Sunday, February 21, 2010

Happy Birthday Chapin

Ain't it the truth.

Mary Chapin Carpenter has moved on from the country music world now, but she never really quite fit totally into that genre in the first place. A little rock, a little folk, but most of all, great songwriting - as evidenced by all these stars, singing her song back in 1993 when she was on top of the game. Having conquered the country charts, eventually she followed her own path back to more of a folk style with intense, personal songs. Instead of trying to keep that gravy train rolling and looking for the next radio friendly hit, she stayed true to her music - quite an honorable thing, to walk away from all that fame and fortune.

I waited in line for hours to see her from the front row in a general admission show at the Sparta Rodeo Fairgrounds in July of '93. Sunny, hot, dehydration starting to set in, we held our ground as the place filled with thousands of fans. The ticket cost a whopping $5 - and in a glimpse of a future to come, I took a bunch of pictures. At the time though, I was more into the music, having just joined a band myself. We weren't playing country, that's for sure, but in my alone time I would grab my guitar and teach myself her songs. Like Mary Chapin, I never quite fit into one genre myself, carrying that feeling of being a misfit and an outsider, but yet being able to excel in whatever held my attention at the moment. It's both painful and satisfying at the same time, and it's a place I still find myself in to this day.

Over the years I would drive to Kalamazoo, Ann Arbor, and Detroit to see her again, enthralled each and every time. I hope to see her again someday.

Happy Birthday Chapin, and thanks for the great music.