Mary Chapin Carpenter – Sometimes Just The Sky Tour

Mary Chapin Carpenter - Live in Concert

Mary Chapin Carpenter – Sometimes Just The Sky Tour


With Special Guest Emily Barker
Sunday, June 17, 2018

Byham Theater
Pittsburgh, PA


Monday, June 18, 2018
Buskirk-Chumley Theater
Bloomington, IN


With Special Guest Emily Barker
Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Orpheum Theatre – Wichita
Wichita, KS


With Special Guest Emily Barker
Thursday, June 21, 2018

Holland Performing Arts Center
Omaha, NE


With Special Guest John Craigie
Monday, July 16, 2018

Davidson Theatre – Columbus
Columbus, OH


Omaha Presented by FPC Live


Presented by FPC Live | NS2


Hear Mary Chapin Carpenter’s Evocative Re-Imagining of ‘This Shirt’ at RollingStone.com

“Something Tamed Something Wild” Live CBS Performance Video – Watch Here
“Map Of My Heart” Live CBS Performance Video – Watch Here
“The Blue Distance” Live CBS Performance Video –Watch here




Mary Chapin Carpenter

Sometimes Just The Sky

Flatland is little aid to contemplation, and so Mary Chapin Carpenter has her own hill.

It’s deep in the Virginia countryside, on a farm that she got for a song. Or rather, for a bunch of songs, and a way of singing and playing them that has taken her around the world and back home, over and again.

Carpenter and those songs have traveled for thirty years, though the songs are the most frequent fliers. They spring from her head and hands, vibrate through tone woods and six steel strings, then find their way into microphones. Then they go forth into the world – they’ve been doing that for thirty years now—even at times when their creator sits at the top of her hill and observes natural wonders both human-made and mysterious.

Sometimes church bells, trees, and seasons marking times gone by. Sometimes starling swells and tidal moons and filled-up eyes. Sometimes everything at once, and sometimes just the sky.

That’s what thirty years brings: Sometimes everything at once, and sometimes just the sky. She knows that now, though knowing takes a long, long time. It’s still hard to know whether everything at once is preferable to just the sky. In halcyon, everything at once times — like when she won country music prizes as vocalist of the year and Grammy awards for all sorts of things — she was reminded to enjoy the moment. But up on the hill, the sky is its own reminder.

Anyway, it’s hard as hell to keep a job for thirty years. It’s cause for commemoration of some sort, and that sort might normally involve nostalgia and trophy-polishing. But nostalgia and trophypolishing are flatland ideas, and Carpenter has her own hill. Sometimes Just the Sky is not a greatest hits endeavor or a remastered compilation. It’s not a celebration or a souvenir. It is a reimagining of a most unusual nature.

It is a collection of songs written across the decades, recorded in bucolic western England at Real World Studios with the great producer Ethan Johns. Carpenter sat with new and old friends who circled together in a wooden room and made music, in real time. What we hear is precisely what was played and sung, all at once.

There’s a song originally recorded for each of Carpenter’s original studio albums, and then there’s the new song, which was aided and abetted by hillside contemplation and a punk poet’s advice.

“Patti Smith was saying that you don’t have to look far or wide, and it doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive or madness in order to find things to soothe you in life, or to be happy about,” she says, sitting at the kitchen table where she writes her songs. “Sometimes just the sky makes everything fall into perspective.”

Up on the hill, at that magic time of day when there is little day remaining, the sky can take on colors that escape linguistic description. A person can feel a strangely comforting smallness amidst the expanse. And thirty years of sublimity, shit storms, and all points in between can boil down to a bemused cosmic shrug.

Yearning makes you who you end up as, more or less Whatever choice I made that worked out Was just a lucky guess Just a lucky guess

Sometimes Just the Sky is about travels of varying sorts, all connected by a writer’s voice that was well-formed by the time it was popularly heard. The album begins with “Heroes and Heroines,” a song written when Carpenter was playing small clubs in the Washington, DC area, and living in spaces bereft of land, much less of hills. The next song, “What Does It Mean To Travel,” was written a million miles later, yet it is clearly of an artistic piece with its generational predecessor.

The whole album is that way, unfolding in ways at once unexpected and undeniable. If any other serious Mary Chapin Carpenter listener had been asked to choose songs for this album, we might not have chosen these songs, and we surely wouldn’t have imagined these presentations. Most of us would have gone with Grammy winners and chart-toppers, singles and sing-alongs. And we would have been wrong for our choosings, not because these aren’t worthy things but because they don’t tell the story, and the story is what surprises, delights, and inspires.

