Skeptics might say that Carpenter’s smash version of Lucinda Williams’s ˝Passionate Kisses˝ pales beside the tougher original, or that Mary Chapin is but a folkie in poor-fitting country clothes.
They’re not exactly wrong, but her million-selling third album finds its charm in a spare Americana sound and smart, imaginative material.
Carpenter bridges country and folk audiences, much as Emmylou Harris has done, and as few others have managed.
And she’s a better singer than generally recognized.
Originals such as ˝I Am a Town˝ and the title cut are genuinely evocative, and ˝Walking Through Fire˝ and ˝I Take My Chances˝ have an emotional edge that is as raw as it has been rare on country radio in the ’90s