, sweetly echoing love songs, and incisive social commentary.

12 MP3 Songs in this album (51:43) !
Related styles: FOLK: Modern Folk, FOLK: Fingerstyle

The third verse of “Edge Of The Wind,” the compelling and contemplative opening track of Chip Raman’s debut CD Edge Of A Song, begins: “I wonder about the edge of a song/Where it touches someone’s heart.” The Philadelphia based folk-pop-rock singer-songwriter has been doing just that, touching thousands of folks with his original compositions since his days in the crazy Eighties as lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist in the popular Philly band Allies.

Local heroes on South Street throughout the decade—despite playing mellow rock in a town founded on classic soul—Allies lived up to the motto “two of theirs and one of ours” by mixing covers of Neil Young, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Jackson Browne and Bob Seger with Raman’s earliest tunes. This was just the beginning of Raman’s fascinating two- decade journey of soul searching and development as a versatile solo artist with lyrics that speak spiritually and emotionally to these uncertain times.

Intensely personal yet powerfully universal, the 12 tracks of Edge Of A Song mix stories of personal growth, sweetly echoing love songs, incisive social commentary and “The Post-It Note,” an incredible and hypnotic seven-minute “conversation with God” detailing His thoughts on the modern world. Raman wrote this song, which always gets the most powerful response from the audience when he performs live, as he reconciled his feelings about leaving his eight year position as a counselor at a residential treatment facility working with emotionally troubled children.

The overall spiritual vibe of the collection is also reflected in Raman’s choice as producer to include a small choir of friends on “Edge Of The Wind,” “Nature Of Things” and the gratitude filled, country-flavored closer “Thank You.” The first time he sang “Thank You,” at one of Midnight Campfire events at Texas’ famed Kerrville Folk Festival—where he has been a faithful attendee for 13 years—more than 10 people were singing along by the time he finished the first chorus. By the end, 20 people had created an impromptu choir, an experience that inspired him to create the same vibe on the recording.

His overwhelming experience falling in love years later with his high school sweetheart—who was in the crowd, showing her support the first time Raman ever sang—inspired the gorgeous “Beautiful.” Until lightning struck, however, he lived another song that can inspire those waiting for the same magic—the haunting “Lonesome Painter.” When he sings of blending the hues, roses and deep blues, Raman isn’t only speaking metaphorically; he’s an accomplished painter who engages in both surrealism (as with the powerful swirling waves on the album cover) and grounded portraits of people and concepts like racial harmony. Examples of Raman’s stunning work can be found both in the CD booklet and at https://www.tradebit.com.

“When I’m struck with a moment of creative inspiration, it’s always interesting to see which direction I’ll go with it,” he says. “Do I pick up my guitar or splash some colors around? If something deep is on my mind, then I’m going to do the word thing and write a song with meaningful lyrics. When I’m at a loss for words, I’ll either write an instrumental piece like ‘Segue’ or start painting. In the CD booklet, there’s a painting of multiracial hands next to the lyrics of ‘Nature Of Things.’ In this case, I created both at the same time in response to the events of 9/11 and the insanity of violence and racism. There’s a different fulfillment for me in each mode of expression. Music is more accessible to some people and each time I perform a song it takes on a whole new life. With a painting, it’s all one initial emotional release that stands for all time. Both are really important parts of who I am, which is why they work hand in hand on this project.”

Raman didn’t focus on painting until 1996, when he moved back to Philadelphia after eight years in the Berkeley, California area, where he honed his writing and performing chops—and switched from flat picking to fingerstyle guitar—playing open mics and taking up an informal residency at a club called Freight and Salvage. For several of these years, he was working on his certification in Expressive Arts Therapy at JFK University; after Raman graduated, he taught music, arts and poetry to gifted children at a Montessori school. As important as his time in Northern California was to his development as a songwriter, it was just a prelude to the energy that gripped his musical soul in 1995 the first time he attended the annual 18 day Kerrville Folk Festival—where, he says, you can be sitting alone on a hilltop and hear songs being carried up on the breeze.

“This world famous songwriters’ festival is a life-changing place and a rite of initiation for thousands of singers and writers like myself,” says Raman. “People play at the campfires from midnight to dawn, singing their hearts out in an amazing communal atmosphere. I lead the album off with ‘Edge Of The Wind’ because it’s one of the few songs I wrote at Kerrville with a guitar I borrowed from a friend. The first and third verses are just about being there and listening to people singing and asking for peace. On Edge Of A Song, I take the essence of what happens around the campfire and apply all of the new digital technology to create a recording I’m really proud of.”

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