Newcomer has spent some time in India as an American cultural ambassador and the legacy of that time is strikingly apparent through the second and third tracks on this CD, I Believe and Breathe In Breathe Out. Both feature the talents of sarod virtuoso Ayaan Ali Khan, the latter being buoyed by some suitable percussion into the bargain. Her experiences have also doubtless coloured her philosophies and world view, which even while finding voice through the more natural song fabric for the Michigan born song writer of Americana, have a depth that demands an exotic lyrical complexity. Perhaps typical is The Speed Of The Soul, the only lyric printed in the CD booklet, which manages to mix a heady concoction of The March Of Progress and a native American saying, woven through a free ranging song that takes in truck stops, pushing booms, the internet, digital music downloads and war in a mere 4 minutes. With Krista Detour, Alison Krauss and Mary Chapin Carpenter among the guests, she deservedly keeps illustrious company. The cover image of a young girl puckering up to a rhino seems increasingly profound as the songs unfold and wisdom is never far from the surface. The pleasure is to listen and learn.
Review by: Simon Holland