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Talk to Carrie Newcomer, or. rather, listen to Carrie Newcomer. and Cathie Ryan too. both are thoughtful, articulate, and often funny musicians who work with the sort of ideas and questions and lines of thought you often explore.

on Ryan:
>> A magical, mystical, shape-shifting dance that suggests hope, passion, connection, and healing -- that's the invitation Cathie Ryan offers with "What's Closest to the Heart," the original song with which she opens her latest release, The Farthest Wave. What follows is, at least at times, a bit quieter on the surface, but that's a musical and lyrical contrast that serves the singer well. There's heart-cracking pain and resignation in the title track, which in a lesser singer's (or writer's, this is also one of Ryan's) hands could have turned bleak or sentimental; instead it offers a full confrontation with pain as a path, it may be, to hope. The fierce and flaming independence in John Spillane's "The Wildflowers" resonates with connection to Ryan's meditation on the courage it takes to heal in "Be Like the Sea" and Karine Polwart's exuberant and celebratory welcoming of change in "Follow the Heron."

Respecting both sides of the traditions of her heritage (she is first generation Irish American) Ryan includes traditional pieces sung in Irish and songs from American Folk back story. Among these are the fast paced "Peata Beag do Mháthar" and a thoughtful cover of the bittersweet love ballad "Rough and Rocky." She brings the twelve-song collection to a close with a quiet reflection on the many sides of meaning to be had from an old grade school favorite, "Home Sweet Home."

There's powerful musical and emotional intelligence at work here, leading the listener on a journey from pain to hope, from loss to healing, from despair to the possibilities of grace -- those things which really are, and remain, closest to the heart.<<

on Newcomer
>>Carrie Newcomer’s music comes from heartland, heart and spirit. The Geography of Light, the Indiana based musician’s eleventh album, finds her considering the bridges between light and dark, between the physical landscape and the spiritual one, between sorrow and healing, and sometimes, between the holy and a good laugh. It’s an adventure for Newcomer, who’s never been afraid of a little rock with her folk or a little (or quite a lot) of percussion with her poetry. She has those elements here, along with some string lines and quiet melodies which will please listeners of classical music and classic folk, as well.

These all serve to frame Newcomer’s natural, storyteller’s style and gorgeous alto voice as she brings listeners along to a gospel music tinged consideration of the crazy places God and faith may some times flash across your view or call your name, in Where You Been, and a quiet consideration of what beautiful surprises may lie within the unassuming Indiana clay of Geodes -- and perhaps, within the next person who crosses your path. Light gives way to darkness sometimes in Newcomer’s universe, and to shadows as well. There’s recognition of the pain of causing pain and repeating familiar mistakes, in You’d Think By Now, a look at how confusing it could have been for Lazarus to come back from the grave in Lazarus, and in a story set in the early days of the Ohio Valley, the tale of a strong woman dealing with loss, anger, and grief in Biscuits and Butter.<<

those are excerpts from reviews I've written on their most recent recordings. I've been writing about the sort of music that asks good questions for some years for places ranging from VH1 to the folk music magazine Dirty Linen to, and these women are two of the best at that. see if either of them might work for what you have in mind -- even if they do not I think you may enjoy their music. and of course, I think music is worth more than one show, too<g>.