Mary Chapin Carpenter
American musician
Mary Chapin Carpenter
Mary Chapin Carpenter is an American folk and country music singer, songwriter and musician. Carpenter spent several years singing in Washington, D.C. clubs before signing in the late 1980s with Columbia Records, who marketed her as a country singer. Carpenter's first album, 1987's Hometown Girl, did not produce any singles, although 1989's State of the Heart and 1990's Shooting Straight in the Dark each produced four Top 20 hits on the Billboard country singles charts.
Biography
Mary Chapin Carpenter's personal information overview.
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News
News abour Mary Chapin Carpenter from around the web
Corinna Sowers-Adler Delivers "Something Beautiful" Just When We Need It Most
Huffington Post - 3 months
On November 5th, two-time Tony nominee for Excellence in Theater Education, Corinna Sowers-Adler debuted her show "Something Beautiful" in the Appel Room at Jazz at Lincoln Center. The show, which incorporated both well-known and lesser known songs spanning genres from country to pop to Broadway, was crafted to uplift and remind and encourage us all to bring and to be "something beautiful" in this world. And it succeeded. Sprinkled with humor, and accompanied by Broadway musical veteran Lawrence Yurman on piano, Christian Fabian on bass, and Colleen Clark on drums, Sowers-Adler delivered a musical journey that took the audience from laughter to tears and back again seamlessly and seemingly effortlessly. Also joining Sowers-Adler on stage during parts of the show, were award-winning Broadway star T. Oliver Reid, dancer Lisa Grimes, and many of Sowers-Adler's New Jersey theater and voice students, who clearly displayed exactly why she has been a Tony nominee for education. The ...
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Huffington Post article
The Night Bob Dylan Made Sense
Huffington Post - 4 months
Twenty-four years ago, a concert predicted Dylan's future as a Nobel Laureate. Bob Dylan is officially the songwriter with the most bling. He's got plaques, statues, gramophones, and now a Nobel Prize in Literature. True to form, the Minnesota-born singer performed a career-spanning set at the Desert Trip music festival in California Friday night but never mentioned the amazing honor bestowed upon him Thursday morning. What a rock and roll thing to do: ignore the elephant in the room simply by being the bigger elephant. He's more decorated than Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger, Pete Townshend, and Neil Young. With his new prize, Dylan has won the crown for all time. For America. But if Dylan is a living, breathing national hero, why have we been eulogizing him since he was a young man, almost as if he was dead ? I first asked this question when I attended a 30th anniversary Dylan tribute concert at Madison Square Garden. It was October 16, 1992, and the marquee read, "Columbia Recor ...
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Huffington Post article
Five things you don't know about Americana music icon Jim Lauderdale
Huffington Post - 5 months
Jim Lauderdale broke out in 2016. An overnight success? Hardly. It's taken nearly three decades and about as many albums to receive the recognition that the Americana icon cleary deserves. He performed at the International Bluegrass Music Association's annual gathering in Raleigh, North Carolina, the same day his 29th album, "This Changes Everything," was released. The album, which was largely recorded during a single day in Austin while on a break from his summertime tour, presents Lauderdale's unique version of the traditional Texas dancehall sound. It's filled with shuffles, rave-ups, plenty of sharp songwriting and appearances by a handful of genuine Texas legends, including producer and pedal steel player Tommy Detamore, drummer Tom Lewis (Heybale, Whitney Rose), pianist Floyd Domino (an original member of Asleep at the Wheel), Bobby Flores (Ray Price's longtime fiddle player), Kevin Smith (bass player for Willie Nelson), Chris Masterson (one-half of the Mastersons, as w ...
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Huffington Post article
Modern Love: The Modern Love Podcast: Mary Chapin Carpenter Reads ‘The Race Grows Sweeter Near Its Final Lap’
NYTimes - 6 months
The singer and songwriter reads an essay about how new love is young, even after 80.
