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The Age of Miracles CD

4.6 out of 5 stars 77 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

2010 studio album from the acclaimed singer/songwriter. Written and recorded over the past three years, The Age Of Miracles is a personal exploration of regret and resilience from the Mary as well as a larger, more universal expression of wonder at the times we are living in. The record features an incredible line-up of musicians, including longtime collaborator Matt Rollings as well as Russ Kunkel (drums), Duke Levine (electric and acoustic guitar) and Glenn Worf (bass). Also featured on the album are guest vocals from Vince Gill and Alison Krauss.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 27, 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Zoe
  • ASIN: B0033G9O1E
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,546 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Amazon's Mary Chapin Carpenter Store

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By Jesse Kornbluth on April 27, 2010
Format: Audio CD
"We've got two lives, one we're given, the other one we make," Mary Chapin Carpenter sang on Come On Come On, her 1992 breakthrough album. For her, that estimate was too conservative --- three years ago, a pulmonary embolism nearly killed her. Seasons of doctors followed, and medicine and rest. Now she's released The Age of Miracles, and it's not overstatement to suggest that it's a rebirth --- a third life for her.

Small complication: In each of her lives, there have been two Mary Chapin Carpenters, one a significant writer, one a singer who can deliver hits. Sometimes the brainiac Brown grad and the Nashville hit maker don't seem to meet. She writes from the intersection of emotion and reason; she can sing like she's fronting a bar band. It's those raucous, bawdy songs that get the most air play --- and will, forever. Mary Chapin Carpenter feels lucky. She'll take her chances. And you should see her at the Twist & Shout. Etc....

I'm fond of that Mary Chapin Carpenter, but I value the writer more. And as a writer, she's anything but Nashville. Carpenter is a master of the line that slips under the radar and pierces your heart, the thought you believed only you had, the painful truth that loses some of its pain for being shared. We have a mutual friend in Don Schlitz, who wrote "The Gambler" and a sheaf of other songs that will be played as long as there is music. Though they collaborated fifteen years ago, the memory is still sweet. "To think, I had the opportunity to sit across the table and make up a few songs with her," he says. "You can only imagine what a lifetime experience that was.
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My iPod has a number of genres I've set- jazz, classical, country, various world catagories, etc....and then there are two oddball genres -Van Morrison and Mary Chapin Carpenter. Both talents deep beyond measure and in a genre all their own. MCC's new CD may be her best in a long productive career. From the opening track you know you've stepped into a beautiful zone where music and lyrics flow effortlessly and tap into the core of the human experience. Sound a little too much? Thanks to MCC we do live in an "Age of Miracles." She'll move you through soul searching, contemplative, uplifting and bitter sweet reflections that make you feel she's your twin sister that's been beside you your whole life and just decided to sing that life to you. I could go through the CD and analyze, critique, or summarize each song but that's not what this CD's about. This is about personal introspection and that's the wonderful journey for you as Mary opens your heart and your psyche through her music. Ignore the amateurish cover illusration and go straight to the music (and lyric sheet) and listen to the pure talent of a great singer-songwriter-musician at the top of her game.
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Format: Audio CD
Prime Cuts: Mrs Hemingway, I Put My Ring Back On, The Way I Feel

Be warned: if you are looking for the impellent Carpenter who has carved her name on the country charts with hits such as "Down on the Twist and Shout," "I Feel Lucky" or "Passionate Kisses," you will be gravely disappointed. After her 1996 "Come On, Come On," Carpenter has hung up her boots to the peak of the country charts. And ever since she was signed to Rounder/Zoe Records she has never come close to hiking anyway near to the precipice of marketability. "Age of Miracles," like her predecessors "The Calling" and "Between Here and Gone," finds a cosseted Carpenter indulging into an introspective ballad-heavy folk style narrating stories and message songs that are often heartbreaking, daring and salient. While country artists are often flagged with distaste for dealing with politics, Carpenter speaks her mind not with fire and brimstone but often even more pointedly through her stories. This is perhaps what makes Carpenter head and shoes above those pedestrian coffeehouse-strumming singer-songwriters out there. Again as with most of her outputs, Carpenter single-handedly wrote all 12 tunes with Nashville ace keyboardist Matt Rollings taking on the producer's seat.

Among the ballads (which are in galore here), the one that is most arresting is "Mrs Hemingway." Backed with just the naked tickling of the piano before she's joined by a bevy of gorgeous strings, Carpenter dons the voice of Ernest Hemingway's first wife as she tells of their ill-fated relationship. History has never sounded more gorgeously haunting than on this track. "Mrs. Hemingway" indeed is a gem in Carpenter's portfolio of works.
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Format: Audio CD
This CD has pretty much what you would expect from Mary Chapin Carpenter: literate lyrics, lovely musical arrangements, and Carpenter's smooth comfortable voice. It won't blow the doors off. If anything, Carpenter is more introspective than ever and quite focused on finding the beauty in every part of life. Rather than the defiance of He Thinks He'll Keep Her and I Feel Lucky, we get I Put My Ring Back On, the only true country song on this album with a nice count-your-blessings twist (and great backup vocal from Vince Gill). This is the type of CD I can listen to over and over. She writes really smart songs and has revealed quite a bit of herself. My personal favorite is Mrs. Hemingway. How many songwriters read two out-of-print bios as research for a single song? In my personal opinion, this isn't quite up to the level of The Calling and her holiday CD, but it's darn good.
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