Having found success as solo acts with eight Grammy awards between the two of them, Mary Chapin Carpenter and Shawn Colvin have been friends for years, which lends to an incredible dose of unrivaled artistic chemistry.
When they take the stage together at Eisenhower Auditorium on Oct. 19, they’ll bring with them a sprawling songbook and camaraderie that is as natural and organic as their music which has been winning over audiences for decades.
“We’ve known each other for such a long time, and musically we’re very compatible and I think that we sound great together,” Colvin said. “Mary Chapin is a great guitar player, and since we’ve known each other for so long, we have a sort of banter and we enjoy going back and forth, there’s a kind of living room feel, if you will.”
“At a certain point it’s very instinctive,” Carpenter said. “When you’ve known someone for a very long time, you get to know where they’re going. ... I love singing harmony on Shawn’s songs. We loved the same artists growing up, so there’s just a lot to share and I think that definitely comes through on stage.”
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In the past couple of years, Carpenter has persevered through parental loss, a devastating illness and a divorce. Despite the seemingly impossible task of overcoming these recent hardships, she was able to carry on, culminating with the release of last year’s almost therapeutic “Ashes and Roses.”
“Anything that’s important to you that you can’t do anymore makes you feel kind of lost,” Carpenter said. “Work is work in the sense that it fills up your life and gives you meaning, an identity and purpose, which is all very important, and songwriting is part of my work and it’s very medicinal in a way.”
Carpenter and Colvin have grown as writers and performers since they first hit the mainstream’s radar in the late 1980s. However, while progression is only natural, they still stick strongly to their expertly crafted musical roots.
“I don’t think it’s changed all that much,” Colvin said of her music. “I found what I like, it’s my style. Lyrically, I just write about what’s going on with me.”
“Lyrically, I hope that I’ve become better at holding ideas and details,” Carpenter said. “But as far as the way I write songs, I’ve been doing it the same way that I always have.”