Mary Chapin Carpenter
Mary Chapin Carpenter's newest album, Ashes and Roses, is a collection of songs written during a period of personal difficulties -- but the anguish of her experiences has resulted in a stunningly beautiful collection of songs.
“They say that the worst, the most traumatic things that people can go through in their lives are a divorce, the loss of a parent and catastrophic illness,” she says. “All of those things have happened to me in the last few years.
"[It's] a record about grief and loss, but it has an arc. It does go from night into day. I feel like it travels through some of the hardest, most difficult territory to a place of renewal. It speaks to that journey as it tries to describe what is seen and felt and experienced along the way. And one does get to the other side. I’m not entirely convinced that I’m through it all, but I am walking and talking and moving on with my life.”
Ashes and Roses is the thirteenth studio album from five-time Grammy award-winning Carpenter, including one Grammy-winning and two Grammy-nominated albums. By combining folk, country, acoustic, rock and blues, Carpenter has proven herself to be an artist for whom the conventional boundaries of the music business disappear; she has always professed a love for all kinds of music, and those influences come together in songs that speak to the most personal of life’s details as well as to the most universal.
Carpenter was born in Princeton, N.J. in 1958 and lived in Japan from 1969 to 1971 before moving to Washington, D.C. Carpenter’s early musical loves included The Mamas & the Papas, Woody Guthrie, The Beatles and Judy Collins. Carpenter grew up playing the guitar and between college years at Brown University she would play local bars and clubs in the Washington, DC area.
After graduating from Brown in 1981, Carpenter continued playing and being a part of Washington’s music scene, where she met guitarist John Jennings, who would become her co- producer and long-time collaborator. Within a few years, she recorded a demo tape that led to a deal with Columbia Records where she spent nearly 20 years and sold over 13 million albums.
In 2006, she signed with Rounder Records and began issuing collections on its Zoë imprint. These have included the critically applauded and Grammy-nominated The Calling (2007), Come Darkness Come Light: 12 Songs of Christmas (2008) and her most recent Grammy nominated album, The Age of Miracles (2010).
Recently, Carpenter was honored with The Americana Association’s esteemed “Spirit of Americana Free Speech in Music Award”, which recognizes artists who have used their work to raise awareness and promote free speech. Past recipients include Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, Judy Collins and Joan Baez, among others.