This collection draws on Carrie Newcomer’s dozen releases on Rounder, adding two new tracks that continue in her tradition of exploring spiritual dimensions in everyday life. Newcomer’s gentle alto welcomes the listener with more warmth than a cappuccino.
For most of my life now, I’ve been sucked ever deeper into various forms of Americana music. I love the simple forms and catchy tunes, the plainspoken emotion and humor, the fiddles and mandolins and banjos. In a worship context, I’m drawn as well to the music’s accessibility and its cross-generational appeal.
It’s easy to write Kris Kristofferson off as another country songwriter trawling the shallows of whiskey, diesels and cornpone imagery. But that’s a myopic read of the Rhodes scholar, William Blake devotee, Golden Gloves boxer and helicopter pilot.
This project by producers Paul Marsteller and Gabriel Rhodes is an admirable tribute to pre–World War I popular music. Each singer is accompanied only by instruments from the song’s period. Richard Thomson’s sly baritone curls around “The Band Played On” like a handlebar mustache, while Graham Parker tackles “The Flying Trapeze” with saloon-and-sarsaparilla panache.
The latest six-song effort by Beki Hemingway—a distant relative of Ernest—finds her in fine voice, singing with a poised balance of tough and tender. And she has an able partner in husband-guitarist Randy Kerkman, who coproduces this disc.
First, use four similes to describe the lake: Grinnell Lake is like . . . a threshold . . . a turquoise . . . wings arching open . . . a nest.
+++ At the end of the boardwalk over red-rock streams, beyond the suspension bridge, the waterfall, the long hike, my feet on fire empty into the lake: home. Icy aqua iridescence, perfection of mountains, these trees.
Now use four metaphors: the lake is . . . reality . . . exquisite balance . . . a window . . . a cup filled with sky.
+++ In the lobby of the grand hotel miles below hang beautifully framed old photos. Grinnell Glacier, a wisp above us now, was enormous a century ago, its lake many times smaller.
How can we protect the earth but by drawing close, by falling in love? The lake is the glacier melting too fast. The lake is the waters from Jesus’ pierced side. The lake is the face of the love that saves us. How can we love the earth but by falling . . . in?