With her rich alto voice and wise, meditative, and lyrically precise songwriting style, Carrie Newcomer has been going her own way along the contemporary music highway for a while now, and Before & After, her 12th album for Rounder Records, continues that journey, and not surprisingly, it seems comfortably her, full of a calm warmth and few regrets. This is an album about how we remember our lives -- about the moments we chose to focus on, the little choices that give us consequence as the days fly by, and the moments that remain with us long after they were the now we fussed over back when. And there are beautiful songs here, including the title track, "Before & After," which is a gorgeous treatise on the choices we make, the languidly unwinding "Stones in the River," the lovely "If Not Now," the bright "A Simple Change of Heart," and the allegorical "Do No Harm," a wise essay on the pure nature of love that is based on the stories of Scott Russell Sanders. The instrumentation on Before & After is sparse and appropriate, with Newcomer's steady, warm, and unhurried vocals and her marvelously realized and thoughtful songs always at the very center of things. Some musicians want to move us, to make us dance and forget, which is fine, but Newcomer wants us to remember the moments we need to remember and to sway gently to those. This album works. It's reaffirming.
|Label:||Rounder / Umgd|
Performance CreditsCarrie Newcomer Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Bouzouki,Vocals
Jim Brock Percussion,Drums
Mary Chapin Carpenter Vocals
Mary Gaines Cello
Byron House Electric Bass,Upright Bass
Chris Wagoner Dobro,Mandolin,Violin,Viola,Vocals,Lap Steel Guitar
David Weber Vocals
Gary Walters Piano
Robin Hopkins Banjo
Keith Skooglund Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar
Krista Detor Vocals
Michael White Vocals
Daniel Reed Vocals
Technical CreditsCarrie Newcomer Composer,Producer
Hugh Syme Art Direction
David Weber Producer,Engineer
Aaron Cooper Web Design
Daniel Reed Vocal Arrangements
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Before & After based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
I've been listening to Carrie Newcomer's music for more than 20 years, and she has never put out a bad album. Although my favorite album of hers still remains her 2000 release, "The Age of Possibility," "Before and After" is a very nice album. I am continually amazed how Carrie continues to write insightful lyrics and poignant melodies and always finds new things to write about. My favorite track on the album is "I Do Not Know Its Name," in which the singer creates small vignettes of those everyday moments that remind us of what is sacred, such as a driver of an airport shuttle singing a gospel hymn to his sole passenger. "I Meant to Do My Work Today" is about living in the moment, even if it means putting off your to-do list. "Do No Harm" is another of Carrie's wonderful historically-based songs about a minister whose family lives alongside Native Americans until white traders destroy the Eden he has created. "I Wish I May, I Wish I Might" is a wistful and funny listing of various county fairs set to a carnival-like melody. "A Crash of Rhinoceros" is a humorous summary of the odd words in the English language which describe groups of animals.