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NYTimes article
Joan Baez Celebrates 75th Birthday With a Batch of Old Friends and Great Songs (Bob's There in Spirit)
Huffington Post - 10 months
Joan Baez gets taken for granted sometimes, and her new birthday concert on PBS reminds us why that should not happen. Joan Baez 75th Birthday Celebration, which premieres Friday at 9 p.m. ET on Ch. 13 in New York and airs on most other PBS stations in June, serves as a kind of highlight tour through a career that has stretched into seven decades. No one stays around in music that long without taste and talent, both of which are evident throughout the 17-song evening. While Baez is probably best described as a folksinger, she has always drawn her music from many wells, and on this night that includes Stephen Foster, whose "Hard Times Come Again No More" she performs as a duet with Emmylou Harris (above). She goes to the gospel well for "Oh Freedom" with Mavis Staples and a solo "Swing Low Sweet Chariot," which she prefaces with a story about singing it for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In keeping with her standard practice, Baez doesn't banter much between songs ...
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Huffington Post article
This Is How My Parents Told Me They Were Getting A Divorce
Huffington Post - over 1 year
The day your parents sat you down and broke the news about their divorce is a childhood-defining moment. It also likely set the tone for what life was like after the split. Ideally, they let you know that they would do their best to co-parent and make the transition as smooth as possible. But the big talk doesn't always go as planned (or in some cases, it doesn't happen at all). Below, HuffPost bloggers share how their parents brought up the subject of divorce, for better or worse.   1. "I think I knew my parents were going to divorce before they even realized it was going to happen. So when they pulled my sister and I together in my room, I had an idea of what was going on. I was 12 going on 13 at the time. They told us very simply that they were divorcing and that this didn't mean they loved us any less -- it just meant things were going to change between them." -- Mary Carpenter  2. "My Mom had picked me up from school and we drove to the park. I was 17. When we got there ...
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Huffington Post article
This Is How My Parents Told Me They Were Getting A Divorce
Huffington Post - over 1 year
The day your parents sat you down and broke the news about their divorce is a childhood-defining moment. It also likely set the tone for what life was like after the split. Ideally, they let you know that they would do their best to co-parent and make the transition as smooth as possible. But the big talk doesn't always go as planned (or in some cases, it doesn't happen at all). Below, HuffPost bloggers share how their parents brought up the subject of divorce, for better or worse.   1. "I think I knew my parents were going to divorce before they even realized it was going to happen. So when they pulled my sister and I together in my room, I had an idea of what was going on. I was 12 going on 13 at the time. They told us very simply that they were divorcing and that this didn't mean they loved us any less -- it just meant things were going to change between them." -- Mary Carpenter  2. "My Mom had picked me up from school and we drove to the park. I was 17. When we got there ...
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Huffington Post article
The Bay Area's Summer Music Celebration! Stern Grove Festival Announces 2015 Concert Line-up
Huffington Post - almost 2 years
Stern Grove Festival, a San Francisco summer tradition for over seven decades, announced its 78th season of admission-free concerts, Sundays at 2:00 p.m. from June 14 through August 16, 2015 at Sigmund Stern Grove, located at 19th Avenue and Sloat Boulevard in San Francisco. The 2015 Season showcases an eclectic roster of popular performers from the Bay Area and beyond. This summer's 10-week concert series features The Doobie Brothers, Randy Newman, Pacific Mambo Orchestra with special guest Sheila E., Mary Chapin Carpenter, Talib Kweli, tUnE-yArDs, and Morris Day and The Time, among other diverse musical artists, as well as the Festival's classical partners San Francisco Symphony and San Francisco Ballet. Each year Stern Grove Festival fulfills its long-standing mission to make the arts accessible to all. The Festival presents a stellar series of performing arts concerts in one of the country's most beautiful natural settings, completely free of admission. A cherished summer ri ...
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Huffington Post article
Laura Wellington: Happy Birthday to Me!
