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Carrie Newcomer

The Beautiful Not Yet – 2016 (Available Light)

Reviewed by Lee Zimmerman

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CDs by Carrie Newcomer

After more than a dozen albums on Rounder Records, the company that gave her initial exposure, Carrie Newcomer's name belies the elevated stature she's achieved amongst her fans and devotees. Now independent, Newcomer produced a set of songs consistently contradicts any implication offered by its title, simply by virtue of a lovely set of songs that make an immediate impact even on first listen. That in itself makes it hard to believe that somehow or another Newcomer's never quite achieved the mass acclaim that's clearly her due. The fact is, the word "beautiful" seems too modest a description for the emotion this work imparts, and in listening to songs such as "Lean In Towards The Light," "Three Feet Or So" and "Help In Hard Times," that supposition becomes all the more evident.

Ultimately though, these breathtaking melodies make any adjectives fall short. Despite a substantial cast of collaborators, Newcomer's delicate delivery and emotional embrace never allow her to linger in the shadow of her collaborators. The focus falls precisely where it should, on an exceptional singer and songwriter gifted with grace, craft and the most compelling kind of conviction.

Whether or not "The Beautiful Not Yet" is destined to be cited as the best effort of Newcomer's career is yet to be determined, but that's only because every effort she's ever produced up to this point is well worth individual discovery. Still, given the sheer ethereal effervescence that emanates from these tunes, it's hard to negate it as a main contender. Lush, lovely and, yes, beautiful, "The Beautiful Not Yet" is well worth investigating.