Tuesday, October 20, 2009

CD Odyssey Disc 44: Mary Chapin Carpenter

After a chosen disc, the dice gods return to pre-eminence with another blast from my folk/country phase of the early nineties (I am realizing there are a lot of these).

Disc 44 is...Stones In The Road
Artist: Mary Chapin Carpenter

Year of Release: 1994

How I Came To Know It: I can't remember how I came to know Mary Chapin Carpenter. My friend Norm liked one of her albums, but ironically, it was one of the last ones I bought. I think I heard music off of "Come On Come On" on country TV and took a flier. This album was just me drilling through the collection.

How It Stacks Up: I don't have everything by Mary Chapin Carpenter - and this album is when I stopped buying everything. I have four of her albums, and I'd put this one 4th.

Rating: 2 stars with a thumbs up.

Mary Chapin Carpenter is a crossover artist between folk and country.

Back in the nineties I met this girl through mutual friends. I really wanted to date her, and she wanted nothing to do with me - but that isn't what this story is about (mercifully). She told me that in her early career, Carpenter was a pure folk artist in Virginia, but she commercialized and went into the country genre more heavily. I was fascinated with finding that early stuff, but never did back then, and now the fervour has left me (like my desire for the girl). Maybe another time - for the music that is.

Anyway, this particular album is a further progression for her into country. Her great songwriting, and smooth, full voice are still present, but the album is just a little too produced over all. Also, it has that annoying Bruce Hornsby-sounding piano on there. I'd like her to dress it down a little so the songs could shine a little more on their own. That's not possible though - I guess that's the way it is. Some things never change.

That said, there are good tracks on here, and an album that evokes a consistent emotion of lost youth, and coming to grips with maturity. While it is not as consistently good as her other work, and it has the early infection of "new country" it is still worth a listen. Just don't start with this one - if you start early, you'll hear her early sound in this album, but otherwise it might slip you by.

Best tracks: Why Walk When You Can Fly, A Keeper For Every Flame, The Last Word, The End of My Pirate Days, Jubilee

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