Mary Chapin Carpenter returns to Hartford’s Infinity Music Hall
Mary Chapin Carpenter was home in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia when we reached her by phone to chat about her show at Hartford’s Infinity Music Hall. The five-time Grammy winner was in good spirits, feeling productive about her day.
“I already checked off the thing I was most looking forward to, which was taking a long, long walk,” she said. “I walked about five miles this morning. It’s an extraordinarily gorgeous day here. I wanted to make sure I got outside. I like the chill in the air. I like the fall; it’s my favorite season.”
It was just the kind of thing one might expect to hear from this sentient singer-songwriter and guitarist known for her thoughtful (sometimes whimsical) lyrics and heartfelt tunes. At 59, Carpenter is a member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, with 14 albums to her name. She has sold more than 14 million records.
The New Jersey native hits the stage in Hartford on Friday, Oct. 27. Carpenter plans to introduce material from her 2016 album, “The Things That We Are Made Of,” while also playing songs from her 30-year career.
“After 14 records, it’s something of a challenge to come up with a set list that touches on as many of those records as possible. It’s kind of not possible,” she said, laughing, “because there’s not that much time.” She also wants to be sure to chat with her audience a bit, and throw out some anecdotes about the songs and life.
“I think the most important thing is to feel we are all connecting with each other. That is critical, otherwise why go out and see live music? I always make a point of thanking the audience for supporting live music in this extraordinary technological world, where you can get your art, music, books, movies and TV shows by hitting a button.”
“There’s no substitute for being with each other in a room and feeling each others’ energy, responses, laughter, quietude and all the things that happen when we are together,” Carpenter said. “I can’t imagine what would happen if we did not have this.”
On the other hand, she said there’s an odd irony in the entertainment industry that it places such a high premium on youth. Carpenter said she has “worked long and hard and with much passion, pleasure and gratitude to be the best songwriter I can be. And I have never felt more in possession of those tools that I bring to that, and yet it is a fact and it is clear to me and people of my generation, that we are in a business that doesn’t value or recognize, whatever you want to call it, doesn’t recognize this sense of growing older and … the value of the wisdom that comes with it.
“There is so much to celebrate as you get older. It’s a shame the industry doesn’t see it that way, but thankfully the audience sees it.”
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