Huffington Post - over 3 years
It is my birthday this week. I will be 47 years old and I say this without cringing -- unlike so many other women when asked to divulge their age. Truthfully, I don't understand why the latter reaction is so common. I am proud of the 47 years I have put into my life and of who I am today because of them. It's been an interesting journey, with each step chiseling away the rough stone to divulge a figure that can't be copied or reproduced. None of us can, which is the reason I fail to see why a "number" could frighten the heck out of anyone spry enough to blow out a candle and eat a piece of cake. The fact that you can do so is a very good thing and should be celebrated, especially as that cake didn't arrive on its own. Most likely, someone placed it in front of you, which means you have caring folks around you wanting to spend the time to celebrate your life. Many people do not. When I look upon my life, I think about all of the significant moments I have been through: ...
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Huffington Post article
Mary Chapin Carpenter And Shawn Colvin On Mountain Stage
NPR - over 3 years
Between them, the two singer-songwriters have sold millions of records and won a total of eight Grammy Awards. They return to Mountain Stage to perform hits like Colvin's "Sunny Came Home" — and cover some of their own favorites, including Steve Earle's "Someday." » E-Mail This     » Add to Del.icio.us
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NPR article
Jeryl Brunner: A Conversation With Betty Buckley
Huffington Post - almost 4 years
The recent Broadway musical hit, the Mystery of Edwin Drood, was born from unique circumstances. When Charles Dickens died in 1870, he was halfway though his final novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood. In the story, Drood, who is engaged to be married, disappears on Christmas Eve. But with no Dickens to finish the tale, the whodunit remained a mystery. The book has been the subject of deep intrigue from Dickens scholars and fans like writer/producer/singer Rupert Holmes. (Remember his "If You Like Pina Colada" song, "Escape"?) So Holmes actually wrote a musical based on the Dickens work. He set the action at a Victorian-age theater where the actors perform as a show within a show. And curiously, Holmes wrote Drood to be played by a woman. Enter actress and singer Betty Buckley who played the title role when Drood first opened on Broadway in 1985. (This most recent version of the show is a revival.) She was already a star known for playing Abbie, the stepmom in the popul ...
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Huffington Post article
Tracy Grammer and Cliff Eberhardt at the Me & Thee
Boston Globe - about 4 years
Tracy Grammer is a nationally-touring multi-instrumentalist and singer who has accompanied and opened for Joan Baez and recorded with Mary Chapin Carpenter and is most widely known for her work the late Dave Carter. With several albums that have topped the FOLKDJ-L airplay charts and two intimate EPs that have won critical raves, she has proven herself "one of the finest musicians in folkdom".
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Boston Globe article
Mary Chapin Carpenter On World Cafe
NPR - over 4 years
Carpenter's 11th studio album, Ashes and Roses, deals with themes of death, divorce and illness. » E-Mail This     » Add to Del.icio.us
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NPR article
Playlist: Mary Chapin Carpenter, David Bowie
USA Today - over 4 years
'Old Love' emerges from country/folk artist's exquisite new album. 'Ziggy Stardust' emerges 40 years later in a remastered edition.
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USA Today article
Mary Chapin Carpenter and Shawn Colvin at ECA on Friday
Edmonds Patch - almost 5 years
Article Link:
Edmonds Patch article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Mary Chapin Carpenter
    FIFTIES
  • 2013
    Age 55
    In October 2013, Carpenter's management announced that she would release her debut orchestral recording with Songs from the Movie on January 14, 2014.
    More Details Hide Details On Jan 24th she performed the album songs at the Celtic Connections Festival in the Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow, Scotland with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.
  • 2012
    Age 54
    On February 14, 2012, Carpenter announced via her management on her official Facebook page, that her new album, Ashes and Roses, would be released on June 12, 2012.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 2011
    Age 53
    In late 2011, Carpenter announced via Facebook and Twitter that she was hard at work on a follow-up album to The Age of Miracles.
