Letters

Letters 04-14-14

Benishek Inching

Regarding “Benishek No Environmentalist” I agree with Mr. Powell’s letter to the editor/ opinion of Congressman Dan Benishek’s poor environmental record and his penchant for putting corporate interests ahead of his constituents’...

Climate Change Warning

Currently there are three assaults on climate change. The first is on the integrity of the scientists who support human activity in climate change. Second is that humans are not capable of affecting the climate...

Fed Up About Roads

It has gotten to the point where I cringe when I have to drive around this area. There are areas in Traverse City that look like a war zone. When you have to spend more time viewing potholes instead on concentrating on the road, accidents are bound to happen...

Don’t Blame the IRS

I have not heard much about the reason for the IRS getting itself entangled with the scrutiny of certain conservative 501(c) groups (not for profit) seeking tax exemption. Groups seeking tax relief must be organizations that are operated “primarily for the purpose of bringing about civic betterment and social improvements.”


Home · Articles · News · Music · Mary Chapin Carpenter
. . . .

Mary Chapin Carpenter

Kristi Kates - July 11th, 2011
Carpenter’s Composure: A Musical Balancing Act
By Kristi Kates
 Mary Chapin Carpenter was in San Jose, California at the time of this
interview. And yes, she’s on tour. But that doesn’t mean Ms. Carpenter
isn’t up for a little fun in between all of those rehearsals, gigs, and,
well, interviews like these.
“We have a day off today,” she says by phone, “and I went to the movies
this afternoon with some bandmates to see Super 8 - it was a really great
summer film,” Carpenter enthuses.
It’s all about balance for the singer-songwriter, who cut her musical
teeth in the Washington DC area before signing a deal with Columbia
Records in the late ’80s. She didn’t truly ‘hit the road,’ in the touring
sense of the word, until later; but she says that she’s been fortunate to
have tuned-in supportive audiences for much of her journey to date.
That journey will include a performance this Friday, July 15 in Traverse
City’s Opera House.

CLIMBING ON THE BUS
“Well, in the late ’80s, I was still a local DC songwriter,” she explains,
“I really began touring in the ’90s. That being said, it is such a
privilege to be able to still maintain a touring life, to make records, to
play out - I find out audiences to be sophisticated and generous in their
responses, and, ultimately, it is the connection I feel with them every
night that keeps us wanting to still climb on the bus and spend so much
time away from home.”
With such a positive attitude, one might think that Carpenter would’ve hit
the ground running after being signed. But marketing uncertainties at
Columbia left things moving slowly at first; Carpenter’s first album,
Hometown Girl, got airplay, but - against Carpenter’s wishes - more
interest in her music was generated once the label began promoting her as
a country music performer.

MORE THAN COUNTRY
Subsequent albums proved she was more than ‘just’ that, though. Carpenter
has musically experimented with everything from guitar effects to sitars,
and has included sound elements from folk and country right on through to
rock, although Carpenter herself has stayed away from the visual trappings
that accompany the genres, keeping her look simple and personal and
avoiding any country-music cliches (think big boots and big hair.)
Throughout the ’90s and the ’00s, she collaborated with the likes of Cyndi
Lauper, Dolly Parton, and Shawn Colvin, while her own songs were recorded
by such peers as Trisha Yearwood and Wynonna Judd; her own cover of John
Lennon’s “Grow Old With Me” would see success as a chart hit, adding to
Carpenter’s roster of successes and awards that would grow to include five
Grammy Awards.

MIRACLES OF MUSIC
Today, she’s promoting her latest album, The Age of Miracles, which was
released in April of this year; her studio work is another facet of her
life in which she works to keep the teeter-totter level and the
accomplishments steady.
“Working in the studio is always a combination of intense focus and
intermittent hilarity,” she chuckles, “you work feverishly to fulfill your
visions for the songs, and hopefully it always balances out.”
The challenge, Carpenter says, is to “serve the songs” themselves - “to
get what you want from them in a recording,” she explains.
“If we walk out of there feeling good,” Carpenter continues, “then we have
met the challenge.”
Her Traverse City audience will likely be challenged a bit by her setlist
for her upcoming show at the TC Opera House, as Carpenter says she plans
to draw from albums both old and new to comprise what fans will hear
during her performance.
“I play a healthy mix,” she says, “and some new, new songs for my next
recording. We are really looking forward to coming to Traverse City,” she
continues, “it is so beautiful up there, and I know the venue to be
intimate and charming. A week into this tour, the response has already
been tremendously gratifying.”

Mary Chapin Carpenter will be performing at the City Opera House in
Traverse City on Friday, July 15 at
8:00 p.m. Tickets and more info via
www.cityoperahouse.org.

 
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