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Carrie Newcomer

The Geography of Light – 2008 (Rounder)

Reviewed by Corinne Brown

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CDs by Carrie Newcomer

If you think songs with a truly meaningful social message are rare, singer/songwriter Carrie Newcomer proves otherwise. Armed with elegant lyrics and compelling tunes, this songstress from Indiana explores the effect of light and dark in our lives in a spiritual album that's clearly a legacy to the folk tradition. ("Especially A Map of Shadows")

Her themes are worthy of sermons: simple things, miracles, goodness, transformation, above all the power of love. Nwcomer, whose songs have been covered by Alison Krauss and Nickel Creek, explores life's deeper issues through music in songs with universal appeal, marked by her resonant voice and competent guitar. Much of this album's success (her 11th for Rounder) is due to the sophisticated musical accompaniment: Gary Walters on piano, Chris Wagoner on violin, mandolin, Dobro and ukulele, Mary Gaines on cello, Jeff Hedback on bass, Jim Brock on percussion, Keith Skooglund on guitar and Krista Detor on background vocals.

An advocate for social and environmental justice, Newcomer proves that even one clear voice can make a difference. "Leaves Don't Drop (They Just Let Go)" hits home. Brilliant.