Thursday, July 19, 2007

Between Here and Gone (Mary Chapin Carpenter)

Dave Carter died five years ago today - for now I'm copying and pasting information from his website... and, after getting together with K Sunday, I will follow up with personal remembrances/experiences. He is so much missed, musically and personally - major understatement...

Love From Tracy - Sunday, July 21, 2002

Dearest friends and sweet fans,

I am with you in tears and bottomless sorrow. This loss is indescribable. He was endless spring to me, he was bountiful joy and gentleness and laughter. He was my soulmate, my partner in everything wordly and otherwise. I visited with him one last time today and he glowed golden and ageless. His sister and I agreed he looked like an angel. He was absolutely beautiful.

Yesterday, shortly after he went unconscious, he came back for a lucid minute to two to tell me, "I just died... Baby, I just died..." There was a look of wonder in his eyes, and though I cried and tried to deny it to him, I knew he was right and he was on his way. He stayed with me a minute more but despite my attempts to keep him with me, I could see he was already riding that thin chiffon wave between here and gone. He loved beauty, he was hopelessly drawn to the magic and the light in all things. I figure he saw something he could not resist out of the corner of his eye and flew into it. Despite the fact that every rescue attempt was made by paramedics and hospital staff and the death pronouncement officially came at 12:08 pm Eastern Time, I believe he died in my arms in our favorite hotel, leaving me with those final words. That's the true story I am going to tell.

I am so, so very moved by your recollections. I have a thousand hugs and tears and words waiting for whoever wants or needs them. I will meet you at Falcon Ridge on Saturday, if not before. We need to keep this music alive, it was always my mission that the world hear and know the poetry and vision and wonderful mystical magic of David Carter. This path is broad and long; I hope you will stay the course with me.

In the center of our hotel window earlier tonight, by lamplight, came the shadow of a bird to my curtain. He held steady for a four flaps of the wing, maybe five, and then he pivoted away. My heart froze for an instant and then I felt some relief. I took this midnight messenger as a sign. You know that I have been desperate for a sign.

My love to you,



"Dave Carter, 49, folk artist touted as 'major lyrical talent' - by Scott Alarik, Globe Correspondent, 7/23/2002

Dave Carter, who with partner Tracy Grammer was one of the fastest-rising acts in folk music, died Friday in Northampton of a massive heart attack. He was 49.

He and Grammer recorded for the Western Massachusetts label Signature Sounds. Their latest compact disc, ''Drum Hat Buddha,'' was seen as a major breakthrough record, prompting the Associated Press to say of Mr. Carter, who wrote the songs for the duo, ''He writes songs that can stand with the best of contemporary singer-songwriters or sound like they were written 100 years ago.'' Many predicted Mr. Carter and Grammer would become major stars. The Los Angeles Times announced Mr. Carter as ''a major lyrical talent,'' and Great Britain's Folk Roots magazine said his songs were ''destined to become the stuff of legend.''

The duo was just becoming known outside the vibrant subculture of modern folk music. Joan Baez had recently embraced Mr. Carter's music in the same fervor with which she famously promoted the songs of Bob Dylan in the 1960s and Dar Williams in the '90s. She planned to record several of Mr. Carter's songs and to use them in a world tour, as she did nationally last spring. In a Globe profile of Mr. Carter and Grammer last fall, Baez praised Mr. Carter's ability to write intimate songs that ''are available to other people. It's a kind of genius, you know,'' she said, ''and Dylan had the biggest case of it. But I hear it in Dave's songs, too.''

Jim Olsen, president of Signature Sounds, first heard Mr. Carter and Grammer in 1999, and immediately signed them to a long-term contract. They released two CDs for Signature, ''Tanglewood Tree'' in 2000 and ''Drum Hat Buddha'' in 2001. They were scheduled to go into the studio again in December. ''What made Dave such a great songwriter in my mind,'' Olsen said yesterday from his Whately offices, ''was that he had one of the most diverse knowledge bases of any person I've ever known, studied all kinds of music. His songs were very complex and sophisticated, and yet he was also a master storyteller. He grew up listening to a lot of country and folk music, and that tradition of accessibility and storytelling worked its way into his music.''

Mr. Carter perfectly fit the old showbiz saw of the overnight sensation who was years in the making. Though he studied classical and world music (he had a master's degree in music theory from the University of Oklahoma), and was an excellent jazz pianist, he did not pick up a guitar to write a song until he was 42. He was born on Aug. 13, 1952, in Oxnard, Calif., and raised in Oklahoma and Texas. He worked as a mathematician and computer programmer until 1994, when he began to pursue songwriting seriously. By that time he had moved to Portland, Ore., where he met Grammer at an open mike event. They quickly became a duo, both professionally and romantically, and her fiddle arrangements and rich vocals greatly enhanced the easy melodicism of his songs.

Mr. Carter had the rare ability to pen songs that were at once deeply spiritual, often mystical, and yet universal in their emotional scope and melodic allure. His melodies carried an unmistakable blend of modern pop and what Baez called ''something kind of Southern-rootsy.'' It was that melding of the folksy and the urbane, the ancient and the modern, the dense poet and the welcoming troubadour, that had so many in the folk world deeming Mr. Carter a major new songwriting voice. The future seemed unlimited.

When we signed Dave and Tracy,'' said Olsen, ''the promise I made them was that they may not make the big time because what they do is so personal and sophisticated, but that they were going to have a lifelong career. That appealed to Dave very much. But the truth is,'' Olsen said, ''I always believed it would only take one cover by a major star to unveil his work to the rest of the world; and I was convinced that was going to happen. Somebody was going to open the door for them; and the thing about Dave's music is that once people heard it, they became lifelong fans.''

Mr. Carter leaves Grammer; his father and stepmother, Robert and Charlene Carter of Tulsa, Okla.; and a sister, Elise Fischer. "

SONG: Between Here and Gone by Mary Chapin Carpenter

POEM: As Kingfishers Catch Fire by Gerard Manley Hopkins

As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame;
As tumbled over rim in roundy wells
Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell's
Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name;
Each mortal thing does one thing and the same:
Deals out that being indoors each one dwells;
Selves—goes itself; myself it speaks and spells,
Crying What I do is me: for that I came.

I say more: the just man justices;
Keeps grace: that keeps all his goings graces;
Acts in God's eye what in God's eye he is—
Christ. For Christ plays in ten thousand places,
Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his
To the Father through the features of men's faces.

QUOTE: "A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself. " ~ Joseph Campbell

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