The Geography Of Light

Carrie Newcomer

Rounder, 2008

REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert


Some months ago we did a retrospective on female musicians, and I, in my confidence and wisdom, told Jason to run my archive review of Carrie Newcomer’s A Gathering Of Spirits. I am a big fan of the Bloomington, IN artist, and I figured it was a great time to remind y’all of a smashing album. Imagine my surprise when he informed me I had never actually reviewed the CD.

Unfortunately, I can’t rectify that right now; my copy of my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Gathering is packed somewhere in preparation for a household move at the end of this month. I can, however, present to you something as good. Carrie Newcomer has come out with a new disc, The Geography Of Light, and I’m happy to announce that it, too, is delightful.

For those of you who haven’t had the privilege of encountering Newcomer’s music before, she has a rich, sweet, and smoky voice, a gentle and expressive contralto that’s somewhat reminiscent of Mary Chapin Carpenter. But where Carpenter is alternately jocular and passionate, Newcomer’s singing is more gentle, thoughtful, and mystical.  A lifelong and active member of the Society of Friends or Quakers, she is deeply committed to progressive politics and spirituality, and her music shows a strong thread of spiritual seeking and constructive thought.  The Geography Of Light is about one woman’s spiritual odyssey and her thoughts on both the present and our past, and it is a forward-thinking and well-crafted piece of work, full of songs that are almost literary in their complexity and skilled execution.

While all the songs on this release are worthwhile, I have to make a special note of a few: “A Map Of Shadows” is an incredibly magnificent word picture of the gray light before dawn; “Geodes” takes a simple geological fact and turns it into a complex metaphor of indwelling divinity; “Where You Been” is just a whole lot of fun, and “Lazarus” takes the Gospel story of resurrection and literally turns it around –  what would it be like to have seen Heaven and then be called back?

The Geography Of Light is complex, mature, thought-provoking, emotionally moving, and grand in its scope and execution. This is music for the adult, the aware, and the open-minded, and I can give it no higher praise. Check it out today; far from being a newcomer, Carrie Newcomer is one of the most gifted artists performing today.

Rating: A

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2008 Duke Egbert and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Rounder, and is used for informational purposes only.