Music >> Artists >> Country

Years Active:
'80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Mary Chapin Carpenter


Mary Chapin Carpenter was part of a small movement of folk-influenced country singer/songwriters of the late '80s. Although many of these performers never achieved commercial success, Carpenter was able to channel her anti-Nashville approach into chart success and industry awards by the early '90s.. Carpenter was born and raised in Princeton, New Jersey, the daughter of a Life magazine executive; she spent two years of her childhood in Japan, where her father was launching the Asian edition of Life. Her mother had begun to play guitar during the folk explosion of the early '60s, and she gave her daughter a guitar when Mary became interested in music as a child. Carpenter played music during her high-school years, but she didn't actively pursue it as a career. In 1974 her family moved to Washington, D.C., where she became involved in the city's folk music scene. After graduating from high school in the mid-'70s, she spent a year traveling Europe; when she was finished, she enrolled at Brown University, where she was an American civilization major.

Following her college graduation, she became deeply involved in the Washington-area folk scene, performing a mixture of originals, contemporary singer/songwriter material, and pop covers. Carpenter met guitarist John Jennings during the early '80s and the pair began performing together. They eventually made a demo tape of their songs, which they sold at their concerts. The tape wound up at Columbia Records, and the label offered Carpenter an audition. By early 1987, Columbia had signed her as a recording artist, and her first album, Hometown Girl, was released that year.

Hometown Girl and its follow-up, State of the Heart (1989), earned her a dedicated cult following, as well as two Top Ten singles, "Never Had It So Good" and "Quittin' Time." Country radio was hesitant to play her soft, folky, feminist material, but she received good reviews and airplay on more progressive country stations, as well as college radio. Shooting Straight in the Dark, released in 1990, managed to break down a lot of the barriers that stood in her way. "Down at the Twist and Shout" became a number two single and the album sold well, setting the stage for her breakthrough album, 1992's Come on Come On.

Come on Come On signaled a slight change in direction for Carpenter — although there were still folk songs, she felt freer to loosen up on honky tonk and country-rock songs, which resulted in several hit singles. Two of the singles from the album — "I Feel Lucky" and "Passionate Kisses" — hit number four, and "He Thinks He'll Keep Her" became her first number one. Come on Come On would eventually sell over two million copies. Her fifth album, Stones in the Road, released in 1994, concentrated on the folkier material, but it was still a major success, selling over a million copies within its first six months of release. Place in the World was released in October 1996, and Time* Sex* Love* followed in spring 2001.

Carpenter's tenth album, 2004's Between Here and Gone, was produced with pianist Matt Rollings. The Calling was issued in 2007 by Zoë Records. Zoë also released a holiday album from Carpenter, Come Darkness, Come Light: Twelve Songs of Christmas, in the fall of 2008. A new studio album, The Age of Miracles, appeared early in 2010. Carpenter followed it in the summer of 2012 with Ashes and Roses, an entirely self-penned collection that she co-produced with Rollings. In 2013, she teamed with Grammy-winning arranger Vince Mendoza to create an orchestral album of songs from her existing catalog. Songs from the Movie was released in January of 2014

Top Albums

1. Playlist: Th..
The Age of Miracles, Mary Chapin Carpenter
2. The Age of M..
The Essential Mary Chapin Carpenter, Mary Chapin Carpenter
3. The Essentia..
Ashes and Roses, Mary Chapin Carpenter
4. Ashes and Ro..
Come On Come On, Mary Chapin Carpenter
5. Come On Come..
Between Here and Gone, Mary Chapin Carpenter
6. Between Here..
Party Doll and Other Favorites, Mary Chapin Carpenter
7. Party Doll a..
Songs From the Movie, Mary Chapin Carpenter
8. Songs From t..
Stones in the Road, Mary Chapin Carpenter
9. Stones in th..
Come Darkness, Come Light - Twelve Songs of Christmas, Mary Chapin Carpenter
10. Come Darknes..
Shooting Straight In the Dark, Mary Chapin Carpenter
11. Shooting Str..
State of the Heart, Mary Chapin Carpenter
12. State of the..
The Calling, Mary Chapin Carpenter
13. The Calling
Hometown Girl, Mary Chapin Carpenter
14. Hometown Gir..
A Place In the World, Mary Chapin Carpenter
15. A Place In t..
Time*Sex*Love*, Mary Chapin Carpenter
16. Time*Sex*Lov..
The Age of Miracles, Mary Chapin Carpenter
17. The Age of M..
The Way I Feel, Mary Chapin Carpenter
18. The Way I Fe..
Super Hits of 1996
19. Super Hits o..
Songs From the Heart
20. Songs From t..

