Chapel Hill

About The Band

Bio: Nathaniel Symes, founder and singer-songwriter of Chapel Hill was born in North Carolina as the peace walks pounded America’s pavements to the sound of “The Time They Are A’changin’”. Bob Dylan, but also Jacque Brel, was the soundtracks to a childhood uprooted from the US to France. While he returns to the US in the late 80’s as a young adult, he witnesses Nirvana’s irruption and turns down a prestigious engineering career and a preordained fate as a WASP to dive into Boston’s independent music scene. For the first few years, he plays as a guitarist in various grunge and post rock bands, and then becomes the lead singer and guitarist of Big Gladys; an experimental parody rock band inspired in part by Ween.
In 2000, Mr Symes crosses once more the Atlantic, his baggage overflowing with his choice LPs. Among them are Tom Waits, Johnny Cash, the Smithsonian Anthology of American Folk Music, and Beck’s, Wilco’s, Morphine’s, and G. Love and Special Sauce’s first albums. All noble ascendants to be gathered and dissected in Chapel Hill for which he unites with three like minded musicians: a violinist, a stand up bass player, and a drummer.
Chapel Hill, the name is borrowed from Nathaniel’s birth place and reinvented into what could be the town’s darkest tales, stories such as those told in the criminal section of old newspapers. Nevertheless, the charismatic front man’s lyrics can also be more personal or political, inspired by his own life, or by an America that he loves but often feels alien to.
So the stage is set for Songs to Die For, the bands first album released in February 2009.
Recorded in Strasbourg, France, Songs to Die For puts rock face to face with its origins and European romanticism under the prey of cruel realism. In this album the band dishes out tragic narratives powered by obsessing musical compositions. These “Songs” are for some clearly of folk inspiration (When the Lights Begin to Dim), when others are feverishly rock (Poor Uncle Louis, Twist), while a couple are tinkered with and rocked up old folk standards such as “The Butcher Boy” and “Two White Horses” (a.k.a. See that my Grave is Kept Clean). Additionally, a follow up second album, If These Wings Should Fail Me, is to be released in April 2010.