I can’t get Carrie Newcomer’s music out of my head—and at this point, if I somehow managed to forget her songs, I’d mourn the loss. So, a word of warning if you begin listening to this woman who the Boston Globe calls “a prairie mystic”—you’re likely to get hooked. As a lifelong writer and editor, I’m in awe of Carrie’s creative use of words. I’m forever turning her phrases and especially her long litanies about everyday life over and over in my mind. The mosaic tiles of her words seem to rearrange themselves, as the music plays, and they often tumble into new images. That’s exactly what she hopes will happen, we learn in the featured video today: Every Little Bit of It. If you enjoy this brief biography and music video, then you’re sure to enjoy my in-depth interview with Carrie.
David Crumm, Editor of ReadTheSpirit
Carrie was raised in the Midwest on the Indiana side of the Chicago region. She has a degree in visual arts, but decided to pursue a career in folk music. She paints, sculpts, knits, has a big garden and cans salsa in the summer. She lives in the woods outside Bloomington Indiana with her husband, Robert, and two shaggy rescue dogs.
Over the course of her career Carrie has seen a lot of the world. In 2009 and 2011, Newcomer toured India as a cultural ambassador for the American Embassy. As a result of her time in India, in 2011 she released Everything is Everywhere, a collaboration with masters of the Indian classical sarod, Amjad, Ayaan and Amaan Ali Khan. A fusion of East and West, the album was released as a benefit album for the Interfaith Hunger Initiative.
In 2012, she visited Kenya, performing in primary and secondary schools, hospitals and clinics. In 2013, she visited the Middle East working with organizations dedicated to the arts and non-violent conflict resolution.
She’s comfortable as an artist and speaker in venues as diverse as concerts at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and London’s Royal Festival Hall, a humble rural school in Africa, a women’s cooperative in India, a Quaker meeting house in Ramala, a performance for at-risk juveniles inside an Ohio courtroom (with judge, parole officer and parents present), and playing and conducting workshops inside of an Indiana women’s penitentiary.
In keeping with her Quaker roots, Carrie has been a strong voice for social justice. She has supported organizations involved with hunger, universal health care, accessible mental health services, environment and sustainability. She is a co-founder of The Soup Bowl Benefit raising over a million dollars over the past twenty years for Indiana’s hungry families. Recently she partnered with Freedom Indiana, endeavoring to oppose an amendment the Indiana state constitution banning same sex marriage, civil unions and domestic partnership benefits. She participated in a public interfaith service presenting an alternative voice from the spiritual community and led songs at the state house before sessions.
Carrie facilitates workshops and presents keynotes on the topics of songwriting, spirituality and vocation at colleges, universities, and spiritual communities, retreat centers. A Quaker, her work cuts across secular and spiritual boundaries.
In recent years, she has emerged as a respected and recognized artistic voice for the progressive spiritual community.
SOURCE: This biographical sketch is adapted from Carrie’s home website, which contains many more samples of her music.
If you enjoyed this column, you’ll also enjoy our latest in-depth interview with Carrie Newcomer.