Mary Chapin Carpenter has announced that she will be releasing a new album, The Things That We Are Made Of, on May 6. The project teams the respected artist with Grammy-winning producer Dave Cobb, noted for his work with Chris Stapleton and Jason Isbell. “He’s just such a terrific person as well as a gifted and wonderful producer,” Carpenter tells Billboard. “I was really thrilled that he wanted to take it on. It was a wonderful experience, and I’m really proud of what we came up with.”
The veteran singer’s experience with Cobb was completely collaborative. “He wants you to be happy. For example, he would say that the only answer to every question is yes. In other words, everything is possible. He never sees any roadblocks or insurmountable difficulties,” says Carpenter. “Every idea is worth airing, and he’s just open that way. I think his belief is to let each artist be who they are. He’s not trying to impose upon them some notion of what he thinks would be best for them, but rather he lets the artist brings what makes them unique into the studio. He’s utterly egoless in that regard.”
And in recording The Things That We Are Made Of, Carpenter was very much focused on it being a cohesive body of work. “I brought what I usually bring, which is a collection of songs that I believe are connected one to the other that hopefully represents a statement of sort. I was talking to someone recently and said that I feel that it’s still old school to want to create a work that is an album — in terms of what I grew up with, with albums having the power to take the listener on a journey as opposed to the more recent method of how music is delivered,” says Carpenter. “Now, you can just go to a service and pick one or two songs off of a record and not listen to the whole thing. I tend to gravitate towards wanting to create an entire album. I don’t mean to diminish anyone who wants to get their music a different way, but it’s just that’s what I’m used to.”
Billboard is exclusively premiering one of the project’s tracks, “Map Of My Heart.” “What I was trying to speak to was the idea that if our hearts could be visualized as maps — clearly we are unique individuals, but we go through experiences in life that makes us very much the same,” she explains. “There’s a comfort in that when we look back on our lives and regard the harder and more painful events of it. At the same time, you learn from what you’ve been through, so this song just tries to speak to the idea of going through hardships, detailing the joys and victories, as well as the things that didn’t go so well. It speaks to the resilience inside of us as well.”
Listen to “Map Of My Heart” below.
In celebration of the release, Carpenter will return to a familiar stomping ground — Washington, D.C.’s legendary Wolf Trap — for a special performance on July 2. Tickets will go on sale on Saturday, March 19. Additional tour dates to be announced shortly.
“It’s such a very special place, and I’ve been so fortunate to have played there for so many years in a number of different incarnations,” says Carpenter, who hails from the D.C. area. “I’ve been there as an acoustic artist, with my band, the National Symphony, and it feels like the hometown show. Besides the excitement of that feeling, it’s also one of the most beautiful venues in the world. The Filene Center is just an extraordinary place. I’m really excited to be returning there this summer.”