On “The Way I Feel,” a track on her new album, The Age of Miracles, singer-songwriter Mary Chapin Carpenter races alone across the South in the middle of the night. Blowing east from Nashville, she sings, “Atlanta, it’s been way too long.” Indeed, on July 17 Carpenter returns to Chastain Park Amphitheatre for the first time since she suffered a pulmonary embolism that nearly killed her three years ago. Miracles emerged in the months following her recovery.
“If I thought about what happened to me every day, I would be paralyzed with fear,” says Carpenter, fifty-two. “I choose not to go there. To me these new songs feel celebratory. They’re a document of strength, resilience, and a renewed sense of purpose with a little attitude thrown in.” Carpenter says she’s most missed that connection she feels when performing live. For years, her Atlanta fans have celebrated Carpenter’s annual Chastain appearance by dancing around the amphitheater in a conga line with illuminated pink flamingos when Carpenter performs her Grammy-winning hit “Down at the Twist and Shout.” “The pink flamingos are peculiar to Atlanta,” Carpenter laughs. “A few strays periodically show up in other cities, but nothing like Atlanta!”
The singer isn’t revealing what songs from her twenty-three-year catalog she’ll be performing this summer. “It’s still a work in progress,” she teases. “But just perhaps, there’ll be something appropriate for conga-ing flamingos.”
Photograph by Russ Harrington