    More Details Hide Details The beginning recording sessions were recorded at AIR Studios in London, England.
  • 2010
    Age 52
    Carpenter's tenth studio album, The Age of Miracles was released on April 27, 2010.
    More Details Hide Details It debuted at No. 28, her highest peak since 1996.
  • FORTIES
  • 2007
    Age 49
    Carpenter's ninth studio album, The Calling, was released in 2007 by Rounder Records' rock/pop imprint Zoë and featured commentary about contemporary politics, including reactions to the impact of Hurricane Katrina ("Houston") and the agreement with the Dixie Chicks ("On With the Song").
    More Details Hide Details In less than three months after its release, The Calling sold more than 100,000 copies in the US, without benefit of any substantial airplay on commercial country radio. This was followed by a Christmas album, Come Darkness, Come Light, which mixed original and traditional material, also on the Zoë label.
  • 2004
    Age 46
    In 2004, Carpenter released Between Here and Gone, a somber album that addressed events such as the events of September 11 and the death of singer-songwriter Dave Carter.
    More Details Hide Details The album received some of the best reviews of Carpenter's career.
  • 2002
    Age 44
    In 2002 Carpenter married contractor Tim Smith. They divorced in 2010.
    More Details Hide Details Throughout her career, she has actively supported various charities, including CARE and Habitat for Humanity, and has conducted fundraising concerts for such causes as the elimination of landmines. Carpenter has struggled with periods of depression since childhood. While on tour with her album The Calling in spring 2007, Carpenter experienced severe chest and back pain. She continued to perform until a bout of breathlessness took her to the ER, where she learned she had suffered a pulmonary embolism. Cancelling her summer tour to recover, Carpenter "felt that she had let everyone down" and fell into a depression before rediscovering "the learning curve of gratitude". Carpenter spoke about the experience on National Public Radio's This I Believe program in June 2007. Carpenter was the author of a biweekly column in The Washington Times from December 2008 to March 2009 in which she discussed topics related to music and politics.
  • 2001
    Age 43
    In 2001, Carpenter released her first studio album in five years, Time*Sex*Love.
    More Details Hide Details The New York Times wrote that Carpenter was "harder than ever to define stylistically", and described the album as a departure, "essentially a concept album about middle age". In songs such as "The Long Way Home", Carpenter espoused taking life at one's own pace, rather than indulging in rampant goal-driven materialism. Time*Sex*Love sold fewer copies than Carpenter's earlier work, and yielded only one charting single, "Simple Life", which peaked on the U.S. Country chart at No. 53. Carpenter explained that, "When the record was released, I really believed there were several radio-friendly songs... it has been since proven to me that is not exactly the case."
  • 2000
    Age 42
    Carpenter left the project in 2000.
    More Details Hide Details
  • THIRTIES
  • 1998
    Age 40
    In 1998, Carpenter was signed to write the music and lyrics for a planned Broadway musical adaptation of the 1953 western film Shane.
    More Details Hide Details Producers proposed Shane to Carpenter after Dolly Parton, and then Garth Brooks, left the project. According to Carpenter, the producers singled out "songs like 'I Am a Town' and 'John Doe No. 24,' songs that are story songs, very character-driven, as the key that made them want to see if this was something I was interested in. I was surprised by that, and intrigued."
  • 1996
    Age 38
    In 1996, Carpenter's cover of the John Lennon song "Grow Old With Me", from the Lennon tribute album Working Class Hero, became an Adult Contemporary chart hit.
    More Details Hide Details The song "10,000 Miles" was the signature track in the 1996 family film Fly Away Home.
    Carpenter's sixth album, A Place in the World, was released in 1996 to "raves" from publications as varied as Time, People, Elle, the New York Post, and USA Today.
