Turtle's Progress

Sunday, July 18, 2010

MCC Things I'm Thinking About, Sunday


1. I have loved Mary Chapin Carpenter since about 1996 when my first marriage was in its final days. She wrote lyrics about love and loss and loneliness that spoke to my heart in a way that no other music or musician ever had. During that time I was watching alot of CMT -- back then they showed mostly music videos. One in particular caught my eye. Shut Up and Kiss Me was filmed like a studio recording and the young woman singing was having a ball with her band and her music! I began my search for the album this song was on and before I knew it I had acquired all six of the albums she had put out up to then.

2. That was when so many of the lyrics in her songs of pain and loss began to speak to me. Songs like:

Never Had It So Good (No one's got to tell me it's over, I can see it from miles away, No ones got to tell me what I don't already know today),

Quittin' Time (We were so connected you were a part of me, now I feel an emptiness right to the heart of me),

The More Things Change (But I'm the same sweet girl you couldn't get enough of way back when you pledged your love),

What You Didn't Say (So why do I feel confused, why do I feel so used, like a worn out thought you threw away),

Rhythm of the Blues (I don't want to hear another word spoken, I don't want to see another tear shed, I can't seem to fix what's broken),

Outside Looking In (Now I only hear the noise of what I am without, I see them walking hand in hand and my eyes just want to linger on those golden wedding bands wrapped around their fingers),

I Can See It Now (I can hear it now, a breaking all apart, a strange familiar sound that's coming from my heart).

3. But in the midst of those songs of heartbreak and loss were also great ballads, hopeful songs of future love and upbeat dance songs. Gradually those also began to become part of my life.

Keeping the Faith, I Want to Be Your Girlfriend, This Is Love, Passionate Kisses, Shut Up and Kiss Me, and Sudden Gift of Fate all told a story of hope for the future. Sudden Gift of Fate especially meant alot -- "You can celebrate, gifts are never late, you just learn to wait for sudden gifts of fate."

And then the ballads... this woman can definitely tell a story in verse and music! This Shirt, Halley Came to Jackson, I Am a Town, Stones in the Road, and my favorite, Family Hands. This tune holds a special place for me because those beautiful lyrics could easily have been written for my best friend's husband. Anytime I hear this song I think of Bill.

"Raised by the women who are stronger than you know
A patchwork quilt of memory only women could have sewn
The threads were stitched by family hands, protected from the moth
By your mother...and her mother, the weavers of your cloth"

4. After listening, memorizing, and listening some more to all of these wonderful albums, I was yearning for more. I was always on the look-out for the next one... "Party Doll" came out in 1999 shortly before I met my husband, Tom. It was a remake of many of her old songs but there were a couple of new ones. One in particular could have been written for my Tommy. Wherever You Are starts out with this hopeful verse:

"I’m looking for a strong and steady heart
For a love in a world that won’t fall apart
At the first sign of trouble, near or far
I’m looking through eyes that have shed some tears
And I’m looking for that one who’s gonna face my fears
Without thinking he must erase each scar
I’m gonna find you baby, wherever you are."

5. By this time Erin and Meghan were both attending Auburn University. I made the trek down there fairly often -- always with the sunroof wide open, listening and singing along to Mary Chapin. Erin had also become a fan and we loved the soundtrack of those drives back and forth. At the start of each song, one of us would inevitably say, "I really love THIS one!"

6. In July of 1999 I went to my first concert. I took my nephew, Jared, who was also a fan, with me. We made the drive over to Atlanta's Chastain Park, and enjoyed the wonderful sounds of Mary as dusk settled over the park.

7. Since that first concert I have seen her twice more at Chastain, once on the south lawns of North Carolina's beautiful Biltmore Estate, and just this past Friday here in Nashville. It was a wonderful concert, her voice is a strong as ever, her stage presence and audience interaction is natural and fun, her band supports her lovely voice in every way, and her lyrics continue to speak to my heart.

8. In 2008 she put out a CD of holiday music. It's called "Come Darkness, Come Light" and it will warm your heart this December if you grab a copy!

9. Those old cassette tapes from which I first heard this amazing singer-songwriter are long gone -- worn completely out! But I still have the music on CD and have loaded it all onto my MP3 player. When Tom and I take long trips, and he's ready for a nap, I pull out my player, put in my ear buds, and go straight to my folder of MCC. There is nothing else I want to hear when I'm driving on a long trip!

3 Comments:

At 7:59 PM, Blogger erin said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE this tribute to our MCC! And I LOVE YOU!

 
At 9:22 AM, Blogger Joyce said...

I remember those tough times you had, when going through the passing of those many years of marriage. I am happy that you had someone like MCC who helped you along that way. I hope this inspires many to get into her music, as we have.
Love you lots....

 
At 5:39 PM, Blogger Lori Grimes said...

Great post but she needs to write a song called "The 8:00pm Call"? Love you!

 

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