Stones in the Road

Stones in the Road

by Mary Chapin Carpenter


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Stones in the Road was an eagerly awaited album from Mary Chapin Carpenter; the runaway success of Come On Come On established her as a bona star in the country and up-and-coming AAA radio formats. For this offering, she tipped her sound down to its basics and returned to the core of her music -- namely, her folkier singer/songwriter roots. Although the lyrics are among her best and the songs thoroughly memorable and beautifully literate, Carpenter cut back on the number of hooks in her melodies, creating a palette that required closer listening to appreciate. There were no immediately radio-friendly hits to be found here -- though radio did indeed pick up on it and the album did exceptionally well. Previously, she found a balance between the lyrical and musical aspects of her writing, walking a tightrope between words and hooks. Here, she concentrates on lyrics, giving the listener something that might require working a bit to appreciate -- but also something to hold on to. And craft never leaves Carpenter's songs; these are as finely wrought as anything she's ever done and better than most. There are uptempo tracks here, such as "House of Cards," the dreamy "A Keeper for Every Flame," the retro pop
ock sound of "Tender When I Want to Be" (a song Bruce Springsteen could have written and most likely deeply influenced), the single "Outside Looking In," and the barroom rocker "Shut Up and Kiss Me." But even these are lyrically more involved than those on earlier records. The moodier pieces here include the title track, the transcendent "John Doe No. 24," and the brilliant "The End of My Pirate Days." Carpenter and producer John Jennings hired a crack band that included drummer Kenny Aronoff, keyboardist Benmont Tench, guitarists Lee Roy Parnell and Steuart Smith, and backing vocalists Trisha Yearwood, Linda Williams, and Shawn Colvin. The sound of Stones in the Road is moody and very introspective at times, but it is never less than engaging and even pleasant. This is a worthy if startling entry in Mary Chapin Carpenter's catalog.

Product Details

Release Date: 10/04/1994
Label: Sony
UPC: 0074646432723
catalogNumber: 64327

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Mary Chapin Carpenter   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Vocals,Background Vocals
Lee Roy Parnell   Guitar,Slide Guitar
Trisha Yearwood   Background Vocals
Paul Brady   Background Vocals,Whistle (Instrument),tin whistle
Shawn Colvin   Background Vocals
Don Dixon   Bass
Matt Rollings   Piano
Kenny Aronoff   Percussion,Drums
Benmont Tench   Piano,Hammond Organ
J.T. Brown   Bass,Fretless Bass Guitar
Stuart Duncan   Fiddle,Mandolin
John Jennings   Acoustic Guitar,Bass,Percussion,Bass Guitar,Electric Guitar,Hammond Organ,Background Vocals,Baritone,Bells,cowbell,Plucked Piano,Guitar (Baritone)
Robbie Magruder   Drums
Branford Marsalis   Soprano Saxophone
Alan O'Bryant   Background Vocals
Steuart Smith   Electric Guitar
Linda Williams   Background Vocals
Jon Carroll   Piano,Accordion
Robin Williams   Background Vocals

Technical Credits

Matt Rollings   Contributor,Introduction
Mary Chapin Carpenter   Composer,Producer
John Jennings   Producer
Bill Johnson   Art Direction
Bill Johnson   Art Direction
James Saez   Engineer
Bob Dawson   Engineer

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Stones in the Road 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Its almost impossible to seperate how it really sounds from how I remember it sounding. Its probably been ten years since I heard these songs, and I've done a lot of growing in those years - but these songs got me through some of the toughest times in my life. I got to where I could sing "Stones in the Road" in my sleep; I remember teaching my best friend the lyrics to "Why Walk When You Can Fly" on the way to school, and then finding she'd written them down in her journal years later. But my favorite song by MCC remains "Heroes and Heroines," another song on another album, one which I'll remember until the day I die.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago