Chris Volpe

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Chris Volpe
Background information
Birth name Christopher Robert Volpe
Born Cleveland, Ohio, US
Origin Abruzzi, Italy
Genres Folk, rock, bluegrass, country
Occupation(s) Musician, songwriter
Instruments Vocals, guitar, banjo, harmonica
Years active 1999–present
Labels Independent, Bug Digital
Associated acts Chris Volpe
Shipwrecked base.jpg

Christopher Robert Volpe is an American songwriter and folk musician of Italian descent. Since 2006, he has won over twenty international songwriting awards including an Independent Music Award for Best Folk Album.


After graduating from high school, Volpe attended Kent State University where he studied philosophy and mass media.[1] Upon earning a bachelor's degree and busking in Europe for six months, he moved to Washington, DC and then New York City, where he spent a year honing his songwriting in the New York City Subway and in clubs like the Sidewalk Cafe, before again relocating to the San Francisco Bay Area.


Volpe won three hours of studio time when he was awarded "best song" by the West Coast Songwriting Association at the Sweetwater Saloon in October 2004.[2] He used the studio time to record fifteen original songs in one take (guitar, vocals, harmonica) during the three-hour block, which was then released as an album titled Refugee Blues.[3] The album garnered him numerous awards, including an Independent Music Award for "Best Folk Album of the Year," and the "Singer/Songwriter Award" from London-based "We Are Listening".[4][5][6]

Volpe then continued touring the California coast and performed at numerous festivals including the San Francisco Folk Festival, the Hyperactive Music Festival in Albuquerque, New Mexico,[7][8][9] and the SXSW Music Conference in Austin, TX.[10] He was featured on the National Public Radio Open Mic series[11] and much of his music was and has since been included on PBS's Roadtrip Nation documentary series.[12]

In 2007, encouraged by several friends including renowned fiddle player Alex DePue, Volpe moved to Nashville, TN to explore the country songwriting industry, but quickly changed course when he found inspiration in the city's embedded bluegrass world and burgeoning indie rock scene.

In 2008, after completing work on his next release, Volpe spent 2 months on tour as the instrument tech for Steve Earle and Allison Moorer, during which he was onstage for performances by Jakob Dylan, Gillian Welch, Levon Helm, Bob Dylan and Conor Oberst as well as Earle and Moorer. He has appeared at the Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion, Louisville's Forecastle Festival, and WSM radio's Bluegrass Underground series, as well as a performance during the inaugural season of Nashville's popular Music City Roots series, which also aired worldwide on WSM radio.[13][14][15][16][17]

In 2009, Volpe released Shipwrecked!, which showcases a larger, experimental sound he called "surrealist folk." On the record, Volpe worked with Bob Dylan's band mate, Donnie Herron; legendary percussionist Kenny Malone (Johnny Cash, Tom Waits), 3-time Grammy winning jazz musician Jeff Coffin (Flecktones, Dave Matthews), and bassist/cellist Bryn Davies (Patti Griffin, Tony Rice).[18] In addition, the performances were recorded by acclaimed bluegrass engineer Phil Harris, who received Grammy praise for his work on Doc Watson's Grammy Winning instrumental album in 2006.[19]

Late in 2010, Volpe relocated to his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, to complete the writing and recording of Up, Up, & Awry. His list of awards and accolades is extensive.[20] Volpe, who has had no formal musical training, plays guitar, harmonica, banjo, piano, and drums among other instruments.


  • 2006 Refugee Blues
  • 2008 Elevator EP
  • 2009 Shipwrecked!
  • 2012 Up, Up & Awry


  • 2013 International Acoustic Music Awards- Runner Up Award- Best Folk Song- "World Isn't Worth It" [21]
  • 2012 Independent Music Awards- Top Five Finalist- Best Protest Song- "Ain't No Politician"[22]
  • 2011 USA Songwriting Competition Winner- Top Ten Finalist- Best Folk Song- "Peace of Mind"[23]
  • 2011 International Acoustic Music Awards Winner- Top 10 Best Folk/Roots Song- "Why Did I Change My Tune?"[24]
  • 2011 International Esongwriter Competition Winner- Top 10 Winner- "Don't Go"[25]
  • 2010 Billboard World Song Contest -Honorable Mention Award- "Salvations Round the Bend"[26]
  • 2010 Billboard World Song Contest -Honorable Mention Award- "Dusty Bibles"[26]
  • 2010 Music City Song Contest- Red Ridge Entertainment- Top 3 Finalist- "Don't Go"
  • 2009 Gary Allen Nashville Songwriting Contest- Top 4 Finalist- "Steamroller Rain"
  • 2008 International Winner of the Lyric Writer Awards- "Dusty Bibles"[27]
  • 2007 Great American Song Contest (9th Annual)- Lyrical Finalist- "Dusty Bibles"[28][29]
  • 2007 Unisong 11th Annual Songwriting Contest-Local United Network to Combat Hunger- Honorable Mention- "The Bandwagon Farm"
  • 2007 Unisong 11th Annual Songwriting Contest-Local United Network to Combat Hunger- Top Finalist- "Shoes"[30]
  • 2007 Song of the Year Awards- International Finalist- "Shoes"
  • 2006 Independent Music Awards- International Winner- Album of the Year/Singer-Songwriter- "Refugee Blues" [31]
  • 2006 Singer/Songwriter Awards- We Are Listening, London- International Winner- "Shoes"[32]
  • 2006 John Lennon Songwriting Contest (Round I)- International Best Folk Song Finalist- "Where the Rubber Meets the Road"
  • 2006 John Lennon Songwriting Contest (Round II)- International Best Folk Song Finalist- "Shoes"
  • 2006 Billboard 14th Annual World Songwriting Contest- Honorable Mention Award- "Shoes"
  • 2006 Billboard 14th Annual World Songwriting Contest- Honorable Mention Award- "Jersey Sun"
  • 2006 USA Songwriting Competition- International Finalist & Honorable Mention Award- "Shoes"
  • 2006 International Song Winner- International Best Folk Song Honorable Mention Award- "Shoes"
  • 2006 International Songwriting Competition- Semi-finalist- "Albuquerque" (Instrumental)[33]
  • 2004 The West Coast Songwriting Association- Best Song Award (Live Performance)- "Shoes"[2]


