Sometimes Just the Sky

Sometimes Just the Sky

by Mary Chapin CarpenterMary Chapin Carpenter


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Mary Chapin Carpenter seems to have been in a reflective mood in recent years. In 2014, she brought out the album Songs from the Movie, in which she re-recorded ten numbers from her back catalog, and 2018 sees the release of Sometimes Just the Sky, where she takes another look at 12 tunes from her songbook, with one original added for good measure. Songs from the Movie found Carpenter reimagining her music on a grand scale, accompanied by a 63-piece orchestra and a choir of 15 voices. Sometimes Just the Sky takes the opposite approach; for these sessions, Carpenter and producer Ethan Johns stripped these songs down into simpler form, with the singer primarily accompanied by guitarist Duke Levine and bassist Dave Bronze. (Johns' band the Black Eyed Dogs also pop up on several tracks.) In recent years, with Carpenter less concerned with country radio that no longer has a place for her, she's been digging deeper into the contemporary folk influences that marked her earliest work, and Sometimes Just the Sky is another step in this direction. While not all these performances represent radical reworkings of Carpenter's previous recordings, with these versions she's clearly looking for a more intimate perspective on her songs, paying closer attention to the nuances of the lyrics and the lives of her characters. Her vocals are quieter and more measured than they once were, but that fits these songs well, meshing cleanly with the reflective tone of the arrangements and the production. While most albums in which artists cut new versions of older material force listeners to make comparisons to the versions they already know (often in an unflattering light), Sometimes Just the Sky has a strong enough personality of its own that it avoids this pitfall. Just as Carpenter's work from 2001's Time* Sex* Love* onward found her moving forward with more personal themes as she reflected upon middle age, Sometimes Just the Sky is a mature work that finds this gifted songwriter pondering both past and present as she enters her sixties. In many respects, this is a record Mary Chapin Carpenter could not have made when she was younger, and it documents her entering her fifth decade as a musician with the intelligence, passion, and unpretentious literacy that has always been the hallmark of her best work.

Product Details

Release Date: 03/30/2018
Label: Thirty Tigers
UPC: 0752830444812
catalogNumber: 2

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Mary Chapin Carpenter   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Vocals
Duke Levine   Acoustic Guitar,Mandolin,Electric Guitar,E-bow
Dave Bronze   Bass
Ethan Johns   Acoustic Guitar,Mandolin,Electric Guitar,Slide Guitar,Mandocello,tiple,Mountain Dulcimer
Jeremy Stacey   Percussion,Drums
Georgina Leach   Violin,Viola
Stephanie Jean   Organ,Piano,Harmonium,Omnichord,Wurlitzer

Technical Credits

Mary Chapin Carpenter   Composer,Liner Notes
Ethan Johns   Producer
Aaron Farrington   Cover Photo,Back Cover Photo
Dom Monks   Engineer

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