Mary Chapin Carpenter Overview

Mary Chapin Carpenter (born February 21, 1958) is an American folk and country music artist. 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 State of the Heart (Mary Chapin Carpenter album) and 1990's Shooting Straight in the Dark each produced four Top 20 hits on the Billboard country singles charts.

Carpenter's most successful album to date remains 1992's Come On Come On, which yielded seven charting country singles and was certified quadruple platinum Music recording sales certification in the U.S. for sales exceeding four million copies. She followed it with Stones in the Road (1994) and A Place in the World A Place in the World (album) (1996), which both featured hit singles. In the 2000s, Carpenter's albums departed both thematically and musically from her early work, becoming less radio-friendly and more focused on societal and political issues. Her most recent, and most topical album to date, The Calling The Calling (Mary Chapin Carpenter album) , was released in March 2007.

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. As of 2005, she had sold more than 12 million records.

Carpenter has performed on television shows such as Late Night with David Letterman and Austin City Limits, radio shows such as The Diane Rehm Show and tours frequently, returning to Washington almost every summer to perform at the po***r outdoor venue Wolf Trap.


Early life

Carpenter was born in Princeton Princeton, New Jersey , 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 University-preparatory school , before graduating from The Taft School in 1976.

Carpenter described her childhood as "pretty typical[ly] 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." 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-mike bar, a stressful experience for the shy Carpenter, who recalled, "I thought I was going to barf."

Carpenter graduated from Brown University in 1981 with a degree in American Civilization American studies . Carpenter played some summer sets in Washington's music scene, where she met guitarist John Jennings John Jennings (musician) , who would become her producer and long-time collaborator. However, she considered music a hobby and planned on getting a "real job." For a long time, Carpenter was ambivalent about this pigeonholing, saying she preferred the term "singer-songwriter" or "slash Slash (punctuation) 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." and one reviewer of Time* **** 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.

After 1989's State of the Heart State of the Heart (Mary Chapin Carpenter album) , 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". Two years later, Carpenter released the album that, to date, has been her biggest po***r success, Come On Come On (1992). The album went quadruple platinum, remaining on the Country Top 100 Billboard_charts#Top_Country_Albums list for more than 97 weeks,

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. Carpenter's version peaked on the U.S. Country Hot Country Songs chart at #4, and was the first of Carpenter's songs to cross over to mainstream pop and adult contemporary charts, charting at #57 on the Billboard Hot 100 and at #11 on Adult Contemporary Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks .

The sixth single on Come On Come On, "He Thinks He'll Keep Her", was Carpenter's biggest hit off the album, charting at #2 on Billboard's Country chart and at #1 on Radio & Records's Country chart. The single received a Grammy nomination for Record of the Year.

Continued 1990s success

In the wake of Come On Come On's 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. Pop singer Cyndi Lauper co-wrote "Sally's Pigeons" with Carpenter and released it on her 1993 album Hat Full of Stars. Country singer Wynonna Judd recorded Carpenter's composition "Girls With Guitars" on her 1993 album Tell Me Why Tell Me Why (Wynonna Judd album) . 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," 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 #45. In the 1990s, Carpenter also dueted with Shawn Colvin, a "longtime recording pal", 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 Diamonds & Rust (song) " (Baez had previously covered Carpenter's song "Stones in the Road"). Carpenter also performed a number of concerts with Baez and the Indigo Girls as The Four Voices, during the mid- to late-1990s.

Carpenter followed Come On Come On with 1994's Stones in the Road, at which point USA Today wrote that "without sounding anything like a country star was previously expected to sound, [Carpenter]'s one of the genre's biggest stars." 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." Carpenter left the project in 2000.

2000s work

In 2001, Carpenter released her first studio album in five years, Time*****Love. 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*****Love sold fewer copies than Carpenter's earlier work, The album received some of the best reviews of Carpenter's career.

Carpenter's ninth studio album, The Calling The Calling (Mary Chapin Carpenter album) , was released in 2007 by Rounder Records' rock/pop imprint Zoë Zoë Records , 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"). 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 Christmas music , Come Darkness, Come Light, which mixed original and traditional material, also on the Zoë label.

Carpenter's next studio album, "The Age of Miracles" will be released April 27, 2010. .

Personal life

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." In 2002, Carpenter married Tim Smith, a general contractor. They currently live at "Elysium," a farm near Charlottesville Charlottesville, Virginia , Virginia. Throughout her career, she has actively supported various charities, including CARE CARE (relief) and Habitat for Humanity, and has conducted fundraising concerts for such causes as the elimination of landmines land mine .

Carpenter has struggled with periods of depression Clinical 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.'Academy of Country Music'
*1990 Top New Female Vocalist Academy of Country Music
*1992 Top Female Vocalist Academy of Country Music

'Country Music Association'
*1992 Female Vocalist of the Year Country Music Association Awards
*1993 Female Vocalist of the Year Country Music Association Awards

'Grammy Awards'
*1992 Best Country Vocal Performance, Female Grammy Award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance - "Down at the Twist and Shout"
*1993 Best Country Vocal Performance, Female Grammy Award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance - "I Feel Lucky"
*1994 Best Country Vocal Performance, Female Grammy Award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance - "Passionate Kisses"
*1995 Best Country Album Grammy Award for Best Country Album - "Stones in the Road"
*1995 Best Country Vocal Performance, Female Grammy Award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance - "Shut Up and Kiss Me Shut Up and Kiss Me (song) "


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Mary Chapin Carpenter


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