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Betty's Diner: The Best of Carrie Newcomer

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Album Review

Artist-chosen best-of recordings can be problematic because though in some way the artist is uniquely qualified to know what worked and what didn't, she isn't always party to the knowledge of what connects with audiences. This 17-track best-of is rather strange. For those who are unacquainted with the work of Carrie Newcomer, there is little incentive to purchase this. Like many of her peers, Newcomer takes herself very seriously in virtually every song she writes, and her delivery is that of the "classic" impassioned and intimate, post-1970s singer/songwriter. If it comes off as narcissistic, that's because it is impossible to write songs like this without being so. The reliance on individual discovery and revelation is a bit insular even as it tries to engage the world outside, hence making her oeuvre a shelf of politically correct (the 20th century's inadvertent contribution to cultural censorship), granola-coated relativist spiritual observations about life in the process of being lived every day, with only tiny, incongruant messes revealed for the like-minded listener to garner requisite empathy for. In other words, don't look for challenges to any real status quo here, left, right or center. However, there are literally legions of listeners for whom this music comes off as sincere, honest, and drenched in truth, and one would have a hard time arguing with them because Newcomer is about as far from cynical as you can get. For these people, this collection will come off as a treasure trove, with a few items that perhaps should have been included, left off, and some on that should have been left off, but that is the standard quibble with such collections. Newcomer's generosity as an artist does come off in spades and off-kilter as she opens the album with three unreleased songs unique to this set, giving the faithful who have bought her nine previous outings something special for their money. As is evidenced by the track list, Newcomer has a way of seeing her work holistically and as a continuum, and her selections reflect this, along with a wry sense of humor and her obvious spiritual and social convictions. ~Thom Jurek, Rovi

Customer Reviews

Exquisitely written, a delight to listen to

I had never heard of Carrie Newcomer before I bought this album, but it was one of the features at a local store, and so I tried the samples, and was amazed at both her lyrical quality, and how it blended very well with the music..a good CD to get a cup of coffee and enjoy the morning to..highlights include "Betty's Diner" and "Gathering of Spirits" which includes harmony by Allison Krauss

simply amazing

I had the chance to meet Carrie a few months ago and she is such a delight. Her music is so amazing and wonderful. My favorite song is Betty’s Diner – her lyrics speak volumes to the heart of the faithful.


Born: May 25, 1958 in Dowagiac, MI

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Singer and songwriter Carrie Newcomer has been a mainstay on the contemporary folk scene since the 1990s, known for emotionally intimate songs that explore the personal, the political, and the spiritual with compassion, insight, and wit. Newcomer was born in Dowagiac, Michigan on May 25, 1958 and grew up in the Midwest. While she would eventually receive a degree in visual art and create work in several mediums, she developed a passion for music, and performed with several folk groups in the '80s....
Full Bio

Top Albums and Songs by Carrie Newcomer

Betty's Diner: The Best of Carrie Newcomer, Carrie Newcomer
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Customer Ratings