Q&A with Mary Chapin Carpenter

In the early 1990s, Mary Chapin Carpenter was a staple on country radio with hits like “He Thinks He’ll Keep Her” and her cover of Lucinda Williams’ “Passionate Kisses.”

On her latest album, “Songs From the Movie,” Carpenter has picked 10 songs from across her career and re-recorded them with a 63-piece orchestra and a 15-voice choir.

amNewYork spoke with Carpenter as she prepared for a worldwide symphonic tour.


What inspired you to do an orchestral album?

It’s actually something I had been wanting to do for years and years, ever since the first time I heard [composer/arranger] Vince Mendoza’s work … gorgeous arrangements of songs from the Great American Songbook.

What was it like to revisit your songs with new arrangements?

These songs started out the way all my songs do, with me sitting at my desk with a guitar and singing. To hear them all these years later in this setting was really emotional to me. I will admit to ducking out of the booth a few times, putting my head in my hands and weeping. … I was so affected by it.


What do you think when you look back at your time as a country star?

It’s just another lifetime in a way, one that I look back on with incredible gratitude and affection. ? I always thought of myself as a singer-songwriter, and I found myself in a place that welcomed that. … The thing I’m most appreciative of is that I’m at a place in my life where I get to do this.