Jen Clapp has been a homebirth midwife, baker, environmental educator, egg packer, landscaper, substitute teacher, farm educator, nurse, and yes, a singer, songwriter and musician.  She grew up in Rochester, NY, and started playing folk songs at age 10.  She still has the jumbo body Harmony Sovereign guitar given to her by her dad, and it is still too big for her.

She began singing and playing out in 1990, with acoustic trio Native Tongue in NYC’s East Village music scene.  The band played shows all over the city, including a year of Sunday night gigs at Café Sin-e on St. Mark’s Place.  This was an exciting place to be, with Jeff Buckley, Rebecca Martin, Susan McKeown and John Doyle playing regularly, and visitors Sinead O’Connor, members of U2, Little Steven, Luka Bloom and many others dropping in after hours to play along with the locals.  Jen left this scene after falling in love with Mommyheads drummer Dan Fisherman, and moving out to San Francisco.

Jen started writing songs while living in California, becoming a midwife and then mother to two children.  The family returned to the East Coast and Jen continued to write, releasing a 10-song CD titled Lonesome Sunbeam, in 2009.  She co-wrote two songs with Chris Difford which were released on his CD Songs from the Weald (2008).  She also co-wrote and sang the song “Longest Day of the Year” with Adam Levy on his CD, Washing Day. She appears as a guest vocalist on numerous recordings by artists in the Hudson Valley, where she now lives. 

Jen works with the non-profit organization SageArts, which pairs songwriters with elders in the community to create songs which reflect the lives of each elder.  She is a member of ReBurt, an 8-piece band specializing in creative reworkings of Burt Bacharach songs. She is currently working on another recording of original songs.

photo credit: David Thornquist

all other artist photos by Ava Fisherman