Newcomer's latest offering rich in voice

February 19, 2008 12:22:22 PM PST
Carrie Newcomer, "Geography of Light"

Carrie Newcomer combines a rich voice with equally rich lyrics to weave a tapestry of life and hope on "Geography of Light." Newcomer, who says "There is a song at the center of all things," proves it by writing about sorrow, life, challenge and even geodes, always delivered with a message of hope.

Her Quaker faith is reflected in many of her lyrics, but unassumingly; they are as inspirational as they are spiritual. In "There Is a Tree," she is singing about the nearness of God, but could easily be referring to a lover with: "Last night I dreamt you were very near/ Though the night was dark behind the glass/ I knew you'd left before I woke/ But you'd fogged the window when you passed." Even death is dealt with philosophically. In "Leaves Don't Drop (They Just Let Go)" she sings: "A tree is what a seed contains/To die and live is life's refrain."

Her warm alto (think of a lot of Anne Murray and a little Mary Chapin Carpenter) is delivered against a spare acoustic accompaniment in a presentation that's mostly vintage folk and a little Appalachian. The lyrics, however are contemporary: "I saw Jesus talking shop with Buddha at the Starbucks," she sings in "Where You Been?"

Newcomer wraps up her 12th CD with a jazzy and delightful reminder about the capriciousness of e-mail on "Don't Push Send": "A dangerous form of information and the perils of instant gratification/How many times did I hit my Mac, want to crawl inside and take the whole thing back."

It's an album that will likely leave you thinking, optimistic - and hitting the repeat button.