Mary Chapin Carpenter

Singer/songwriter Mary Chapin Carpenter is best-known as a country singer - and she has the awards to prove it - although her songs straddle many styles. She was born in Princeton, New Jersey on February 21, 1958 and was strongly influenced by her parents' record collection. By the time her parents divorced when she was 16 (inspiring her song “House of Cards”), she was already playing guitar and singing. After a couple of years living in Japan, she moved to Washington where her career took off in earnest when she was signed by Columbia and released her first album Hometown Girl in 1987. Believing her varied styles confused audiences, Columbia decided to promote her as a country act and in 1990, she achieved a breakthrough with the Grammy Award-winning “Down at the Twist & Shout” from her Shooting Straight in the Dark album. She carved out a distinctive country rock style that marked her successful 1992 album Come On Come On which produced the hit single “He Thinks He'll Keep Her” and remained in the US Country Charts for 97 weeks. As a result, her songs were picked up by other artists - notably Dolly Parton and Joan Baez - while her 2001 record Time*Sex*Love was described in one review as ‘a concept album about middle age.’ Despite occasional bouts of depression, she continued to tour and record regularly as her writing became increasingly political (her 2004 album Between Here & Gone addressed the 9/11 terrorist attacks and The Calling in 2007 tackled the Hurricane Katrina disaster). In 2014, she released Songs from the Movie, a live orchestral recording from a concert at Celtic Connections festival in Glasgow. She followed this in 2018 with Sometimes Just the Sky. In August, 2020, she released The Dirt and the Stars, her 15th studio album and her first album of all-new material since 2016’s The Things That We Are Made Of.

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