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About Carrie Newcomer
Known for emotionally intimate songs that explore the personal, the political, and the spiritual with compassion, insight, and wit, singer and songwriter Carrie Newcomer became a mainstay on the contemporary folk scene in the '90s. With her warm yet assertive voice always guiding her songs, her style has embraced elements of acoustic folk and folk-rock from the beginning. Newcomer made her solo recording debut in 1991 with Visions and Dreams. Philo Records reissued the album and released nearly a dozen more works over the next two decades. During that time, Nickel Creek covered Newcomer's song "I Should Have Known Better" on their Grammy-winning 2002 album This Side. In the 2010s, she moved to Available Light Records, which issued solo efforts including 2014's A Permeable Life, a companion album to her book of poems and essays of the same name. Offstage, Newcomer devotes her energies to a variety of charitable and progressive causes, including donating some of her album proceeds to organizations including the Interfaith Hunger Initiative, Literacy Volunteers of America, and the American Friends Service Committee.
Carrie 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, including Stone Soup in the '80s.
In 1991, she began performing as a solo act and released Visions and Dreams. Three years later, she signed with Philo Records, distributed by the well-respected folk label Rounder. Newcomer's first album for Philo, An Angel at My Shoulder, appeared in 1994. A reissue of Visions and Dreams and her third LP, The Bird or the Wing, both saw release in 1995. The next year's My Father's Only Son was followed in 1998 by My True Name, and she closed out the decade with the 1999 live album Bare to the Bone, initially a fundraiser for Planned Parenthood.
The 2000s brought The Age of Possibility (2000) and The Gathering of Spirits (2002) before the arrival of her first compilation, Betty's Diner: The Best of Carrie Newcomer (2004). She came back with original material just a year later on Regulars and Refugees, and in 2007, she collaborated on Wilderness Plots with musicians including Tim Grimm, Krista Detor, and Michael White. Based on the book of 50 vignettes about the colonization of the Ohio Valley, it was accompanied by a live concert broadcast on American Public Television. Her ninth studio album, The Geography of Light, arrived 2008, followed by Before and After in 2010. Just a year later, Available Light Records released Everything Is Everywhere, a collaboration with Indian musicians Amjad Ali Khan, Amaan Ali Khan, and Ayaan Ali Khan. In 2011, she also returned to perform and teach in India as a cultural ambassador of the American Center. Rounder issued the parting set Kindred Spirits: A Collection in 2012.
In 2014, Available Lights Records and Available Light Publishing released the album A Permeable Light alongside Newcomer's book A Permeable Life: Poems & Essays. The year 2016 brought two Newcomer albums; The Slender Thread was a collaboration with Scottish guitarist Ian Melrose recorded for the German audiophile label Stockfish Records. Later in the year, Newcomer released The Beautiful Not Yet with Available Light. It featured several songs initially created for a collaborative project with author Parker J. Parker. Newcomer and Parker worked together to create a presentation that combined music and spoken word titled What We Need Is Here: Hope, Hard Times and the Human Possibility. That same year, she also published a second book of poems and essays, The Beautiful Not Yet. A solo Newcomer returned in 2019 with her 14th studio album, The Point of Arrival. ~ Mark Deming & Marcy Donelson
- Dowagiac, MI
- 25 May 1958
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