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Mary Chapin Carpenter

A Place in the World – 1996 (Columbia)

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

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CDs by Mary Chapin Carpenter

The sixth album from one of the finest singer-songwriters moves beyond "Stones in the Road," a very spare, ultra-serious work. This disc presents more of the vintage Carpenter, more of a singer-songwriter than country artist.

Yeah, there is still a serious quality to the effort (especially "Ideas Are Like Stars" and "What If We Went to Italy,"sounding like they should have been on "Stones"), but there is far more bounce and musical vigor to the work. As usual, many of the dozen songs deal with matters of the heart. Not everything is so serious here as Carpenter runs the gamut from the more light-hearted "I Want to Be Your Girlfriend" to the serious "That's Real."

The lyrics, while sometimes too clunky and wordy, o,nt stories (the loneliness of "Nake to the Eye"). The song generally have an dis may not be the perfect album, but Carpenter is on the right track here in what is yet another strong album.