“The View” With Guitars 

When four female singer-songwriters get together onstage there’s no telling what will happen.

“My thing is … I get the tractor out and go bush hogging, singing along to the girls in the field,” she says.

If notions of a fun-loving but generally soft-spoken Carpenter hollering in song as she rides a tractor across her Central Virginia farm sound out of character, Carpenter makes it clear that this tour is no staid affair, either. Audiences will hear the musically familiar, but they’re also in for some surprises. All four women remain onstage through the show, trading tunes and casually harmonizing in the classic guitar-pull style.

“I like to say we go around ... till we get dizzy and fall down,” Carpenter says. “We just sort of jump in when we feel a harmony coming on. It’s very casual. Everybody does something different every night. .… We can’t shut up. Somebody called us a singer-songwriter version of [talk show] ‘The View.’” Carpenter notes this with a hint of good-natured chagrin. She continues that on this tour, since there is no backing band, she’s playing tunes she infrequently performs.

“I’m so used to touring with my band. I love them. They’re my brothers and sisters,” she says. “But to tour with my friends … I end up doing older, quieter songs, songs I don’t get to do all the time. Stripped-down acoustic stuff.”

Carpenter is very much in tune with stripped-down acoustic stuff. Before she sold 12 million albums during the past decade, garnered Country Music Association female vocalist awards or won five Grammys, the New Jersey native plied her trade in the folk clubs of Washington, D.C. Her first independently recorded album in 1987 snagged her a major-label deal, and she quickly made an impact in Nashville with her smart and incisive songwriting. She’s since left Nashville, but continues to tour and record. Carpenter says she had planned a fall tour to promote a new CD, but that recording was delayed until early 2004. Already in a touring mind-set, she decided to put a different show together.

“I just started thinking, ‘How about calling some of my favorite artists?’” she says. “You never think it’s possible [but] everyone was able to do it.”

The resulting 27-city tour comes to the Landmark Theater Wednesday, Oct. 29. Carpenter says the girls perform for a week, then take off a week, and it has been a great ride from show to show.

“We’ve just had a blast,” she says. “It’s like a dream come true. .… It’s not quite like being on my tractor.”

“Four Singer-Songwriters: On Stage Together” comes to the Landmark Theater, Wednesday, Oct. 29, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $27.50, $37.50 and $47.50 at the theater box office or through www.ticketmaster.com. 262-8100.


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