    More Details Hide Details The Boston Globe found the album more "philosophical and heady" than her previous work, and quoted Carpenter as saying, "All I've wanted to get out of songwriting is a sense of growth. I'm not shying away from any issues or subjects. I don't feel there's anything I can't address."
  • 1994
    Age 36
    Despite a series of relationships, including one with John Jennings, the media made much of Carpenter's single status throughout the nineties; in a 1994 profile, Entertainment Weekly even dubbed her "a spokes-singer for the thirtysomething single woman".
    More Details Hide Details
    Also in 1994, Carpenter contributed the song "Willie Short" to the AIDS benefit album Red Hot + Country produced by the Red Hot Organization.
    More Details Hide Details
    Carpenter followed Come On Come On with 1994's Stones in the Road, at which point USA Today wrote, "without sounding anything like a country star was previously expected to sound, Carpenter's one of the genre's biggest stars."
    More Details Hide Details Stones in the Road sold only around two million copies, but was a crossover success with non-country audiences.
    Judd released the song as a single in 1994, in what Carpenter called "the most exciting thing that's ever happened to me as a songwriter", and it peaked on the U.S. Country chart at No. 10.
    More Details Hide Details Later, Carpenter co-wrote "Where Are You Now", which Trisha Yearwood recorded on her 2000 album Real Live Woman; the song peaked on the Country chart at No. 45. In the 1990s, Carpenter also duetted with Shawn Colvin, a "longtime recording pal" (the two frequently appeared on one-another's albums), and sang backup in Radney Foster's "Nobody Wins", Dolly Parton (on Parton's 1993 single "Romeo"), and Joan Baez on a 1995 live recording of "Diamonds & Rust". Carpenter also performed a number of concerts with Baez and the Indigo Girls as The Four Voices, during the mid- to late-1990s.
  • 1993
    Age 35
    Country singer Wynonna Judd recorded Carpenter's composition "Girls With Guitars" on her 1993 album Tell Me Why.
    More Details Hide Details
    Pop singer Cyndi Lauper co-wrote "Sally's Pigeons" with Carpenter and released it on her 1993 album Hat Full of Stars.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1992
    Age 34
    She also wrote Tony Rice's song "John Wilkes Booth" for his 1992 album "Native American".
    More Details Hide Details
    In the wake of Come On Come Ons success, Carpenter wrote songs for a variety of artists, including Joan Baez, who recorded "Stones in the Road" for her 1992 album Play Me Backwards after hearing Carpenter sing it live.
    More Details Hide Details
    Carpenter has won five Grammy Awards and is the only artist to have won four consecutive Grammy Award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance, which she received from 1992 to 1995.
    More Details Hide Details As of 2005, she had sold more than 12 million records. On October 7, 2012, Mary Chapin Carpenter was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. Carpenter has performed on television shows such as Late Night with David Letterman and Austin City Limits and on radio shows such as The Diane Rehm Show. She also tours frequently, returning to Washington almost every summer to perform at the popular outdoor venue Wolf Trap. She is a fifth cousin of the late Harry Chapin (along with his brothers Tom & Steve), "Cat's in the Cradle" singer and humanitarian.
  • 1989
    Age 31
    After 1989's State of the Heart, Carpenter released Shooting Straight in the Dark in 1990, which yielded her biggest single up to that point, the Grammy Award-winning "Down at the Twist and Shout".
    More Details Hide Details Two years later, Carpenter released the album that, to date, has been her biggest popular success, Come On Come On (1992). The album went quadruple platinum, remaining on the Country Top 100 list for more than 97 weeks, and eventually spawned seven charting singles. Come On Come On was also critically acclaimed; The New York Timess Karen Schoemer wrote that Carpenter had "risen through the country ranks without flash or bravado: no big hair, sequined gowns, teary performances. Enriched with Ms. Carpenter's subtlety, Come On Come On grows stronger and prettier with every listen."