Top Songs

Passionate KissesEssential Mary Chapin Carpe..3:21$0.99
Down At the Twist and ShoutShooting Straight In the Da..3:20$0.99
He Thinks He'll Keep HerEssential Mary Chapin Carpe..4:03$0.99
I Feel LuckyParty Doll and Other Favori..3:30$0.99
I Feel LuckyEssential Mary Chapin Carpe..3:31$0.99
I Take My ChancesEssential Mary Chapin Carpe..3:45$0.99
He Thinks He'll Keep HerParty Doll and Other Favori..4:02$0.99
Grow Old With MeParty Doll and Other Favori..3:21$0.99
Hard WayEssential Mary Chapin Carpe..4:21$0.99
Down At the Twist and ShoutEssential Mary Chapin Carpe..3:21$0.99
Shut Up and Kiss MeEssential Mary Chapin Carpe..3:41$0.99
10,000 MilesParty Doll and Other Favori..6:10$0.99
10,000 MilesPlaylist: The Very Best of ..6:10$0.99
Late For Your LifePlaylist: The Very Best of ..5:35$0.99
Passionate KissesPlaylist: The Very Best of ..3:21$0.99
Hard WayPlaylist: The Very Best of ..4:21$0.99
He Thinks He'll Keep HerPlaylist: The Very Best of ..4:02$0.99
Down At the Twist and ShoutPlaylist: The Very Best of ..3:21$0.99
Quittin' TimePlaylist: The Very Best of ..3:51$0.99
I Am a TownPlaylist: The Very Best of ..5:05$0.99
Halley Came To JacksonPlaylist: The Very Best of ..3:10$0.99
I Feel LuckyPlaylist: The Very Best of ..3:31$0.99
I Take My ChancesPlaylist: The Very Best of ..3:45$0.99
Shut Up and Kiss MePlaylist: The Very Best of ..3:40$0.99
Stones In the RoadPlaylist: The Very Best of ..4:31$0.99

Top Music Videos

Romeo (With Billy Ray Cyrus, Tanya Tucker, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Kathy Mattea, Pam Tillis), Dolly Parton
1. Romeo (With B...
Down At the Twist and Shout, Mary Chapin Carpenter
2. Down At the T...
Shut Up and Kiss Me, Mary Chapin Carpenter
3. Shut Up and K...
This Shirt, Mary Chapin Carpenter
4. This Shirt
Never Had It So Good, Mary Chapin Carpenter
5. Never Had It ...
Passionate Kisses, Mary Chapin Carpenter
6. Passionate Ki...
You Win Again, Mary Chapin Carpenter
7. You Win Again
The Better to Dream of You, Mary Chapin Carpenter
8. The Better to...
House of Cards, Mary Chapin Carpenter
9. House of Card...
Let Me Into Your Heart, Mary Chapin Carpenter
10. Let Me Into Y...
Wherever You Are, Mary Chapin Carpenter
11. Wherever You ...
Tender When I Want to Be, Mary Chapin Carpenter
12. Tender When I...


US iTunes, App Store, iBookstore, and Mac App Store
US iTunes, App Store, iBookstore, and Mac App Store

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