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The Calling
Mary Chapin Carpenter
The Calling
Genres: Country, Folk, Pop
 
  •  Track Listings (13) - Disc #1

As a songwriter and performer, Mary Chapin Carpenter has long since transcended the traditional notions of genre and style, finding widespread acclaim for her poetic, elegantly - observed compositions. The Calling, her...  more »

      
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CD Details

All Artists: Mary Chapin Carpenter
Title: The Calling
Members Wishing: 3
Total Copies: 0
Label: Zoe Records
Original Release Date: 1/1/2007
Re-Release Date: 3/6/2007
Genres: Country, Folk, Pop
Styles: Today's Country, Contemporary Folk, Singer-Songwriters
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 601143111129

Synopsis

Album Description
As a songwriter and performer, Mary Chapin Carpenter has long since transcended the traditional notions of genre and style, finding widespread acclaim for her poetic, elegantly - observed compositions. The Calling, her first release for Zoë/Rounder, is the most topical album she's made in her twenty-year career. While it unequivocally addresses issues both public and political - from the after-effects of Hurricane Katrina to religious zealotry to the trial-by-radio of the Dixie Chicks -- there is also something deeply personal about this extraordinary collection of songs. The album is a powerful, provocative meditation on the mysteries of fate and circumstance, which mingles timeless questions with contemporary issues. Introspective, defiant and deeply resonant, The Calling is a profound set from one of modern songwriting's most distinctive voices.

Featuring "It Must Have Happened," "We're All Right," and "On with the Song."

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CD Reviews

MAY BE HER BEST YET
Alan Dorfman | DELRAY BEACH, FL United States | 03/06/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Mary-Chapin Carpenter has always been a troubador in Nashville's clothing but there's no more chart room for her in Country Music now that they're looking for prefabricated pop stars with a twang. Their loss.

Freed from Nashville's constraints Mary-Chapin delivers possibly her best album ever. Eloquent, elegant and elegaic, she is a master of simplifying the most complicated truths and singing them in a melodious, sparse, straightforward manner.

Here she writes politically ("I'm the decider, like some kind of Messiah") on the brilliant "On With The Song" and a song about Hurricane Katrina refugees "Houston", as well as tenderly on "Closer And Closer Apart" about a disintegrating relationship and about just the opposite on "Here I Am." Other fantastic songs are the rocking "It Must Have Happened," "Twilight," "Why Shouldn't We," and the wonderful "Your Life Story" which asks the question "maybe love is all anybody should believe in?"

Something you can believe in is "The Calling" is an exquisite CD that is a must have for anyone who believes in clearheaded, intelligent songs lovingly delivered. Extra points for both the production and engineering which are pristine and flawless.

When you get The Calling - answer. Greatness awaits you.
"
Her best since Come On Come On
Parkin | PA | 03/14/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Mary Chapin is one of my favorite artists, and her Between Here And Gone is a very good CD. But it really didn't show all her sides, as it was quite ballad-oriented. On The Calling, she rocks out harder than ever while retaining her talent for painting portraits of the human condition and producing beautiful, folky melodies. Check out the amazing slide guitar on "We're All Right." "Houston" is a deep and heart wrenching look at the plight of Katrina evacuees. The only slight faults are "It Must Have Happened" and "Your Life Story" having similar (but strong, especially on "Your Life Story") riffs, and there aren't any fun songs like "Shut Up And Kiss Me." Republicans might want to skip "On With The Song," but it is nice that she did a song in support of the Dixie Chicks. I fully expect this CD to be on my best of 2007 list!"
Mary Chapin's True Calling
Jim Newsom | Norfolk, VA | 03/29/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Like Paul Simon, Mary Chapin Carpenter is not a particularly prolific songwriter. She crafts her songs with care, honing and perfecting them before she shares them with the listening public. But like Simon in his prime, when she does decide the songs are ready and releases an album of new material, the result is usually outstanding.

With The Calling, MCC leaves the major label world where she stood out for her literacy and honesty, and enters the land of the independents, recording for Zoe Records, an imprint of the folk-oriented Rounder family of labels. That being the case, one might expect an all-acoustic outing along the lines of her first record, 1987's Hometown Girl.

Surprise! While the opening title track begins with a Springsteen "Thunder Road" piano opening, it develops into an electric guitar driven modern country ballad. Except that the lyrics are much more intelligent than anything you're likely to hear on Eagle 97. When big-bam-boom drums kick off "We're All Right," you know Mary Chapin's been plugging in her Rickenbacker out in the rolling hills of central Virginia when the songwriting urge appears. This one is an ought-to-be hit single waiting for some open-eared radio programmer to risk expanding his playlist.

I'm guessing it won't be a country music one, though. "On with the Song," rockin' as hard as anything coming out of Nashville these days (atop a jangly Byrds/Tom Petty electric 12-string), stands her defiantly with the Dixie Chicks--"This isn't for the ones with their radio signal/Calling for bonfires and boycotts they rave"--and is her most blatantly political song to date: "This isn't for the man who can't count the bodies/Can't comfort the families, can't say when he's wrong/Claiming I'm the decider, like some sort of messiah/While another day passes and a hundred souls gone."

"It Must Have Happened" is an anthemic rocker built on a Stones-like lick that punches up personal, ultimately triumphal lyrics. She wrote "Why Shouldn't We" as an expression of hope on the eve of the 2004 elections. The album's centerpiece, "Houston," tells the tale of Hurricane Katrina refugees saying goodbye to New Orleans as they roll toward an uncertain future in Texas.

Carpenter's most touching songs are usually her intimate acoustic guitar pieces, either telling an imagined story of some semi-fictitious character or autobiographically revealing a snippet of her own life. There are several here: "Here I Am" is beautiful and touching; "Twilight" is the disc's prettiest song; "On and On It Goes" is sheer poetry. "Closer and Closer Apart," essentially a voice and piano duet, is heartbreaking in its evocation of a sad farewell.

It's interesting to note that Mary Chapin Carpenter never recorded in Nashville when she was topping the country charts in the early `90s. But now that she is in a musical class by herself, unfettered by anyone's hitmaking machinery and unbound by any constraints other than those imposed by her own muse, she has cut her second album in a row there. And she just gets better. She remains the class act of her generation. The Calling continues her remarkable string of masterful works.

copyright © 2007 Port Folio Weekly. Used by Permission.

Originally published in Port Folio Weekly, 3/27/07."