IBJOpinion

LOU's VIEWS: Print Newcomer pens poems, essays

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share
Lou Harry

Since her first album in 1991, I’ve been listening to Carrie Newcomer sharing her musical reflections on the ordinary, lending her rich alto to songs less interested in stories than in moments.
 

ae-a-permeable-life-cover-for-kindle-1col.jpg (© 2013 Carrie Newcomer/Available Light Publishing. Designed by Hugh Syme.)

“You never talk too much in a fishin’ boat/’Cause it just scares the fish away/You just give it time and watch your line” she sang in a personal favorite, “My Father’s Only Son.” That sense of in-the-moment-ness has permeated her more than a dozen discs.

In conjunction with the Bloomington-area artist’s latest recording, “A Permeable Life,” Newcomer has also released a book, “A Permeable Life: Poems & Essays” (Available Light Publishing), which begs the question: How do Newcomer’s words hold up without that meditative, calming voice?

Newcomer says in the preface that she writes “poetry and essays to find the shape and form of the thing, and from those writings my songs are born.” As such, these on-page pieces can sometimes feel more like the emptying of a notebook than complete works.
 

ae-carrie-everything-is-everywhere-black-jacket-guitar-15col.jpg Carrie Newcomer (Photo/Jim McGuire)

But there are other moments in print that stand alone just fine, not as preliminary anything and not in need of a singing voice. “The Blue Umbrella” is a clear-eyed appreciation of a moment in the rain. “Three Gratitudes” could be just a variation on “My Favorite Things” but for its playful disregard for the number in its title. And although its last lines aren’t necessary, “Holiday Checkout Line” captures a wonderfully observed common moment in a memorable way.

ae-newcomer-factbox.gif On the essay side, stand-outs include some deeper thinking on the natural cliché of the caterpillar transforming into a butterfly and a knowing look at a county fair that would make me try to wrangle Newcomer into writing a State Fair essay every year if I were assigning such things. And there’s a surprisingly blunt but ultimately introspective piece set at a music trade show titled “Time is Kinder to Poets than Rockers.”

As for the new disc, it’s got all the heart and subtle songwriting savvy we’ve come to expect from Newcomer. It includes a guest spot by Lily & Madeleine on “The Ten O’clock Line.” And while it doesn’t treat new territory like Newcomer’s India-inspired and infused “Everything is Everywhere” or develop around a theme like the diner-centric “Regulars and Refugees,” it’s got plenty to chew on. Just one example: “Writing You a Letter,” which haunts with “…every place I go leaves its own tattoo./That’s how it is laying stone on stone/Building little alters by the side of the road.”

Like the discs that came before, the sincerity of “A Permeable Life” is matched by its musical savvy. Its lack of cynicism is inspiring. Yes, it offers variations on previously explored themes, but I don’t think those of us who appreciate Newcomer turn to her for the exploration of new territory but, rather, for the voice she gives to the places she knows well.

“All the things that have been done/Have been done/All the things that have not been done/Have not been done/” she sings in “Thank You, Good Night,” “And all the things I’m sad/And I’m glad to know/I’ll breathe it out and I’ll let it go.”•
__________

This column appears weekly. Send information on upcoming arts and entertainment events to lharry@ibj.com.

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. The $104K to CRC would go toward debts service on $486M of existing debt they already have from other things outside this project. Keystone buys the bonds for 3.8M from CRC, and CRC in turn pays for the parking and site work, and some time later CRC buys them back (with interest) from the projected annual property tax revenue from the entire TIF district (est. $415K / yr. from just this property, plus more from all the other property in the TIF district), which in theory would be about a 10-year term, give-or-take. CRC is basically betting on the future, that property values will increase, driving up the tax revenue to the limit of the annual increase cap on commercial property (I think that's 3%). It should be noted that Keystone can't print money (unlike the Federal Treasury) so commercial property tax can only come from consumers, in this case the apartment renters and consumers of the goods and services offered by the ground floor retailers, and employees in the form of lower non-mandatory compensation items, such as bonuses, benefits, 401K match, etc.

  2. $3B would hurt Lilly's bottom line if there were no insurance or Indemnity Agreement, but there is no way that large an award will be upheld on appeal. What's surprising is that the trial judge refused to reduce it. She must have thought there was evidence of a flagrant, unconscionable coverup and wanted to send a message.

  3. As a self-employed individual, I always saw outrageous price increases every year in a health insurance plan with preexisting condition costs -- something most employed groups never had to worry about. With spouse, I saw ALL Indiana "free market answer" plans' premiums raise 25%-45% each year.

  4. It's not who you chose to build it's how they build it. Architects and engineers decide how and what to use to build. builders just do the work. Architects & engineers still think the tarp over the escalators out at airport will hold for third time when it snows, ice storms.

  5. http://www.abcactionnews.com/news/duke-energy-customers-angry-about-money-for-nothing

ADVERTISEMENT