Album: Mary Chapin Carpenter, Ashes and Roses (Rounder)

You might think that 12 million album sales and five Grammys later, singersongwriter Chapin Carpenter might have lightened up a little.

Not a bit of it. Ashes and Roses is as downbeat an album as she has released in her 25 years. It is a drily observed, melancholy reflection on the loss of love and features lyrics of the “Sundays are the hardest” persuasion. Sadly for the listener, this is mostly a collection of one-paced songs more heartbroken than heartbreaking.