An unmistakably singular sound.”

— No Depression

Tenzin Chopak

Fool's Fire

Review of "Awful Good" No Depression

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. 

Just Don't Go

"An unmistakably singular sound" No Depression 

Tenzin Chopak is an artist and songwriter based in Ithaca, NY.  The son of a minister and a painter, and the brother of a fellow musician and songwriter Greg Horne, Tenzin was immersed in music through his father's church in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.  He studied voice, piano, and guitar in his childhood and youth, frequently performing his original music publicly both solo and in various bands. Chopak was also involved with visual art, theater, and modern dance. In 1999, after some years of a burgeoning devotion to the study of Tibetan language and religion, he traveled to North India.  It was during his eight month stay there that he was given the name "Tenzin Chopak". For the following twelve years, while continuing his study of Tibetan in upstate, NY, Tenzin kept music a quiet if not hidden part of his life. 

In late 2011 he began to write and perform publicly again. Teaming up with renowned banjo player Richie Stearns, violinist vocalist Rosie Newton, violinist Eric Aceto, and bassist Ethan Jodziewicz, he formed an ensemble he called Rockwood Ferry as a vehicle for his music. Since then, he released three albums under the Rockwood Ferry name (bringing in other respected players such as bassist Rich DePaolo, drummer Bill King, and horn player/multi instrumentalist Peter Dodge). His fourth and fifth albums were released within a few months of each other.  The fourth album "Awful Good" (11/16) is an old-fashioned acoustic live in-studio style performance album with deep roots influences and sweet vocal harmonies featuring ensemble players Nicholas Walker on double bass, Rosie Newton on violin and vocals, and Greg Evans on drums. His fifth album "Alone in the House" (3/17) is a solo guitar and voice project recorded with one microphone in one day.  Both albums were produced by multi Grammy winning engineer Brian Dozoretz. 

Chopak’s sixth studio album was engineered by Angelo Peters at Black Bear Studios with Rosie Newton, Greg Evans, and Joey Arcuri, and will be released in 2019. 

Chopak tours both as a solo act as well as with the collaborative project Swamp Kids featuring Angelo Peters and Emmett Scott (Big Mean Sound Machine) and Chris English (The English Project). Swamp Kids released a 3 song ep titled Skeletons in December 2018 and will release an album in 2019.

Press photos