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Poetic Mary Chapin Carpenter

Mary Chapin Carpenter Walt Disney Concert Hall
Mary Chapin Carpenter Walt Disney Concert Hall

Singer, Songwriter


Startlingly Poetic Mary Chapin Carpenter

At the Theatre with Audrey Linden

Combine the unusual, eclectic song writing and singing talent of Mary Chapin Carpenter with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and we had a very special evening. This gifted writer performer paints word pictures filled with rich images. I could see the poetic images Carpenter was singing about. She gave such a rich tapestry! And, she also was delighted, as was the audience, by the big sound of the orchestra under the baton of conductor, Vince Mendoza. This evening was part of the Songbook Series at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, and the Hall was just about filled to capacity.

In “Songs From The Movie,” Mary Chapin Carpenter collaborated with composer, arranger and producer Vince Mendoza (Sting, Diana Krall, Elvis Costello, Joni Mitchell) Carpenter’s classic songs were arranged with a full orchestra. This is the title of her new record which pays homage to her love of “classic film and symphonic music.” She again worked with co-producer, pianist, Matt Rollings (Keith Urban, Lyle Lovett). Her album, produced at London’s Air Studios with a 63 piece orchestra and a 15 voice choir set new ground for Carpenter. And. We got to hear her songs with the wonderful arrangements by the talented Mendoza.

Mary Chapin Carpenter is a phenomenon in music circles. She is a multiple Grammy winner, multi-Platinum album selling artist, two time CMA Female vocalist, member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame who has sold over 13 million records. Many of her loyal fans were in the audience which had a mix of all ages.

Mendoza opened the evening with the stirring rendition of Bernstein’s “To Kill A Mockingbird.” Then there was a burst of applause as Carpenter entered on stage with Edward Livingston on bass, Peter Erskin on drums, and Matt Rollings on piano. She did not do patter or introduce her songs. She let them speak for themselves. Some of the songs Carpenter performed were her classic hits: “Come On, Come On”, “On and On It Goes”, “I Am A Town”, and “Goodnight America”.

Carpenter used the perfect balance of her rich alto voice in a sotto sound paired with the swelling of the full orchestra. It was a blend of deep rich tones with the exquisite music of the orchestra. Mary Chapin Carpenter is the voice of America in her word poems. She is the lost love who laments, “I loved you more than life.” “A billion miles go by.” “The girl who died is walking too.” I loved these rich images, “I am the dust you leave behind”. “I am time.” “The street filled with dreams that can never be fulfilled.” In another song, the imagery of the “waitress snapping her gum” was graphic and startling. There was pathos, loss, and the stark simplicity of the common man. Love and hope were contrasted.

She sang the love story of Mary Hemingway who had a few loving years in Paris until Ernest fell in love with her own best friend. “We packed up our dreams and our dishes and your worsted wool suit.” “Love is the greatest deceiver; it hollows you out like a drum.” ”I am standing at a traffic light in West L A.” “I am a stranger here.” “I am America”. From her album, “Stones in The Road”, she sang, “We kiss your ass, we make you whole, stones in the road fly beneath your wheels.” She dedicated her song, “Ten Thousand Miles” to her friend Pete Seeger. “Fare thee well, my own true love.” Carpenter ended her evening with an upbeat song with the words resounding, “ Show a little inspiration, show a little spark, actions speak louder.” “Listen to your heart; your heart will say, Everything we got, we got the hard way.” Carpenter speaks for the common man, everyone, and while her lyrics haunt with sadness, her music juxtaposes and is ethereal and beautiful.

Upcoming programs are: “Brahms, Berg, and Beethoven”, February 13, “Maria Rita”, February 14th, “Colburn Celebrity Recitals”, February 14th, ‘Chamber Music Society”, February 20th, “L A Phil, Dudamel”, February 21-23rd, “Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela”, February 21, 24, 26th.

There was tumultuous applause and a standing ovation from fans who did not want the evening to end.

The Walt Disney Concert Hall is located at 111 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles, 90012. Parking is under the building. For tickets and show times call 323-850-2000

Audrey Linden is a writer, actress and singer. She can be seen in a long-running “Associated Tax Resolution” commercial, two “Little Caesars” spots, a “Teva International Pharmaceutical” short, Gene Simmons’ “Family Jewels,” “America’s Court with Judge Ross,” VHS “Tough Love 2,” “Wendy’s” etc.

Audrey teaches ON CAMERA COMMERCIAL and IMPROV COMEDY WORKSHOPS through the City of Beverly Hills. To register, call 310-285-6850. Her classes are held at 241 Moreno Dr. B.H. 90212. Her next classes start in March/April with registration in February. For more information, contact Audrey at

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