Beth Nielsen Chapman's "The Mighty Sky" headed to Grammys

Posted by David Eicher
on Thursday, January 23, 2014

Credit: The Mighty Sky
For some time now, my good friend Rocky Alvey, director of Vanderbilt University’s Dyer Observatory in Nashville, has collaborated with country music star Beth Nielsen Chapman on a children’s CD of great music about the stars. The Mighty Sky, as it’s called, has not only been a big success, but now has a Grammy nomination. Congrats to Beth and to Rocky!!

I encourage you to check it out.

And I also give you the full press release they have just issued, below. This compilation of music is a delight for all ages, and it is the kind of thing we need more of in this world!

Congrats to these talented visionaries and musicians, and bless them for spreading the word about enjoying the night sky to a new generation.

NASHVILLE — Beth Nielsen Chapman’s acclaimed children’s CD The Mighty Sky has just received a GRAMMY Award Nomination!  The Recording Academy will announce the winners on January 26, 2014 in Los Angeles.
In addition to the Grammy honor, The Mighty Sky has already won 10 national awards: ALA (American Library Association) Notable Children's Recording, Parents’ Choice Gold Award, Academics’ Choice Smart Media Award, Creative Child Magazine CD of the Year, NAPPA (National Association of Parenting Publications) Gold Award, KIDS FIRST All Star Endorsement, Tillywig Brain Child Award, Dr. Toy’s 100 Best Children’s Products Award, Family Choice Award and Mom’s Choice Silver Award.
Children can musically discover the mysteries and wonders of the universe with The Mighty Sky.  As rich and varied as the galaxy Beth sings about — and just as exciting to explore — The Mighty Sky blends accurate science, creative astronomy-based lyrics and the striking songwriting that Beth is famous for.
Focusing on the science of astronomy, the CD was created by hit songwriters Beth Nielsen Chapman and Annie Roboff (remember Faith Hill’s “This Kiss”) joined by lyricist Rocky Alvey, who also happens to be the director of the Vanderbilt Dyer Observatory.  The songs are first-class teaching tools delivering captivating melodies that sound like chart-topping blockbusters, and lyrics that illuminate.
The Mighty Sky is a beautifully crafted album featuring a variety of musical styles presenting fascinating celestial facts and fun. The title song opens the CD and sets the theme of discovering all the heavens have to offer.  Listeners are treated to the flat out rock ‘n roll of “The Big Bang Boom” and “Rockin’ Little Neutron Star.” On the doo wop song “The Moon,” we can almost see our satellite bopping and snapping along as it orbits Earth. “Zodiacal Zydeco” rocks the zodiac with vibrant zydeco rhythms. “Test Re-Test & Verify” introduces this mantra for scientific testing to old-time English music hall, complete with comic Monty Python-style touches. “The Way That We Lean” portrays the effect of the seasons on life on Earth and how these seasons come about — complete with the vocal equivalent of “the wave” at a sporting event. Guest vocalist Kyla Jade belts out everything you need to know about the spectrum of light on “You Can See The Blues.”
The album also features cameo spoken word performances by Dr. C. R. O’Dell, the founding scientist of the Hubble Space Telescope, and Dr. Jocelyn Bell Burnell, discoverer of pulsars.
The lyric insert unfolds into a gorgeous poster brimming with inspiring and whimsical images of outer space. This artistic attention to scientific detail provides a springboard for lively dinner table discussion and incorporation into lesson plans.

Nashville-based singer-songwriter Beth Nielsen Chapman epitomizes musical diversity. In addition to her own recordings, she has written songs for many top artists including Bonnie Raitt, Emmylou Harris, Bette Midler, Elton John, Neil Diamond, Trisha Yearwood, Martina McBride, The Indigo Girls, Michael McDonald, Amy Grant, Keb Mo’, Roberta Flack, Waylon Jennings, Faith Hill and Willie Nelson. Beth’s music has been featured in movie soundtracks, including “The Prince of Egypt,” “Message In A Bottle,” “The Rookie,” “Where The Heart Is” and “Practical Magic.” Mega-hit “This Kiss,” ASCAP’S 1999 Song Of The Year sung by Faith Hill, garnered her a Grammy nomination. And Beth was Nashville NAMMY’S Songwriter of the Year. A breast cancer survivor, environmental activist, teacher of workshops and lecturer on the magic of creativity, Beth’s passion is “the song.”
“I’ve written songs since I was 11 and have enjoyed writing so many styles of music. But making this record has been the most fun I’ve ever had! Writing to Rocky’s amazing lyrics, I learned tons of cool stuff I never knew about astronomy, singing in all these styles with different characters popping through my voice. Of course about mid-way through I had to rope my favorite co-writer Annie Roboff (“This Kiss,” “Happy Girl”) into this project!  Co-producing with Annie, we had a blast (no pun intended) in the studio bringing these songs to life. I can’t get them out of my head!” says Beth.

Astronomy cuts through borders and boundaries and reminds us that we are all part of one universe. “We are ALL astronauts traveling on the same ship, a very small and fragile sphere, hurtling through the universe together. We all look out the same portal at an infinite view,” says Rocky Alvey.
Listeners may not become astronomers, but The Mighty Sky promises an eye-opening view of our place in the universe.

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