  1. ^ "KSU graduate sings the 'Refugee Blues' | Archive". January 19, 2006. Archived from the original on July 9, 2012. Retrieved 2011-07-29. 
  2. ^ a b 6 days 18 hours ago. "Helping songwriters since 1979". West Coast Songwriters. Retrieved 2011-08-01. 
  3. ^ "In House with Jeremy Petersen: March 2006". Retrieved 2011-07-29. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ "01/23/2006 – MRG Announces 2006 Independent Music Award Winners". January 23, 2006. Archived from the original on July 20, 2011. Retrieved 2011-07-29. 
  6. ^ "Songwriting Contests | Songwriting Contest For Independent Music Artists". We Are Listening. Retrieved 2011-07-29. 
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Music Commission News | New Mexico Music Commission". June 10, 2006. Archived from the original on July 27, 2011. Retrieved 2011-07-29. 
  10. ^ "Songwriter Showcases – USA Songwriting Competition". Retrieved 2011-07-29. 
  11. ^ "Chris Volpe: 'Shoes'". NPR. February 3, 2006. Retrieved 2011-07-29. 
  12. ^ "Roadtrip Nation". Roadtrip Nation. Archived from the original on January 23, 2009. Retrieved 2011-07-29. 
  13. ^ "Past Artists | – A weekly live musical variety show from Nashville, Tennessee". Archived from the original on July 14, 2011. Retrieved 2011-07-29. 
  14. ^
  15. ^ Mary G on (July 11, 2008). "Dr. Dog, Del McCoury, Method Man, more go Forecastle :: Music :: News :: Paste". Retrieved 2011-07-29. 
  16. ^ "Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion | Celebrating Bristol's Music Heritage | State Street | Historic Downtown Bristol, TN/VA". Retrieved 2011-08-01. 
  17. ^ "Bristol Rhythm And Roots Reunion – Bristol, VA – 75". Retrieved 2011-07-29. 
  18. ^ Garcia, Guelixa (December 1, 2009). "Chris Volpe: Indie Artist of the Week". Indie Music Universe. Retrieved 2011-07-29. 
  19. ^ "Review – SHIPWRECKED! – VOLPE, CHRIS – - Self Released (". Retrieved 2011-07-29. 
  20. ^ "Chris Volpe Electronic Press Kit – Streaming Music, Photos, Videos, Lyrics and Info". Sonicbids. Retrieved 2011-07-29. 
  21. ^ "IAMA | International Acoustic Music Awards | Winners". Retrieved 2015-03-18. 
  22. ^ "Nominees 11th IMA". Archived from the original on April 2, 2015. Retrieved 2015-03-18. 
  23. ^ "Winners of USA Songwriting Competition". Retrieved 2011-07-29. 
  24. ^ "IAMA | International Acoustic Music Awards | Winners". Retrieved 2011-07-29. 
  25. ^ "Current Winners". Retrieved 2011-07-29. 
  26. ^ a b "main". Retrieved 2011-07-29. 
  27. ^ "Chris Volpe | Song Contest Blog". February 15, 2009. Retrieved 2011-07-29. 
  28. ^ [1][dead link]
  29. ^ "Great American Song Contest! International songwriting contest for songwriters, lyricists and music composers everywhere". Retrieved 2011-07-29. 
  30. ^ "11th Annual Unisong International Songwriting Contest Winners". Retrieved 2011-07-29. 
  31. ^ "IMA Past Winners". Retrieved 2015-03-18. 
  32. ^ "At the Studio with Chris Volpe | Song Contest Blog". September 23, 2006. Retrieved 2011-07-29. 
  33. ^ "International Songwriting Competition | The No. 1 Song Contest for Songwriters". July 12, 2011. Retrieved 2011-07-29. 

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