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
- nm: Taylor Swift was on CSI once. Not only was Steve Earle on The Wire, in one episode Omar quoted him about …
- Barry Mazor: It's only a slight stretch to recall when Jimmy Dean met James Bond: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XbwDGtj84YY
- Arlene: I suspect you'll also be including an episode of L.A. Law....
- luckyoldsun: The Johnny Cash episode was the one Columbo case where you really felt "the b--- had it coming."
- A.B.: Janice - I saw that too and sent him a Tweet about it.
- Janice Brooks: Peter Cooper needs an edit. Stringbean did not die in 1964.
- Leeann: I can't contribute to this list, but I did think of Steve Earle and The Wire. It's not my …
- Jeremy Dylan: That was a great episode of Monk. The "Georgia On My Mind" scene is just heartbreaking.
- Juli Thanki: I think I'm the only person in the world who never got into "The Wire." Earle was on "SVU" a …
- Jack Williams: Steve Earle on The Wire.