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In Focus: Chapel Hart

May 17, 2023 10:03 am GMT

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The thing about glory days is that, often, they’re thought only to exist in the past. Blurry snapshots of life long since lost to time, they’ll occasionally glint across the gray matter, like the dull light from a high school football trophy or kitschy prom queen tiara.

But the other thing about glory days is they tend to reveal themselves right away, unfolding in real time before our very eyes. Sitting in their tour bus having just arrived at the next city on their first headlining tour, Chapel Hart - made up of sisters Danica and Devynn Hart with their first cousin Trea Swindle - are experiencing exactly that, and they’re not missing a minute of it.

“Right now, we are literally living in the midst of our glory days,” Devynn says.

The group saw their breakthrough becoming fan favorites on season 17 of America’s Got Talent (2022) having previously staked their claim on country music with 2021’s The Girls Are Back in Town. Since then, Chapel Hart has experienced their fair share of ups, downs, laughter and tears on their meteoric rise to the top and are now back to chronicle it all in their third studio album, Glory Days.

“I think this album is a direct representation of everything that we’re going through on this journey”, Devynn continues. “You really get to see our hearts laid out in music form.”

“For a long time, people would be like ‘Who is Chapel Hart?’ What is Chapel Hart? What do you do?’,” adds Danica. “So we wanted to have a body of work that we could pass to somebody and say, ‘This is Chapel Hart; you either get it or you don’t.’”

The Mississippi-hailing trio have always captured hearts with their irresistibly uplifting country hits, but whilst finding their footing in the industry, they’ve put a certain amount of emphasis on being competitive. This time around, though, it wasn’t about numbers or chart-toppers. They’re not making a record for anyone else but their fans, Danica reflects: “For the people who are buying the tickets, who sit in the front row and hang on to every single word - those are the people that we wanted to make this album for”.

That doesn’t mean fans won’t still recognize the style that made Chapel Hart one of today’s most beloved country outfits. Many of the tunes on Glory Days are fueled by the group’s trademark to-the-point and take-no-lip attitude that has always harkened back to the country queens of old. The trio purvey that classic country style, giving it new life in a straight-shooter like ‘Dear Tequila’ or fiery answer song ‘Welcome to Fist City’, as they elegantly combine humor with a what-happens-next kind of storytelling.

However, the whirlwind of the last few years has made Chapel Hart take stock of what is important to them, Trea shares, realizing it is about hanging on to their authenticity and their truest selves. “It’s not necessarily trying to fit a specific image or check a specific box,” she says. “We’ve only gotten this far by being exactly who we are, and so I feel like we owe it to our fans to completely open the book and show them our hearts.”

With Glory Days, they were able to give their fanbase more of themselves, offering a true introduction to what makes up the heart of Chapel Hart. And what lies in the bosom of the group is small town Mississippi – it’s home, it’s family and it's the Point A that led them to where they are today.

The 9-track album is a nostalgia-fueled trip to the town of Poplarville, a place where Danica, Devynn and Trea came to be, a place they will always come back to. Opening with an anthemic beat, Glory Days comes to life with dazzling three-part harmonies that radiate warmth and familiarity.

Listeners go hand-in-hand with the group, meeting their large family and visiting the places they used to play in the dirt as children, where they’d make forts out of old car parts or shell peas on front porches. Weaving its relatable stories of home, the album captures all of the love that’s informed the group along the way, resulting in a lovable and endearing portrait of small town life in the South.

But it’s also more than that. “It doesn’t matter where you come from, it’s for everybody,” Trea says of the album. “This experience that we came from and this experience that we’re living, people are having it all over.” The songs are universal and evoke feelings of home that many can relate to far outside of Southern ties.

For them, Glory Days wasn’t just about the trio sharing a deeper side of themselves. “I want to set that reminder to all the young people who are listening to our music that this is where we came from,” Danica shares, saying the album became a way for them to show their listeners that they, too, can accomplish more than what small town life has mapped out for them. “If we came from there and we’re here now, then you can do it too. We’re just ordinary, everyday hillbillies; if we can do it, you can do it.”

The trio almost had to go back before they could go forward, to remember where they came from in order to see how far they’ve come, and in order to show listeners the same. It was an important move, one that will continue to inform where they go from here. “As we continue to grow, we’re just going to try to figure out how to give more and more of ourselves to our fans,” they assured.

For now, they're slowing down to take it all in, to actually live their new album. “Getting to share these stories in song has just been the joy of our life,” Trea says, but adds that where they are now are where their true glory days reside. “These are the days that we’re going to look back on with our own grandkids, and maybe their grandkids, to tell about the summer of 2022 when everything changed. These are those moments.”

reviews ALBUM REVIEW • Chapel Hart - Glory Days

Chapel Hart’s success is well deserved and their infectious enjoyment of it makes it all the sweeter.

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Glory Days is out on Friday 19 May








Written by Alli Patton
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