Album Review: Mary Chapin Carpenter – The Age of Miracles
Mary Chapin Carpenter was a major country music star in the 1990s, due more to record label maneuvering than the music she made. Her hits were memorable and firmly in possession of her distinct point of view, but, truth be told, she was an unrepentant folkie feminist with an Ivy League education who slipped onto country radio, won Grammy awards and sold millions of records.
The Age of Miracles–Carpenter’s third effort since signing with the Rounder Records imprint Zoe in 2007 (a label well suited to her literate and proudly adult music)–is almost entirely a reaction to the near fatal pulmonary embolism she suffered three years ago. Carpenter describes the album best, saying it’s “a personal exploration of regret and resilience but also a larger, more universal expression of wonder at the times that we are living in.” The title track is a prime example of her thoughtfulness, referencing the moon landing, Hurricane Katrina and protests by Buddhist monks in Burma. Elsewhere, she writes about the first wife of Ernest Hemingway (“Mrs. Hemingway”) and Chinese artist/activist Chen Gueng and his remembrances of the Tiananmen Square massacre (“4 June 1989”).
Heady stuff that is gracefully and thoughtfully accomplished. In a nod to those aforementioned Nashville days, there’s the gently rocking “I Put My Ring Back On” (with backing vocals from Vince Gill), while “What You Look For” is electric yet sweetly persuasive. Hot young country, or whatever they’re calling it these days, it’s not–but those seeking something with meaning and artistry will find a lot to appreciate on The Age Of Miracles
- luckyoldsun: "The Night The Lights Went Out in Georgia" seems to be about a lynching--even if there's something about a judge …
- Arlene: Sorry. I meant to give the link for "Supper Time." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZ58Kfe41kI
- Arlene: Another song sung by Ethel Waters: Irving Berlin's "Supper Time"
- bob: Powerful songs. I read the book "A Lynching in the Heartland" by James H. Madison about a dozen years ago. …
- Ron: Sky Above, Mud Below by Tom Russell is another.
- Jack Williams: Another Othis Taylor song from White African is "My Soul's in Louisiana."
- Jack Williams: Lynch Blues - Corey Harris Countrycide (The Ballad of Ed and Charlie Brown) - Alvin Youngblood Hart Divine Object of Hatred - …
- TexasVet: Marty Robbins - The Hanging Tree https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xczpRc6_yBA
- Janice Brooks: Nice lineup I think I read today was the Emmett Till incident.
- Juli Thanki: For $2,000, I'd want to ride a unicorn in Central Park with Chely.