Mary Chapin Carpenter
July 26, 2018, 7:30 PM
Impossible to pigeonhole in a single genre, Mary Chapin Carpenter’s music has earned her accolades from every corner, including five Grammy Awards and the Country Music Association’s Female Vocalist of the Year twice over. From thoughtful ballads like “Superman” to rollicking and irreverent rockers like “Passionate Kisses,” Mary Chapin Carpenter’s captivating voice and songwriting has kept her at the top of the charts for over 30 years.
Mary Chapin Carpenter was born and raised in Princeton, New Jersey, the daughter of a Life magazine executive; she spent two years of her childhood in Japan, where her father was launching the Asian edition of Life. In 1974 her family moved to Washington, D.C., where she became involved in the city’s Folk music scene. After graduating from high school in the mid-’70s, she spent a year traveling Europe then enrolled at Brown University, where she was an American civilization major.
Her first album, 1987’s Hometown Girl and the followup State of the Heart (1989) earned her a loyal following and two Top Ten singles, “Never Had It So Good” and “Quittin’ Time.” Shooting Straight in the Dark (1990) earned her even greater success as “Down at the Twist and Shout” became a number two single. Her breakthrough album, Come On, Come On (1992) shifted her Folk songs into high gear with Honky Tonk and Country Rock songs that brought her several hit singles. “I Feel Lucky,” “Passionate Kisses” and “He Thinks He’ll Keep Her” all made the Hot Country song charts. Mary Chapin Carpenter earned five Grammy Awards during this period and solidified her status as a star of Country Music.
The 2000s brought a decidedly different turn to Mary’s music as she became more reflective and returned to her Folk roots. A series of albums have followed, each following their own creative vision and path but all radiating Mary Chapin Carpenter’s unique style and evocative vocals. In 2018 she took another look back at her catalog with her latest album Sometimes Just the Sky. It features 12 stripped down versions of her songs, along with the original title track.
Opening Artist: Emily Barker
Emily Barker’s latest album Sweet Kind of Blue was recorded at Sam Phillips Recording Service in Memphis with Grammy winning producer Matt Ross-Spang (Jason Isbell, Margo Price) and an all-star cast of Memphis session players. The success of the album, with its seamless mix of soul, blues, country and folk influences, and the globe-trotting tours to support it helped land Emily the accolade of UK Artist of the Year at the recent UK Americana Awards held at Hackney Empire in London.
Emily Barker is perhaps best known as the writer and performer of the award-winning theme to PBS Masterpiece crime drama Wallander starring Kenneth Branagh. The UK-based Australian singer-songwriter has released music as a solo artist as well as with various bands including The Red Clay Halo, Vena Portae and Applewood Road (with whom she released a remarkable album of original songs recorded live around a single microphone, which was dubbed “flawless” by The Sunday Times) and has written for film, including composing the feature film soundtrack for Jake Gavin’s lauded debut feature Hector starring Peter Mullan and Keith Allen.