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Carpenter receives honor for free speech efforts

Friday, March 26, 2010 – Mary Chapin Carpenter's support of free speech will result in her receiving the Spirit of Americana Free Speech in Music Award from the Newseum's First Amendment Center and the Americana Music Association during "Freedom Sings," an evening celebrating the power of free speech in music and honoring her career on April 27 at the Newseum in downtown Washington.

The award recognizes artists who have used their work to raise awareness and promote free speech through their music and other efforts. Past recipients include Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, Joan Baez, Mavis Staples, Judy Collins, Charlie Daniels and Steve Earle.

The event will include a conversation with Carpenter about her music and career and will feature guest musical performances by Judy Collins and Rodney Crowell.

"Mary Chapin Carpenter is clearly comfortable in the marketplace of ideas," said Ken Paulson, president and chief operating officer of the Newseum and the First Amendment Center. "Her career has been one of absolute integrity. She has consistently written and performed songs that take a stand and reflect the human condition, while her activism outside of her art has also effected real change for real people."

Paulson noted that "from early recordings like He Thinks He'll Keep Her to the self-reflection of A Place In The World to the powerful perspective of Houston and On With the Song, she has used the power of free expression to craft statements of substance and emotion."

Carpenter is a dedicated supporter of organizations including Campaign for a Landmine-Free World, Artists Against Hunger and Poverty, Voters for Choice, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation and other groups.

The First Amendment Center, with offices at the Newseum and Vanderbilt University, works to build support for First Amendment freedoms through education, information and entertainment.

On April 27, Carpenter will release her new album, "The Age of Miracles," on Zoe/Rounder Records.

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Sometimes Just The Sky CD review - Sometimes Just The Sky
Artists with Ivy League degrees are just like us, but they can see into the future a little ahead of time. Brown graduate Mary Chapin Carpenter was writing wry feminist anthems like "He Thinks He'll Keep Her" and "The Hard Way" over25 years ago. And even those songs were from her fourth studio album - Carpenter's full career spans since the late '80s. She's remained a critical fave from the start, but her luster as a country music ingenue has long worn off. »»»
Songs From the Movie CD review - Songs From the Movie
Mary Chapin Carpenter revisits 10 songs - not her greatest hits by any stretch - from her two-decade plus career with a twist. No guitars or anything else resembling her typical instrumentation (jazz drummer Peter Erskine contributes). Instead, Carpenter is often only backed by an orchestra on what is being billed as her debut orchestral record. Carpenter recorded the disc at London's AIR Studios with a 63-piece orchestra and 15-voice choir, the latter being under the radar screen throughout. »»»
The Age of Miracles CD review - The Age of Miracles
Like Emmylou Harris, Rosanne Cash and few others, Mary Chapin Carpenter has continued to create music of substance long after the hit-making machine lost the wherewithal to appreciate her talents. Some have identified Carpenter's music having been too sedate since the turn of the century, lacking the appealing hooks and lively choruses of her commercial zenith. While not entirely inaccurate, Carpenter has never released an album without more positives than negatives. This streak continues »»»
Editorial: Walking the talk – When names like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Waylon and the Hag are invoked, you're talking hard core country. These are the touchstones of country , the guys who made country music what it was and still is (or maybe can be). When these folks would sing about being down-and-out and the rough-and-tumble, they knew of what they were singing about. Fast forward a few years to the country singers of today. »»»
Concert Review: Rising Appalachia buck the mainsteam, and that's fine with them – Rising Appalachia would not be accused of being in the musical mainstream. Not too many bands who combine folk and Appalachian sounds with new world music could possibly be. And that suits the sister-led duo of Chloe Smith and Leah Song just fine. In fact, at one point, Chloe made it clear she did not embrace radio play as a sign of success... »»»
Concert Review: Bingham plays with something to prove – Ryan Bingham mainly focused on songs from his sixth album "American Love Song," for this lively show. Backed by a supportive band that also included two female backup singers and a fiddler, Bingham's eclectic setlist touched upon country, singer/songwriter folk, rock and blues. Bingham reached for lively country sounds early on, with... »»»
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