"An unmistakably singular sound"
Listen to "Awful Good", the title track off of the new album released November 2016!
Here is the recording of the title track in one take.
"Just Don't Go", filmed by Jay Rogan.
FOURTH ALBUM "AWFUL GOOD" RELEASED NOVEMBER 17th 2016
FIFTH ALBUM "ALONE IN THE HOUSE" RELEASED MARCH 16th 2017
Reviewers have referred to his work as "progressive chamber folk", while audiences and critics have praised performances as "incandescent", "mesmerizing", and
Tenzin Chopak has released three albums of original music with his ensemble Rockwood Ferry, and recently released his fourth album "Awful Good" with Nicholas Walker (double bass), Rosie Newton (violin and vocals), and Greg Evans (drums) in November, 2016.
His forthcoming fifth album "Alone In The House" is a one microphone, one day, acoustic solo project and was released in March of 2017.
Tenzin is known for preforming his music in a variety of forms: with the Rockwood Ferry ensemble, with double bassist Nicholas Walker (often joined by violinist Rosie Newton and drummer Greg Evans), and as a solo singer songwriter. He has recently also been involved in improvisational and experimental music ensembles.
In addition to this, Tenzin composes original music for film and has provided soundtracks for numerous environmental conservation documentary shorts through the National Park Service and other organizations. Tenzin is also a visual artist, working in paint, pencil, photography, and film.
Review of Tenzin Chopak's fourth album "Awful Good", November, 2016:
Review in NO DEPRESSION!
Tenzin Chopak's "Awful Good" Lives Up To Its Title
Part of the communal combine that frequently bills itself as Rockwood Ferry, Tenzin Chopak has assumed many guises throughout his career, regularly veering into the realms of prog, chamber folk, world beat, trance, electronica and improvisational music while enthusiastically collaborating with whatever musicians are eager to embrace his vision. Chopak’s versatility on a variety of instruments (guitar, piano, bass, cello and voice) and his deeply rooted spiritual beliefs (a devotee of Tibetan culture and religion, he was given his present name during an eight month sabbatical in northern India), imbue his music with both a rustic and religious regimen, providing his work with a mystic sheen in the process. Awful Good is the fourth album under his own aegis, and with songs that veer from mournful to mirthful, it’s an unmistakably singular sound that’s grounded in rootsy reflection and timeless trappings, yet as earnest and assertive as any heartland homily. Many of the entries convey a certain solace -- the fiddle-strewn title track, the hushed "Wild Boys," the reflective “Tell Queeny,” and the mellow “Let Yourself Fall” in particular -- the soothing sentiments are consistently affecting, allowing most of these tracks to offer an immediate if somewhat eerie impression. Being the son of a minister who was reared in the rural environs of East Tennessee could account for Chopak’s grounded delivery, but it likely also has to do with his thoughtful mindset as well. While Awful Good certainly lives up to its name, it also harbors a deep sense of thoughtful propriety, which makes these songs all the more auspicious, and lovely as well. ND
Review by Finger Lakes Music Press:
Once again Tenzin Chopak has gathered an ensemble of extremely talented musicians for his fourth album "Awful Good" and created music that stands alone as a consummate work of art. This marks his first recording collaboration with Nicholas Walker on double bass and Greg Evans on drums. Rosie Newton returns on fiddle and backing vocals.
“Awful Good” was recorded in three sessions at Pyramid Sound Studios in Ithaca under the masterful engineering of Brian Dozoretz, through analog equipment to 2-inch tape - some of the songs, in a single take. The result provides a sound as close to live performance as possible, framing Chopak's visceral, immediate, and deeply personal compositions.
From the start, with the title song introducing an old dog who provides a connecting thread several times later in the album, the common themes are love, death, and the human interactions that inextricably revolve around those experiences. From the achingly beautiful love in "Let Yourself Fall", to the passing from existence, and the introspection, reflection, and support of those left behind that manifests in songs such as "Empty River" and "Tell Queeny".
