Mary Chapin Carpenter, a Washington-based singer-songwriter, offered an
interesting blend of country, pop and rock on her debut album,
Hometown (Columbia, 1987). Ballads such as Heroes and Heroines,
A Lot Like Me, Other Streets And Other Towns and
Hometown Girl were mature, pensive, brilliant, while sounding
traditional and simple.
State of the Heart (1989) includes Never Had It So Good,
How Do, Quittin' Time and Read My Lips, while
Shooting Straight In The Dark (1990) has only one major composition,
but it ranks among her best: Down At The Twist And Shout.
Carpenter became a country star with Come On Come On (1992), thanks to
the catchy and sexy I Feel Lucky, He Thinks He'll Keep Her,
The Hard Way, and the serious I Am A Town.
Stones In The Road (1994) sold even more copies, as did the single
Shut Up and Kiss Me, but Carpenter's music had largely become stereotyped.
A Place In the World (1996) attempted new stylistic directions.
Party Doll And Other Favorites (1997) is an anthology with live
Abandoning the stereotypes and limelight of Nashville's country music,
Time Sex Love (2001) was a very personal confession, and perhaps
her best album, while
Between Here And Gone (Sony, 2004) was a public meditation on
America after the terrorist attacks of September 11, a mood captured in
ballads such as Grand Central Station, Elysium,
Luna's Gone, Goodnight America, My Heaven.
The Calling (zoe, 2007) was another literate and pensive collection. The
13 originals ranged from sophisticated to virulent, with the latter stealing
the show (It Must Have Happened,
The Calling and We're All Right).
However, she forgot to add music to her tasteful lyrics, and
The Age of Miracles (2010) began to sound a bit too low-key.