The Dirt and the Stars, produced by Ethan Johns, was written at Carpenter's rural Virginia farmhouse and recorded entirely live at Peter Gabriel's Real World Studios in Bath, in southwest England.
"The writer Margaret Renkl once said, 'We are all in the process of becoming.' That doesn't stop at a certain age. To be always a student of art and music and life, as she says, that, to me, is what makes life worth living. It's certainly what makes me want to still write songs," Carpenter says in a press release. "No sugar coating, the songs are very personal and they're difficult in some ways, and definitely come from places of pain and self-illumination, but also places of joy, discovery and the rewards of self- knowledge. They arrived from looking outward as much as inward, speaking to life changes, growing older, politics, compassion, #metoo, heartbreak, empathy, the power of memory, time and place. So, I suppose I could say there are many themes, but they all come back to that initial idea that we are all constantly 'becoming' through art and expression."
Listen to title track "Between the Dirt and the Stars" below.
Carpenter released her debut album Hometown Girl in 1987. Her 1989 album State of the Heart spawned the singles "Never Had it So Good" and "Quittin' Time." Her third studio album Shooting Straight in the Dark included four top 20 hits: "Right Now," "Down at the Twist and Shout," "Going Out Tonight" and "You Win Again." Carpenter had continued success thoughout the '90s with 1992's Come On Come On ("The Hard Way," "He Thinks He'll Keep Her," "I Feel Lucky"), 1994's Stones in the Road ("Shut Up and Kiss Me") and more.
Carpenter released her most recent album Sometimes Just the Sky, which featured new versions of some of her most beloved songs, in 2018.
The singer will continue her "Songs From Home" virtual concert series throughout the summer.