Throughout, the talent of this quartet to weave their instruments in intricate melodic tapestries that draw in the listener is transcendent. With violin and voice, Rosie Newton dances with Chopak’s vocals, sometimes darkly intense, sometimes softly delicate. Nicholas Walker’s bowed and plucked double bass alternatively singing along under the fiddle or providing counterpoint to the masterful beats laid down by Greg Evans. Of course, always, there is Chopak’s guitar, on which he consistently performs tricks of intricacy that sometimes defy analysis and leaving one only to wonder at the sound.
But although a collaboration of excellent artists, new with Walker and Evans, it is the clearly recognizable ease born of long familiarity between Newton and Chopak’s harmonies that lyrically lock songs like “No Heart, No Pain”, and the unabashed lullaby “Wild Boys”, in the mind's ear.
That deeply familiar feel - and the sense of acknowledgement and even tribute to the comfort and pain of it - the awful goodness of life - is the true overall beauty and staying power of “Awful Good”. It is the latest in a run that now stands unbroken across four albums, each a distinct gem eminently worth listening to again and again, but together representing a body of work that reflects the growth and fruition of a master singer/songwriter - a storyteller and musician of world class.
At risk of stating the obvious, “Awful Good” is very, very good indeed.
Jonathan Hochberg - Finger Lakes Music Press
Review of Tenzin Chopak & Rockwood Ferry's third album "Mask Maker" 2015:
"In the most ambitious album from Rockwood Ferry to date, Tenzin Chopak’s Mask Maker is a mature, complex, dynamic and completely engaging demonstration of musical evolution at its finest. Chopak returns as an impeccable story-teller, and shows he has no intention of relaxing his pursuit of excellence.
The prior recordings were undeniably beautiful in their artistry, but Mask Maker exhibits a sophistication of both music and production revealing them as stepping stones. While some musicians are content to repeatedly churn out the same style and presentation that might have garnered them creative and critical success, it takes someone comfortable with stretching the limits - with pushing their personal boundaries - to move beyond and reach new ground. Chopak has proven with this album that he has no qualms about exercising new artistic muscle, and the result is at once satisfying to this long-time listener and at times breathtaking in its freshness, while remaining extremely accessible as a stand-alone work.
From the haunting melody weaving in and out of syncopation with the beat in “Spider”, to the soaring lyrical arrangement of “Coyote”; the signature self-introspection of “How To Swim” and the title track; and the three-part “Aurora” reflecting a clear appreciation of an ongoing tradition of “suites” in modern progressive music; Mask Maker has a wealth of variety that holds the attention. Each song is a gem, but they also hang together as a group in ways that harken back to the 1970s, when albums were made to be listened to in their entirety rather than chopped up and distributed as individual digital nuggets. It is in fact one of the most “repeat playable” albums I have heard in a while, continuing Chopak’s streak of creating collections of songs for the long haul.
The overall production of the album is just about perfect, which is really not surprising given the talent involved. Regulars Eric Aceto on violin, Rich DePaolo on bass guitar, and Bill King on drums, joined by Peter Dodge on flugelhorn, complement Chopak’s multi-instrumental performance (guitar, piano, cello, double-bass, banjo, accordion, and organ – accompanying, of course, his stunningly beautiful vocals) to give Mask Maker a full, intricate sound, further complementing the album’s long-term listenability.
All told, this is a masterful work, both in terms of words and music. With Mask Maker, Tenzin Chopak and Rockwood Ferry have set a high bar, and cleared it with consummate ease."
- Jonathan Hochberg, Finger Lakes Music Press
Reviews of the self-titled second album "Rockwood Ferry" 2013:
"Tenzin Chopak and company come up with another chamber-folk masterpiece... weaving an almost mystical spell for Chopak's compelling vocals."
Jim Catalano - Ithaca Journal
"Rockwood Ferry creates a work of strong and potent natural beauty. Fluid grace, swelling waves of sound, gentle harmonies and thoughtful words... something to be truly appreciated and enjoyed."
Tracey Craig - Rootabaga Boogie