Recently ranked ‘a cool song’ in a Franciscanized World survey, the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity present Carrie Newcomer’s The Clean Edge of Change. At an emotional time when the end of the semester calls for vocation, career or summer transitions, Newcomer’s Rounder release, The Geography of Light, is about navigating and exploring the appearance of light and shadow in our lives.
The Geography of Light
It is a layered work. On one level, the listener experiences these types of connections through Newcomer’s lyrics, which explore life with a progressive spiritual sensibility. In a world that encourages us to move faster and think bigger, Newcomer invites the listener to slow down and reflect on the small things that make life worthwhile.
As Rolling Stone wrote, “Newcomer asks all the right questions and refuses to settle for easy answers.” On another level, the listener hears a skillfully arranged and performed collection of folk roots tracks, with Appalachian and classical influences. Newcomer’s style is straightforward and accessible. Overall, she is not afraid to take on serious subjects, and does so with a healthy measure of good humor and self-awareness.
Recorded and produced by Newcomer and David Weber at Airtime Studios, The Geography of Light is Newcomer’s eleventh release on Rounder, with prior albums including The Age of Possibility, The Gathering of Spirits, the Betty’s Diner collection and her last album Regulars & Refugees. As her most intimate and lush work yet, The Geography of Light results from working closely with a core of exceptional musicians, including 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. At the center is Newcomer’s adept guitar work and resonant voice, the Austin Statesman called “as rich as Godiva chocolate.” From the haunting fiddle hook of “There is a Tree” to the string quartet accompaniment of “Lazarus” to the deep acoustic groove of “Where You Been”, this album is both timeless and contemporary. Also contributing to the project is Hugh Syme, whose artwork was designed with a sense of magical realism reinforcing the idea of expecting miracles in common places.
“I believe it is when we are in crisis that we are most open to change and positive growth. Of course, no one welcomes crisis, but during those difficult times there is an opportunity for reassessment and transformation. “The Clean Edge of Change” was written about what it feels like on the other side of a difficult time period. The song acknowledges that sometimes there is no getting around a problem, you can’t get over it, or under it, or even around it — the only way out is through. But, when we emerge on the other side of that difficult time period, it feels like the calm after a storm or the deep sigh after a good cry. There is a clean edge to it. You don’t know exactly what life will look like from here on out, you just know that it will be different.” -Carrie Newcomer