Mary Chapin Carpenter will perform with special guest Emily Barker at Freeman Stage in West Fenwick on July 28 at 7 p.m. This will be her second appearance at the outdoor venue, in two consecutive years.
The five-time Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter will play songs from her latest album, “Sometimes Just the Sky,” which was released on March 30.
The album is an audio snapshot, meaning it was recorded in real time at Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studios outside Bath, England. What can be heard as one listens to the album is exactly how it was performed as Carpenter circled together with friends in a wood-paneled studio room.
Produced by Ethan Johns, the record is a compilation of songs written throughout the three decades of her recording career.
“Even though they come from all different times of my life, somehow — magically to me — they have these themes... they seem like they are meant to be together,” Carpenter told the Coastal Point.
The folk-inspired country star re-created one song from each of her previous 12 studio albums, with long-time collaborator Duke Levine on guitar and a selection of Johns’ favorite musicians.
“I had some criteria that I tried to use — one being one song from every existing album, and it couldn’t be a song already re-imagined,” Carpenter said. “I also didn’t really have a hankering to revisit, for lack of a better word, the radio songs.”
The album contains one new song: “Sometimes Just the Sky.” The title track was inspired by the poetic words of punk singer-songwriter Patti Smith. She had spoken about discovering happiness and adapting a new perspective in an interview Carpenter had read. It is the only song written for the new record.
Carpenter said she perceives the process of songwriting as an educational experience.
“The beauty of songwriting is every time you sit down, you’re learning again,” she said. With each song, the singer learns to depict scenes and eliminate wasted words.
Over her 30-year career, Carpenter has received an impressive list of awards: 15 Grammy nominations, five Grammys, two CMAs, two ACMs and an Emmy. She was also inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in the fall of 2012 and was honored with the Americana Association’s “Spirit of Americana Free Speech in Music Award.”
Throughout moments of both praise and what she called the “white-hot light of scrutiny” she experienced when establishing herself in the music industry, Carpenter has remained true to herself.
“I’m exactly who I am on stage as I am on the bus or sitting around my house in my pajamas,” she said.
At Saturday’s concert, in addition to the track list of “Sometimes Just the Sky,” Carpenter will play songs that should be familiar to the audience.
“When I work on a set list, it is really important to me to get it right... A concert is an opportunity to take a trip together,” Carpenter said.
Tickets range from $35 to $55, depending on premium assigned seating or general admission.
By Ally Lanasa