Music Review: The Beautiful Not Yet

Spirituality & Health Magazine
reviewed by John Malkin

The Beautiful Not Yet

Carrie Newcomer

Available Light Records

Carrie Newcomer’s soothing vocals and inspiring music are grounded in social justice and authentic hope. “When you sing about love or family or hope—particularly hope—it’s immediately recognizable anywhere you go,” she told S&H. “And it’s not positive or wishful thinking. The hope that I talk about on this album is pretty gritty stuff. Where you get up in the morning and you try to make the world just a little kinder place and then the next morning you do it again.”

Half of the songs on Newcomer’s latest—The Beautiful Not Yet—are from a collaboration with Parker J. Palmer, another Quaker author, called “What We Need Is Here: Hope, Hard Times and the Human Possibility.” The Beautiful Not Yet was released simultaneously with a book of the same name that includes poems, essays, lyrics, and notes about this folk and gospel–inspired album, her 16th.

Newcomer’s resonant, calm vocals on songs like “Three Feet or So” and “Lean in Toward the Light” are passionate reminders of human potential. Newcomer explains, “The things that have always saved us—as individuals and communities—are still here! Compassion, kindness, hospitality, and generosity—these things didn’t go away just because we’re in a particular civil-political season right now. These are completely accessible within us and between us.”

Newcomer lives in Southern Indiana, a quiet place she returns to after performing in places like India, Europe, and Africa. “Travel inspires me. I think I have a big invisible bumper sticker on my forehead that says, ‘I really love a good story!’ Everywhere I go people tell me stories!” The singer-songwriter laughs, adding, “In the song ‘Help in Hard Times’ the question is not always ‘Why?’ The question is ‘What shall we do with this and how shall we walk with this together?’” 

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