February 21

The “Hometown Girl” Mary Chapin Carpenter Turns 63 Today

Mary Chapin Carpenter is among the notable musicians who try to keep their music alive through the years despite occasional absences from the spotlight.  She had a great singing stint at the early stage of her career. Many saw her amazing breakthrough especially when she shifted from folk to country music. After signing to Columbia in 1987, she released her debut album Hometown Girl. This was followed by a series of releases throughout the ‘90s. Her best-selling record was the 1992 album Come On Come On which spawned seven charting country singles, including the Grammy Award-winning “Passionate Kisses.”

However, more or less than a decade later, Carpenter’s music was seen moving thematically and musically away from her early work. Her releases in the 2000s mainly focused on societal and political issues. Her comeback record Time* Sex* Love*, for instance, delved into some important issues. The album did not sell well but it received a high rating from Allmusic. The review also described the material as a “mature examination of life and love.”

The Birthday Celebrator: Mary Chapin Carpenter  

As today is Mary Chapin Carpenter’s special day, let’s not forget to send her our birthday greetings and wishes. Carpenter was born in Princeton, New Jersey. Her father’s job as Life Magazine’s executive let her spend two years of her childhood in Japan. She inherited her musical skills from her mother whose guitar-playing talents began to show up during the explosion of folk music in the 1960s.

Her family’s relocation to Washington. D.C. helped a lot in the development of her interest in music. She’s been involved in the city’s folk music scene. This experience was enriched after Carpenter’s graduation from college as she became more immersed into the Washington-area folk scene.

However, Carpenter’s breakthrough as a recording artist took place after she signed to Columbia Records in 1987.  That same year, she released her debut album Hometown Girl. Since then and through the ’90s, the now 63-year-old singer continued releasing country records and has established a solid fanbase in this genre. She scored her only No. 1 song on the chart with “Shut Up and Kiss Me” in 1994.

A noticeable shift in her music was seen in the following decade. She continued releasing records, some of these secured spots on the music charts. In 2018, Carpenter released an LP entitled Sometimes Just the Sky. Be it in folk or country music, Carpenter has proven her musical talents and has achieved tremendous success in both genres.


Mary Chapin Carpenter

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