Singer/songwriters are able to paint pictures with their words.
My very favorite singer/songwriters manage to paint moving picture, i.e. movies, with their songs.
Mary Chapin Carpenter has consistently managed to do exactly that throughout her career. Let me give you an example via the lyrics for her song I Am A Town.
I’m a town in Carolina, I’m a detour on a ride
For a phone call and a soda, I’m a blur from the driver’s side
I’m the last gas for an hour if you’re going twenty-five
I am Texaco and tobacco, I am dust you leave behind
I am peaches in September, and corn from a roadside stall
I’m the language of the natives, I’m a cadence and a drawl
I’m the pines behind the graveyard, and the cool beneath their shade, where the boys have left their beer cans
I am weeds between the graves.
My porches sag and lean with old black men and children
Their sleep is filled with dreams, I never can fulfill them
I am a town.
I am a church beside the highway where the ditches never drain
I’m a Baptist like my daddy, and Jesus knows my name
I am memory and stillness, I am lonely in old age; I am not your destination
I am clinging to my ways
I am a town.
I’m a town in Carolina, I am billboards in the fields
I’m an old truck up on cinder blocks, missing all my wheels
I am Pabst Blue Ribbon, American, and “Southern Serves the South”
I am tucked behind the Jaycees sign, on the rural route
I am a town
Every time I hear this song it triggers not only a movie….. but a movie of my life….I know the places of which she so eloquently sings.
Based on the above, I really wasn’t surprised when I heard late last year that Mary was going to release a new album, called Songs From the Movie, consisting of some of her best songs re-recorded with full orchestration. After listening to this album for the past couple of months I’m happy to tell you that it’s a thing of great beauty. Although I already have have all of the original versions of these songs in my music collection, the new orchestrated versions compliment Mary’s great cinematic lyrics and make them essential additions to my music library. Here are three great songs from that album to let you experience what I’m trying to describe…..