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Mary Chapin Carpenter

Mary Chapin Carpenter poses with Lt. Max J. Wildermuth during a USO show.
Mary Chapin Carpenter poses with Lt. Max J. Wildermuth during a USO show.

Mary Chapin Carpenter (born February 21, 1958 in Princeton, New Jersey) is a highly successful country music singer-songwriter and guitarist.

Carpenter, the daughter of a Life Magazine executive, spent two years in Japan as a child, moving to Washington, D.C. in 1974. She graduated from Brown University. Washington's vibrant music scene gave birth to her first album, Hometown Girl, in 1987, which was produced by Grammy-nominated guitarist and singer-songwriter John Jennings. The two collaborated on many subsequent albums and performed together.

One of her most widely known singles is "Passionate Kisses" (written by fellow singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams), a song with a rock flavor musically and lyrics listing simple desires such as "a comfortable bed", "food to fill me up", and "time to think". Another big hit was "Down at the Twist and Shout", which she performed in January 1997 at Super Bowl XXXI in New Orleans. A number of Mary Chapin Carpenter's songs speak to women, urging them on through hard times or troubled relationships. In "He Thinks He'll Keep Her", co-composed by Carpenter and Don Schlitz, the singer makes the case for strength and self-respect. Another common theme in her music is that of taking life at your own pace, rather than rampant goal-driven materialism, such as "The Long Way Home" from her 2001 album Time*Sex*Love, which pokes fun at a man who "retire(s) at thirty to his big-ass house next to the putting green." The album had a different feel musically, incorporating elaborate orchestra melodies, but with the characteristic lyrical depth. Her latest album Between Here and Gone was released in 2004.

Carpenter has won five Grammy Awards: Best Female Country Vocal Performance for 1991 through 1994, and also Best Country Album for 1994.

In addition to her solo work, her career has included a number of collaborations with artists such as Joan Baez, Dolly Parton, and Shawn Colvin.

She was married in 2002 in Virginia to a contractor. Throughout her career, she has actively supported various charities, including CARE and Habitat for Humanity, and has conducted fundraising concerts for such causes as the elimination of landmines.

Selected songs

  • "Downtown Train" (the Tom Waits song later successfully covered by Rod Stewart)
  • "This Shirt"
  • "Never Had It So Good"
  • "Quittin' Time"
  • "Down at the Twist and Shout" - Grammy winner 1992
  • "Halley Came To Jackson"
  • "What You Didn't Say"
  • "The Hard Way"
  • "He Thinks He'll Keep Her" - Grammy nominee
  • "I Feel Lucky" - Grammy winner 1993
  • "The Bug" (a Dire Straits cover)
  • "Not Too Much to Ask"
  • "Passionate Kisses" - Grammy winner 1994
  • "Only a Dream"
  • "I Am a Town"
  • "Walking Through the Fire"
  • "I Take My Chances"
  • "Tender When I Want To Be"
  • "Shut Up and Kiss Me" - Grammy winner 1995
  • "10,000 Miles"
  • "Let Me Into Your Heart"
  • "Stones in the Road"
  • "Almost Home"
  • "Grow Old With Me"
  • "The Long Way Home"
  • "Late for Your Life"
  • "My Heaven"
  • "Goodnight America"
  • "Grand Central Station"
Mary Chapin Carpenter on the cover of her most successful album, Come On Come On
Mary Chapin Carpenter on the cover of her most successful album, Come On Come On


  • Hometown Girl
  • State Of The Heart
  • Shooting Straight in the Dark
  • Come On, Come On
  • Stones In The Road - Grammy winner 1995
  • A Place In The World
  • Party Doll and Other Favorites
  • Time*Sex*Love
  • The Essential Mary Chapin Carpenter
  • Between Here and Gone

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It uses material from the Wikipedia article - Mary Chapin Carpenter