Age of Possibility

The Age of Possibility

4.0 1
by Carrie Newcomer
     
 
Rooted in folk tradition and blessed with a smoky alto voice that carries both a bluesy edge and a fierce intelligence that underlines the clear-eyed wisdom of her lyrics, Carrie Newcomer is one of the current folk scene's most insightful and expressive artists. This, the Indiana-bred artist's sixth album, is, both musically and lyrically, her most mature and

Overview

Rooted in folk tradition and blessed with a smoky alto voice that carries both a bluesy edge and a fierce intelligence that underlines the clear-eyed wisdom of her lyrics, Carrie Newcomer is one of the current folk scene's most insightful and expressive artists. This, the Indiana-bred artist's sixth album, is, both musically and lyrically, her most mature and searching work to date. On several songs, the instrumental arrangements gracefully expand her musical reach, augmenting her customary sparse tunes with songs that rock and songs that swing. Lyrically, the album is an insightful and persuasive meditation on the possibilities, risks, and lessons of love. The hook-laden rocker "Tornado Alley," for instance, is full of vivid metaphors for taking risks in life and in love, as is the gentle "Anything with Wings." "Bare to the Bone" is a sensitive ode to the importance of living with an open heart, while the understated "Love Is Wide" is a persuasive plea to risk again in the face of love's scars and failures.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
"This was written for someone I love in pretty tough circumstances," Carrie Newcomer writes as an introduction to the final song on her sixth studio album, but the description could refer to most of the songs here on which she displays a determined optimism that acknowledges the grittier side of life. Singing in her throaty, resonant alto over folk-rock tracks, she suggests the travails of love and life but always comes out on the side of carrying on and trying again. "When It's Gone It's Gone" may lament the loss of everything from railroads to cheap gas, but it also celebrates a kind of spiritual continuity, while "Tornado Alley" uses the risk of living in a storm-threatened area as a metaphor for life in general. Such songs display a craftsmanlike quality to Newcomer's writing, but they are somewhat impersonal, generalizing their points in a way that blunts the message. Over and over, Newcomer seems to have been inspired by some real-life incident that never gets into the song, which ends up being a procession of abstractions, clichéd images, and platitudes. She works up some anger in "It's Not OK," for example, but what is it she's talking about exactly? Even that final song dedicated to the person in tough circumstances is called "This Too Will Pass," which may be comforting to him or her, but is trite and derivative to the listener. Newcomer is much better in "Just Like Downtown," an autobiographical account of growing up in the Midwest, but even here she quickly switches from the specific to general statements. As such, her songs come off as the residue of experiences that are not themselves described. It's possible that listeners may respond to such songs if they can fill the gap, imagining for themselves what it is that's not OK, or what needs to pass, by conjuring up their own experiences. But that's asking a lot. Newcomer would do well to fill in more of the details in her songs if she wants her meanings to bear weight.

Product Details

Release Date:
08/08/2000
Label:
Philo / Umgd
UPC:
0011671122625
catalogNumber:
711226
Rank:
168835

Tracks

Album Credits

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

The Age of Possibility 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Carrie Newcomer's latest release expresses just enough of her, yet not too much. She isn't as presumptuous to think that the listener is so interested in her personal life that she feels she must tell her story. On the contrary, she leaves enough room for an audience to interject their experiences. Isn't that what listening to music often becomes, a way to let go, go on and live again? Carrie's soothing tones are enough to revive me and give me hope that I am not alone.