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The Geography Of Light

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Audio CD, February 12, 2008
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Product Description

Though her lyrics are never preachy, Carrie Newcomer maintains a musically hymn-like resonance. She sings of miracles and mystery, of everyday grace and wonder, of dark nights of the soul and the palpable presence of a higher power. And she does so in a warm alto that provides the comfort of a friend, supported by the interplay of chamber strings, piano, an English horn, and even the occasional Cajun accordion. Not everything is sweetness and light, as the ominous "A Mean Kind of Justice" attests, but highlights such as "The Clean Edge of Change," "A Map of Shadows," and "Throw Me a Line" reflect the uncommon spiritual depth of her artistry. --Don McLeese
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 12, 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Philo
  • ASIN: B0011XFOGK
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #93,894 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Mark D. Prouse on February 20, 2008
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Drenched in guitars and strings, and in a minor key, "There Is A Tree" hooked me the minute Carrie began to sing, and from there the album never lost my interest. Thoughtful, unusual songs yet sound familiar, and upon a second listen, feel like old friends. The instrumentation, although relatively spare, sounds full and rich, complimenting Newcomer's lovely, alto voice perfectly, without ever stealing the spotlight. A few tracks have gentle, sometimes driving rhythms, and there are subtle yet surprising sounds around every bend, so there's enough variety to keep THE GEOGRAPHY OF LIGHT from becoming too somber. In fact the title and the cover art are quite apt, as the general mood of this wonderful CD does remind me of one of those days when half the sky is dark with a passing storm, yet clear enough in spaces to let shafts of golden sunlight through.

A couple of side notes: not only has Carrie written perhaps the only song ever sung about geodes, but she then ends this elegant album on an upbeat note with "Don't Push Send," a highly amusing ditty about the dangers of writing and sending letters in cyber-space. Presumably, she calls this a "bonus track" because it's so different from the rest of the album, but it works, and I've quickly decided that it's not a throwaway; it belongs here...

I've been listening to Carrie Newcomer's songs for many years, and have most of her albums on CD. But it wasn't until 2000's THE AGE OF POSSIBILITY that I thought Carrie had finally done a truly solid album. In 2002 and 2005, respectively, she released two more fine CD's, GATHERING OF SPIRITS and REGULARS AND REFUGEES. The latter included a single from the previous release, a BEST OF collection, "Betty's Diner" which had been inspired by her own short story.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Michael Dalton VINE VOICE on February 18, 2008
Format: Audio CD
The Geography of Light by Carrie Newcomer shows how elegant modern folk music can be. Storytelling, often associated with the genre, makes for a more literary style, but I like the fact that Newcomer doesn't try to be clever in her songwriting or music. Her simplicity is beautiful.

That's not to say that this is lacking in depth. On the contrary, this Quaker associates with theologians and authors like Jim Wallis, Brian McLaren and Phillip Gulley. The latter has written a glowing tribute to Newcomer's artistry in the CD booklet. If any of these men were songwriters, they might write songs like the ones found here.

"Geodes" is a prime example. Geodes are mysterious rocks that are plentiful around Newcomer's home in Southern Indiana. Though common on the outside with brown and gray exteriors, they contain a core of sparkling quartz crystals. Newcomer writes in the liner notes, "They remind me to look deeper, because often within what may appear quite ordinary is a core of beauty and mystery." This is just one of many songs that Newcomer fills with thought that is rich and dense. Amazingly, it never sounds cluttered.

The thought behind "Throw Me a Line" is loosely drawn from chapter six of the gospel of Matthew where Jesus speaks of the futility of anxious thought. It includes the lovely line: "There's a still quiet voice / It sounds a little like mine / Saying you're right where you should be / It's just gonna take time." What a balm of peace for an anxious heart! The song is a beautiful plea for refuge in rapidly changing times.

It echoes a note of hope that is heard throughout.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By William Dahl VINE VOICE on March 9, 2008
Format: Audio CD
Carrie Newcomer - The Geography of Light - Copyright © 2008 Rounder Records - Produced by Carrie Newcomer and David Weber. Mastered by Greg Calbi at Sterling Sound, New York, NY.

Brilliant! Make this work of art a part of your life TODAY. This collection of musical poetry will enchant you as you travel with Carrie exploring the theme of shadow and light in our lives. You will be drawn into reflecting upon the lyrics which are so graciously balanced with Carrie's vocals and the incredible instrumental rhythms.

As Rolling Stone wrote, "Newcomer asks all the right questions and refuses to settle for easy answers." An incredible social and spiritual commentary is included within the lyrics of this array of contemplative and catchy folksy tunes. Newcomer's masterful acoustic guitar is blended with the outstanding talents of 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.

This CD is a delightful journey, guided by a master story teller, Carrie Newcomer. It's refreshing and somehow comforting to hear someone tastefully share the fact that there's someone other than me who is perplexed by certain dimensions of everyday life. Carrie brings this dimension of living to life in The Geography of Light.

Putting her money where her lyrics are, Carrie is donating 10% of the proceeds of the sale of this CD to to The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). AFSC's mission is to carry out service, development, social justice, and peace programs across the globe.
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