Mary Chapin Carpenter: Come Darkness, Come Light
Come Darkness, Come Light
Carpenter does recognize both darkness and light in her songs here, many of them ones that she’s written herself. She opens with a familiar song, however, Once in Royal David’s City. It holds memories for the singer. “ For years, I have tuned in on Christmas Eve to the live broadcast from Cambridge, England, of the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols. I have my own tradition of wrapping presents while listening to it, and singing along as well. They have always begun the service with Once in Royal David’s City, and it is one of my favorite carols,” she says.
That sort of connection between public and private aspects of the holiday season is apparent in the songs Carpenter has made for this holiday, as well. Christmas Time in the City, sees things from the point of view a musician busking along the holiday street, while The Longest Night of the Year invokes connection, hope and survival, and the light and dark sides of winter days. Bells Are Ringing was inspired by a trip to the Balkans at Christmas time. “I was moved by the spirit of fellowship and kindness in this dark place,” she says. Carpenter brings the collection to a close with the spiritual Children Go Where I Send Thee, invoking the continuing joy and hope of the holiday and sending it on.
Through the album Carpenter sings quietly, inviting the listener in to join her considerations of darkness, light and the varied facets of the season. Like most really good holiday albums, however it’s one that needn’t be put away when the season turns. Joining Carpenter are long time musical friends John Jennings on guitar, backing vocals, and other instruments, and Jon Carroll on piano.
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