Now, the story isn’t the biography, though the biography is a pretty good story: Folk-inspired, Ivy League-educated club singer, songwriter and guitarist (let’s not ever forget her remarkable guitar playing, with compelling chordal voicings and finger-picking that produces unique sounds from a ubiquitous, traveled-and-trampled instrument) somehow becomes a major label country star not by faking a drawl or a stance but by exploring depths of language and emotion (She’s the only country star to write and sing the word “verdant,” or to use “peripatetic” in an interview).

That’s part of the biography, at least. Then there’s the part about shifting into other musical modes, and touring with childhood heroes like Joan Baez, and enduring other life battles, and emerging from those battles with gratitude and grace.

The biography isn’t the humanity, though, and the humanity is the story, because it’s our story, too. What we have here is a riveting travelogue, from departure to arrival, of a human heart and soul. It involves abundance and the lack thereof. It involves certainty and searching.

It is sung to us softly, because stridence is as helpful to communication as flatland is to contemplation.

It is beautifully and thoughtfully played, and gracefully presented.

It is full of night songs, and inspired by the time of day when there’s little day remaining.

It is an arrival that promises departures anew.

Anyway, as we know, it’s hard as hell to keep a job for thirty years. These are battle scars and lucky guesses from the journey. These are postcards, written from the ledges, recorded in the English countryside, and sent with love and intention from Carpenter’s Hill.




Mary Chapin Carpenter

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Emily Barker

Emily Barker’s latest album Sweet Kind of Blue was recorded at Sam Phillips Recording Service in Memphis with Grammy winning producer Matt Ross-Spang (Jason Isbell, Margo Price) and an all-star cast of Memphis session players. The success of the album, with its seamless mix of soul, blues, country and folk influences, and the globe-trotting tours to support it helped land Emily the accolade of UK Artist of the Year at the recent UK Americana Awards held at Hackney Empire in London.

Emily Barker - Sweet Kind of Blue - portrait - photo credit Jake Gavin

Emily Barker is perhaps best known as the writer and performer of the award-winning theme to PBS Masterpiece crime drama Wallander starring Kenneth Branagh. The UK-based Australian singer-songwriter has released music as a solo artist as well as with various bands including The Red Clay Halo, Vena Portae and Applewood Road (with whom she released a remarkable album of original songs recorded live around a single microphone, which was dubbed “flawless” by The Sunday Times) and has written for film, including composing the feature film soundtrack for Jake Gavin’s lauded debut feature Hector starring Peter Mullan and Keith Allen.

Praise for Sweet Kind of Blue
“finally sets out her true claim for stardom” Q ★★★★
“the arrangements are exquisite and the clear love [Barker] has for this music brings its own integrity” The Times ★★★★
“the sweltering funk of Sunrise and the title track sound like lost Muscle Shoals gems” UNCUT 8/10
Mojo ★★★★ Express ★★★★ RnR ★★★★★

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John Craigie

Craigie_Photos_Credit Keith Berson

Renowned for his eloquent Americana style, engaging live shows, and off-the-cuff clever observations, John Craigie carries on the legacy of classic singer-songwriters, while blazing a trail of his own. Recently, that trail twisted and turned into new territory for the Portland, OR performer who The Stranger appropriately dubbed, “the lovechild of John Prine and Mitch Hedberg.His music speaks loud to both audiences and fellow artists. Todd Snider notably hand-delivered a gift on-stage, and Chuck Norris has sent fan mail. His fifth full-length album, No Rain, No Rose boasted two collaborations with Gregory Alan Isakov, namely “Highway Blood” and “I Am California.” The latter quickly cracked 500K Spotify streams and counting as his knack for a captivating narrative and rustic aural palettes powered the 13-track offering together.

As No Rain, No Rose landed, he caught the attention of none other than Jack Johnson.  Soon after, Craigie found himself onstage for 12 shows during Johnson’s 2017 summer tour including performances at The Greek Theatre in Berkeley, CA and The Gorge in Washington. Along the way, he earned acclaim from SF Weekly, Seattle Times, AXS, and more. Festival appearances also include Oregon Country Fair, Kate Wolf Music Festival, High Sierra Music Festival, Burning Man, and many others.

When Craigie plays, it’s one of those special shows that can make you laugh and cry in the same song. It’s a musical journey that can’t be denied.

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