Carrie Newcomer Betty's Diner: The Best of...

While one is tempted to make a pun with this folk singer’s last name and say she is a newcomer to the scene, it doesn’t work. This best of collection from Rounder Records documents this songwriter’s journey from Middle America to the middle of listener’s hearts by offering the best travelogues from her decade-long legacy of song. A cross between Joni Mitchell and Eva Cassidy, Newcomer’s voice is as delicate as your grandmother’s china — a smoky, jazz and folk fusion that creeps under your skin and penetrates to your core, begging for more. The 18 tracks on Betty’s Diner include 15 previously released tales from her eight studio albums, plus three new songs. The best of these new compositions is the title track, "Betty’s Diner,” which is based on a short story that Newcomer wrote. Here, like Billy Joel’s "Piano Man” the characters and their cares of a particular time and place are brought to life. Poignant lines like: "Arthur lets his Earl Grey steep/ Since April it’s been hard to sleep/ You know they tried most everything/ Yet it took her in the end,” illustrate Newcomer’s knack for poetic writing. (Rounder)