The Gathering Of Spirits

Carrie Newcomer

Philo/Rounder Records, 2002

REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert


Part of the fun of having moved out of the smallest apartment in human history and into a house (with a yard and a garage and everything) is that I have my CDs back out where I can get to them instead of packed in a box somewhere. This has resulted in a summer full of deliriously happy wanderings down my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Musical Memory Lane -- most of which does no good in getting the DV new copy, since I’ve reviewed almost all of my favorite CDs already.

After several impassioned emails from our Fearless Leader, Jason, and a visit from a large man named Knuckles who mentioned the need for more copy while slapping a crowbar into his palm suggestively, I found something I haven’t reviewed. And it’s a doozy. And I have meant to review it for years, anyway, so, without further ado: a damned fine CD. To wit, Carrie Newcomer’s A Gathering Of Spirits.

I love Carrie Newcomer’s voice. I want to listen to it for hours. I want to pour it over ice cream; it’s that particular gentle alto with a slight burr to it that’s magnificently expressive, combined with a higher register that becomes a musical call to action without being strident or thin. With this good a voice, the songs have to match -- and they do. Newcomer is a brilliant songwriter who believes in enabling change with her music: change in the world, change in the self, and change in the human heart.

Every single track on The Gathering Of Spirits is brilliant in its own way. However, I have particular fondness for “The Fisher King,” a moving and mystical ballad; the tongue-in-cheek sentiment about growing older that is “Silver;” and best of all, the utterly magnificent, breath-taking, and tear-inducing paean to light and faith, “I Heard An Owl.” Few songs make me cry. “Owl” is one of them.

Carrie Newcomer is a wonderful artist who should get more airplay, more sales, and more credit. The Gathering Of Spirits is a great place to start experiencing her.

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 Philo/Rounder Records, and is used for informational purposes only.