Carrie Newcomer is a singular talent, a woman capable of melting hearts with nothing more than a turn of a phrase and the caressing voice that conveys it. Following a long tenure with Rounder Records, she's out on her own as an indie artist but remains no less alluring than before. "The Point of Arrival" suggests she's exactly where she wants to be, and her delicate delivery and unfettered emotion remain as assured as ever. While the majority of these songs are etched with quiet conviction, Newcomer's passion remains as pure and emotive as ever.
It's appropriate then that the new album begins on a more emphatic note, courtesy of "Learning To See With Not Knowing," a song that more or less sets the tone for all that follows. The supple sound of each of these entries - "Writing a Better Story," "It's Always Love," "The Only Way Though Is In," among them - entices and entrances with a delicate delivery that forms the essence of her signature sound. Despite the quiet caress, the delicate arrangements - comprised of acoustic guitars, cello, violins, viola and piano - create a symphonic effect that further adds that extra measure of grace and dignity. Credit Newcomer herself with the pristine production, an added element that helps convey the sweetness and sincerity that are infused into each of these exquisite entries.
Nowadays, it's rare to find an artist that exudes such optimism and assurance. Indeed, one gets the sense that Newcomer is satisfied with the state of her art and existence. It's a rare find, and even more so in these challenging times. Consider "The Point of Arrival" a place from which all things are primed with possibilities.
Lee Zimmerman is a freelance writer and author based in Maryville, Tenn. He also expounds on music on his web site, Stories Beyond the Music - Americana Music Reviews, Interviews & Articles. His new book -- Americana Music - Voices, Visionaries and Pioneers of an Honest Sound is available from Texas A&M University Publishing.