Mary Chapin Carpenter filled up a lot of her weekends this summer with tour dates — not surprising because it’s something most artists who’ve built any kind of a career in country music do just about every year.
But for Mary Chapin, it’s all a little different this time around. The tour accompanies her first album in three years, titled The Age Of Miracles, and a miracle is a good way to describe her ability to tour at all.
In April 2007, she suffered a pulmonary embolism, a blockage in the primary artery in the lung. She had to cancel all of her concerts for the year. It also put the touring part of her career on a very lengthy hold.
In fact, it took about six months before Mary Chapin even felt up to writing songs again. And it took even longer for her to go ahead and record them.
“Three years later,” she told The Grand Rapids Press, “I was ready to make a record.”
Mary Chapin’s music has always had an introspective quality about it; coming on the heels of such a life-changing event, The Age Of Miracles naturally follows in that same vein. Among the songs on the album is “Iceland,” which explores some of the emotions that came with her potentially fatal experience.
“It’s not about Iceland the country,” she said. “It’s about the sense of fear and darkness and cold and disconnect that I felt in my life right after I got sick, but also the immediate fear of when I was in the ER on the gurney and they were trying to figure out what the hell was happening to me.”
Mary Chapin is clearly feeling strong again. Not only is she doing her first full-fledged tour since the embolism threatened her life, she’s hitting the road hard. Beginning Tuesday night, she’s got a run of six concerts in six different cities over six straight days. That’s a lot of travel, a sign that the Grammy-winning singer-songwriter has indeed regained her strength. And it’s not just her health that’s been restored — she’s also regained her excitement for life.
“It’s very celebratory,” she said, “to be able to go out again.”