Mary Chapin Carpenter sings songs about real life in Beaver Creek
July 27, 2010
BEAVER CREEK – After 25 years, singer and songwriter Mary Chapin Carpenter credits her career successes to finding a niche in the music business. “I mean the music business is a somewhat perilous profession and it sort of does thrive on a flavor-of-the-month business,” she said during a recent phone interview. “We have a lovely constituency out there and they are very loyal. I consider myself extremely lucky to be able to do all of that and to be able to continue to do it.” The folk-country singer is coming to the Vilar Center in Beaver Creek Thursday evening to perform some of her greatest hits and to take the audience on a journey of discovery through her poignant and sometimes simply human lyrics.With five Grammy Awards under her belt, Carpenter’s rich and soulful voice is clearly a crowd-pleaser. Her music combines the best of blues, country, folk, and rock. Her newest album, “Age of Miracles,” is a more personal reflection of her life as a musician. “Every time you put out a record you hope it will reach people with whom it will resonate.” After writing this album during her recovery from a pulmonary embolism, Carpenter hopes that these songs offer a more personal view of her to her audience as well as have the listeners reflect on their lives as she does on hers. The song “I Put My Ring Back On” is a song about anger and forgiveness in a marriage. “I’m sure I’m not the first person in a fit of anger who has pulled my ring off and thrown it,” she said. It’s just a song about real life.”
Carpenter was born in 1958 and grew up idolizing musicians like The Mamas & the Papas and Judy Collins. During her college years at Brown University she played guitar at local bars, and was discovered by John Jennings and landed 20 years with Columbia Records. Over 13 million album sales later and 15 Grammy nominations, Carpenter has also been recognized with the “Spirit of America Free Speech in Music Award,” which praised her for raising free speech awareness through music. With songs like “4 June 1989″ in her newest album, Carpenter clearly still holds the torch for the senseless tragedies of modern warfare.”This song was inspired by the profile of a Chinese artist who had been a foot solder in the Chinese army during the Tienneman Square massacre,” she said. “I remember this profile in The New York Times and I was very moved by it and that’s how the song came about.”Carpenter claims that she always writes about the subjects that she thinks touch the most human parts of the soul. Most people know Carpenter for her hit songs like “He Thinks He’ll Keep Her” and “Shut up and Kiss Me.”Bari Blanks, a summertime Vail resident and longtime fan of Carpenter, is excited for her performance.”She has a great voice and most women can relate to the lyrics in her songs,” Blanks said.Women’s rights and the echoes of the past struggles lately overcome are featured in the “Keep Her” and is a darkly humorous take on life before the women’s rights movement.”Well, it really was just inspired by an old Geritol commercial,” Carpenter said. “When I was growing up in the early ’60s, there’s a commercial where a woman was running around doing everything, and the man comes home and says, ‘My wife, I’ll think I’ll keep her.’ It was just really taking a poke at that dated thought or lifestyle.” Carpenter’s “take no prisoners” attitude to songwriting and her easygoing nature make for a smoldering performance. The audience can look forward to two hours’ worth of songs on her list for the Vilar.