On Today: Mary Chapin Carpenter Sings 'Song of Solidarity' Devoted to the Dixie Chicks
On this morning's Today show, NBC correspondent Dawn Fratangelo visited country music singer-songwriter Mary Chapin Carpenter at her home in Virginia to promote her latest album that Today host Meredith Vieira declared was her "most personal and political so far." Fratangelo even let Carpenter serenade her with one of its tracks that Fratangelo described as: "A song of solidarity with the Dixie Chicks." As Chapin strummed along on the guitar Today viewers were treated to the following anti-Bush lyrics: "This isn't for the ones who blindly follow...this isn't for the man who can't count the bodies and comfort the families and can't say what he's wrong."
When Carpenter put down the guitar Fratangelo prompted her to spout-off on Bush, as she asked: "How has this administration affected your song-writing?" Carpenter responded: "It's made me more angry. I feel despair when I turn on the news or I read the newspaper. I feel despair that we're, we're never going to be able to regain the respect of the countries of this world. That we're, we're putting our children in danger of not having a future."
The following is the full segment as it was aired on the March 6th Today show:
Meredith Vieira: "Mary Chapin Carpenter is a singer-songwriter who got her start performing in open mic sessions in Washington D.C. more than 20 years ago. This week the multiple Grammy winner is releasing her latest album, The Calling, which some say is the most personal and political of the work so far. NBC's Dawn Fratangelo recently spent some time with Carpenter and her longtime musical partner John Jennings at her home in Virginia."
[On screen headline: "Mary Chapin Carpenter, The Politics of Music."]
Dawn Fratangelo: "It is fitting Mary Chapin Carpenter sings about a sense of home."
[Carpenter singing: "Waiting for the busses, waiting on some providence."
Fratangelo: "She has found it but can't help thinking of those who've lost it."
Carpenter: "...we get to Houston maybe they'll just wash away. Go on Mississippi, goodbye Crescent City."
Fratangelo: "Her new song, Houston, is an ode to the thousands who were forced to leave New Orleans for Houston."
Carpenter: "I was trying to imagine what it would be like if I lost my home. If I had to get on a bus and not know where I was going."
Fratangelo: "During much of the 1990s Mary Chapin spent her life on a bus, touring with her band. They were following a map of success, one hit after another, picking up five Grammys along the way. Yet with all the commercial success Mary Chapin is still humble."
Mary Chapin Carpenter: "Even back then when we had these hits I still felt, are they sure? Is it true? Can this really be happening?"
Fratangelo: "Her songs have appeal to many audiences, especially country. She's often asked where she's been. One album, she says, takes her about three years to write with what she calls a little light in-between."
Carpenter: "If you're not like plastered on the front page people think you've gone somewhere. So I've been here all along."
Fratangelo: "Front page news has inspired much of the work on her new album, especially this cut, 'On With the Song.'"
[Carpenter singing: "This isn't for the ones who blindly follow."]
Fratangelo: "It's a song of solidarity with the Dixie Chicks and the controversy that erupted when they criticized President Bush and the war in Iraq."
[Carpenter singing: "This isn't for the man who can't count the bodies and comfort the families and can't say what he's wrong."]
Fratangelo: "How has this administration affected your song-writing?"
Carpenter: "It's made me more angry. I feel despair when I turn on the news or I read the newspaper. I feel despair that we're, we're never going to be able to regain the respect of the countries of this world. That we're, we're putting our children in danger of not having a future."
Fratangelo: "When Mary Chapin looked to her own future she never envisioned this, an inviting farm house set in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Long content with her dogs, all five of them, she wasn't looking for marriage. You married a carpenter, right?"
Carpenter: "Well he is a carpenter."
Fratangelo: "Actually he's Tim Smith who builds beautiful barns. They married five years ago in a nearby field."
Carpenter: "Lived on my own all these years and so it was a big change for me, and a welcome one but definitely a change."
[Carpenter singing: "Now that it's twilight."]
Fratangelo: "These days Mary Chapin Carpenter has found what she didn't long for, a sense of home. Are you happy?"
Carpenter: "Very, very happy."
Fratangelo: "Would you call this the happiest time in your life?"
Carpenter: "Yes, without a doubt."
Fratangelo: "And what makes it so?"
Carpenter: "More things than I could have time to tell you but primarily a sense of I found my spot."
Fratangelo: "For Today, Dawn Fratangelo, NBC News, South Central Virginia."
Vieira: "Lovely lady, very talented and very humble."
Lester Holt: "And if you want to hear more of Mary Chapin Carpenter's music go to our newly designed Web site with an easier address to remember, todayshow.com."
Incidentally this was the second time the Dixie Chicks received props on this morning's Today show as earlier in the program John Larson called them "heroes." And just last month, when the Chicks won big at the Grammy's, Matt Lauer crowed: "Chicks Rule!" Clearly the Bush-hating band has a big following on the Today show set.