Her first new release since 2018, ‘The Dirt and The Stars‘ is the upcoming album from Mary Chapin Carpenter – it’ll hit all good music vendors on August 7th and is released through Lambent Light Records via Thirty Tigers. Like the previous release ‘Sometimes Just The Sky‘, the new album was produced by Ethan Johns at Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studios in Bath. Turns out the southwest of England is the perfect place to find an Americana sound that is both lush and intimate.
Take the lead single as an example: ‘Between the Dirt and the Stars‘ is a near eight minute epic which has Mary Chapin Carpenter leaning back nostalgically on teenage days when “the Summer night sticks to my skin / and beer’s gone to my head / My arm hangs out the window and I can’t hear what you just said” – a time when one’s whole life could be summed up by ‘Wild Horses‘ playing on the radio. A time when one knows how everything will go – right up to the point when life starts knocking the corners off those dreams that were so certain that they seemed like a reality already achieved. It’s intimately reflective – and then pours out into the ether with an expansive guitar solo that conveys those same feelings.
It fits with Mary Chapin Carpenter’s thoughts on the album, where she has said “No sugar coating, the songs are very personal and they’re difficult in some ways, and definitely come from places of pain and self-illumination, but also places of joy, discovery and the rewards of self- knowledge. They arrived from looking outward as much as inward, speaking to life changes, growing older, politics, compassion, #metoo, heartbreak, empathy, the power of memory, time and place. So, I suppose I could say there are many themes, but they all come back to that initial idea that we are all constantly ‘becoming’ through art and expression.”