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Mary Chapin Carpenter


Mary Chapin Carpenter

Mary Chapin Carpenter

photo: Frederick Breedon

Description of Mary Chapin Carpenter's Music:

Contemporary folk, singer-songwriter, Americnaa


Mary Chapin Carpenter has dabbled in several areas of music, from folk to country and various kinds of roots music. Fans of other genre-defying artists like Alison Krauss, Claire Lynch, and Patty Griffin may be interested in the work of Mary Chapin Carpenter. Likewise, fans of Carpenter may be interested to check out music by other "songwriter's songwriters" like Catie Curtis, Greg Brown, Cliff Eberhardt, the Indigo Girls, Danny Schmidt, Eliza Gilkyson, Lucinda Williams, and Rosanne Cash.

Recommended CDs by Mary Chapin Carpenter:

The Essential Mary Chapin Carpenter (Sony, 2003) compare prices

Shooting Straight in the Dark (Columbia, 1990) compare prices

Stones in the Road (Columbia, 2008) compare prices

Purchase/Download Mary Chapin Carpenter MP3s:

"He Thinks He'll Keep Her" (from The Essential Mary Chapin Carpenter)
"Not Too Much to Ask" (from Come On, Come On)
"Why Walk When You Can Fly" (from Stones in the Road)

Mary Chapin Carpenter Biography:

Mary Chapin Carpenter was born in Princeton, New Jersey, in February of 1958. Her father (Chapin Carpenter, Jr.) worked for Life Magazine. When she was about 10 years old, her family moved to Japan for a couple years before returning to New Jersey, where she attended Princeton Day School and eventually high school at the Taft School, where she graduated in 1976.

When she was a teenager, Carpenter's parents divorced and she soon took up guitar and experimenting with songwriting. To that point, her musical interests had been through the lens of her sisters' tastes. But, she became enamored with her pursuits on guitar and piano and enjoyed the musical outlet. Still, as a girl, Carpenter was very shy and disinclined to seek any avenues toward performing live until her father talked her into appearing at an open mic night.

In 1981, she graduated from Brown University with a degree in American Civilization, but after some unsuccessful job hunting in her chosen field, she returned to music at the urging of a friend. Before long, she had recorded a demo of her original songs and signed a contract with Columbia Records in the mid-1980s.

In 1987, Mary Chapin Carpenter released her debut album on Columbia Records, titled Hometown Girl. Though she was enjoying some success in the folk and singer-songwriter world and on college radio, Columbia discovered she could appeal to a country audience and began marketing her to country radio. Though mainstream country radio has always embraced Carpenter's work, her appeal and creative vision has always been much more broad than that.

In total, Carpenter has released eleven albums as of this posting and earned a number of awards for her remarkable work, including awards for Female Vocalist of the Year from the Academy of Country Music (ACM) and Country Music Association (CMA). She's also earned five Grammy Awards in various country music categories like Best Country Album and Best Country Vocal Performance by a Female. She briefly worked on a Broadway Musical called Shane and has lent her vocal skills to the background of recordings by Joan Baez, Radney Foster, Dolly Parton, and others. She, Baez, and the Indigo Girls briefly toured as the Four Voices in the mid-1990s.

In March of 2012, Mary Chapin Carpenter announced that her twelfth studio album, titled Ashes and Roses was to be released on June 12, 2012, via Zoe/Rounder Records, including a duet with James Taylor on a track called "Soul Companion." Before the disc was to release, Carpenter embarked on a tour with Shawn Colvin where the two old friends played both solo and as a duo. m

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