In “Farther Along and Further In,” Mary Chapin Carpenter offers the gentlest of reminders that the act of becoming is beautiful. The song acknowledges that through all the changes we make in life, we can accept, with grace, who we are and who we become.
Farther along and further in
I think I’m finally listening
To some kind of spirit murmuring
I’ve never heard before
The song opens Carpenter’s latest album, “The Dirt and the Stars,” its premiere placement no accident. Carpenter’s lyrics, and her guitar fingerpicking, is a musical statement of reassurance and openness to new starts.
When Carpenter recorded the song for her album, she was backed by a band with a mandolin and a steady drumbeat that underscored her lyrics: “The road back home is never straight / Bang the drum and keep the faith.”
In a performance exclusive to the PBS NewsHour, Carpenter sings “Farther Along and Further In” from her Virginia farmhouse, shedding the song’s other elements and simply relying on her voice and her acoustic guitar. With each chorus, Carpenter’s words land like small waves lapping at the shoreline, a calm and steady encouragement.
Since launching “Songs From Home,” her ongoing quarantine music series in the pandemic, Carpenter’s videos have netted millions of views. Carpenter told the PBS NewsHour she was “humbled” by the community that has blossomed online with her performances.
She told the PBS NewsHour that her greatest reward from the series is “just about feeling connected to something, especially now, especially in these times.”
“I don’t think I’d be doing this if we weren’t in the situation we’re in,” she added. “But since we are, I think people feel an ability to be very honest, and I think they find comfort, if I can say that, being able to share it that way. Let’s face it, to be able to say something, to be able to let something out, to be able to sort of not hold something in, that’s good medicine.”
“Beyond the CANVAS” showcases some of the nation’s leading cultural creators — musicians, playwrights, comedians, among many others — who show us how they turn their visions of the world into art. Watch the new season, starting Tuesday, March 23, on PBS or streaming on artscanvas.org.