Cover__300RGB (4)From album to album, there is an anticipation that Mary Chapin Carpenter might not do as good as her last one. Well, it was just too damn good. How does one top it?  If there is one thing I’ve learned over time, it’s that Mary Chapin Carpenter does not disappoint with her warmly crafted works of gold. It may be that she CAN’T disappoint.

With a rich library of songs already in place beginning with music from her Columbia Records debut, Hometown Girls from 1987, Ms Carpenter has kept an audience in thrall to her sensitivity, her craft of song, and her many levels of love that even include love of the human race.  After her lengthy tenure at Columbia Records, where she left a legacy of some eight beautiful albums, she joined the family at Rounder Records under their Zöe imprint.  Her debut album, The Calling, released in 2007, provided a collection of guitar and piano oriented songs, with her usual blend and depth of her philosophy of life and love.

Last year’s Ashes And Roses was an album difficult to put away for many of the same reasons previously noted.  However, Ashes And Roses seemed to elevate her craft just a little higher.  That’s not surprising given her talents and ability to look deeper into this thing we call life than others do.

With the recent release of her newest album, Songs From The Movie, I’m more than surprised that she was amply able to top her previous works.  But that is what she’s done.  The album begins with a love song to humanity on her beautiful “On And On It Goes”. With her belief that a stranger’s life could be changed by our own fearless living, she wins not only by her music compositions, but by her lyrical depth.

With “I Am A Town”, she explores what makes up a life in a town. Her songs are accompanied by the occasional guitar and piano, but is elevated by their musical orchestral components, movie-like. In reality, each of her songs are little movies, or at least, all a part of a single movie, as the title of her album would have you think. With ten full songs, the listener is carried away by the stories of Songs From The Movie.

Mary Chapin Carpenter is a conduit into the world’s goodness. She understands hard roads.  She understands the nostalgia of our lives. She understands the magic of a breath.  And she understands our inherent goodness.  Songs From The Movie is a beautiful success! Mary Chapin Carpenter is still a powerful force in our everyday music.

–Matt Rowe

Release Date: January 14, 2014
Label: Rounder Records/Zöe Records

Availability: CD, LP

By MARowe