  • TWENTIES
  • 1988
    Age 30
    The songs of Come On Come On had the qualities that would come to identify her work: humorous, fast-paced country-rock songs with themes of perseverance, desire, and independence, alternating with slow, introspective ballads that speak to social or relational issues. "Passionate Kisses", a cover of fellow singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams's 1988 song, was the album's third single.
    More Details Hide Details Carpenter's version peaked on the U.S. Country chart at No. 4, and was the first of Carpenter's songs to cross over to mainstream pop and adult contemporary charts, charting at No. 57 on the Billboard Hot 100 and at No. 11 on Adult Contemporary. The sixth single on Come On Come On, "He Thinks He'll Keep Her", was Carpenter's biggest hit off the album, charting at No. 2 on Billboard's Country chart and at No. 1 on Radio & Records's Country chart. Written by Carpenter and Don Schlitz, the fast-paced song follows a 36-year-old homemaker who leaves her husband, and was inspired by a 1970s series of Geritol commercials in which a man boasts of his wife's seemingly limitless energy and her many accomplishments, then concludes by saying, "My wife... I think I'll keep her." Carpenter said, "That line has always stuck with me. It's just such a joke." The single received a Grammy nomination for Record of the Year.
  • 1987
    Age 29
    Carpenter's first album, "Hometown Girl" was produced by John Jennings and was released in 1987.
    More Details Hide Details Though songs from Hometown Girl got play on public and college radio stations, it was not until Columbia began promoting Carpenter as a "country" artist that she found a wider audience. For a long time, Carpenter was ambivalent about this pigeonholing, saying she preferred the term "singer-songwriter" or "slash rocker" (as in country/folk/rock). She told Rolling Stone in 1991, "I've never approached music from a categorization process, so to be a casualty of it is real disconcerting to me". Some music critics argue that Carpenter's style covers a range of influences even broader than those from "country" and "folk". Time critic Richard Corliss described the songs in her album A Place in the World as "reminiscent of early Beatles or rollicking Motown", and one reviewer of Time* Sex* Love* noted the "wash of Beach Boys-style harmonies... backwards guitar loops" and use of a sitar on one track, all elements not commonly found on a country or folk album.
  • 1981
    Age 23
    Carpenter graduated from Brown University in 1981 with a degree in American Civilization.
    More Details Hide Details Carpenter played some summer sets in Washington's music scene, where she met guitarist John Jennings, who would become her producer and long-time collaborator. However, she considered music a hobby and planned on getting a "real job". She briefly quit performing, but after several job interviews decided to return to music. Carpenter was persuaded by Jennings to play original material instead of covers. Within a few years, she landed a manager and recorded a demo tape that led to a deal with Columbia Records.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1969
    Age 11
    Carpenter was born in Princeton, New Jersey, to Chapin Carpenter, Jr., a Life Magazine executive, and Mary Bowie Robertson. Carpenter lived in Japan from 1969 to 1971 before moving to Washington, D.C. She attended Princeton Day School, a private coeducational prep school, before graduating from The Taft School in 1976.
    More Details Hide Details Carpenter described her childhood as "pretty typical suburban", with her musical interests defined chiefly by her sisters' albums of artists such as The Mamas & the Papas, The Beatles, and Judy Collins. When Carpenter was 16 her parents divorced, an event that affected Carpenter and that she wrote about in her song "House of Cards". Carpenter spent much of her time in high school playing the guitar and piano; while at Princeton Day School, her "classmates threatened to cut her guitar strings if she played "Leaving on a Jet Plane" one more time". Despite her interest in music, Carpenter never considered performing publicly until, shortly after graduating from Taft, her father suggested that she perform at a local open-mic bar, a stressful experience for the shy Carpenter, who recalled, "I thought I was going to barf." Carpenter also hosted an open-mic night at a bar in the Cleveland Park neighborhood of Washington, DC for a number of years.
  • 1958
    Age 0
    Born on February 21, 1958.
    More Details Hide Details
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