Noted recording artist Carrie Newcomer plans a special online concert to benefit Interfaith Power & Light. Join Carrie on the afternoon of Sunday, February 24, for an intimate performance and chat. The event starts at 4 p.m. Eastern, 1 p.m. Pacific. Tickets are just $10; reserve yours here.
Carrie’s most recent recording, “Kindred Spirits,” is an anthology of of 19 songs drawn from her catalog of 12 Rounder Records releases. It features guests including Mary Chapin Carpenter and Allison Krauss. From her website biography:
Carrie Newcomer’s music has always explored the intersection of the spiritual and the daily, the sacred and the ordinary. Over the course of her career she has become a prominent voice for progressive spirituality, social justice and interfaith dialogue. Her ability for sharp observation of the world lead the Dallas Morning News to rave, “She’s the kind of artist whose music makes you stop, think and then say, ‘that is so true.’” She has been described as “a soaring songstress” by Billboard, a “prairie mystic” by the Boston Globe and Rolling Stone has declared that Newcomer “asks all the right questions.” Author Barbara Kingsolver wrote, “She’s a poet, storyteller, snake-charmer, good neighbor, friend and lover, minister of the wide-eyed gospel of hope and grace.”
“Kindred Spirits” includes two previously unreleased songs, two songs from her special hunger benefit project (“Everything Is Everywhere”) featuring Indian classical sarod masters Amjad Ali Khan, Ayaan and Amaan Ali Khan, as well as two currently unavailable live recordings. The two new songs, “The Speed of Soul” and “A Long Christmas Dinner” were recorded and produced by Newcomer, Robert Meitus and David Weber at Airtime Studios. “The Speed of Soul” is a poignant exploration of a more deliberate relationship to time in an increasingly fast-paced culture. “A Long Christmas Dinner” creates a portrait of life and family as part of an ongoing continuum. In the songs “I Believe,” “Geodes” and “Holy as a Day Is Spent,” Newcomer quietly and beautifully describes the presence of something extraordinary in the midst of our ordinary days. She sings, “God walks around in muddy boots, sometimes rags and that’s the truth” and “Folding sheets like folding hands, to pray as only laundry can.” “Before and After” explores the large and small experiences by which we mark our lives through a haunting duet with Mary Chapin Carpenter, resulting in a remarkable combination of two of acoustic music’s most rich and resonant females. “The Gathering of Spirits,” featuring Alison Krauss, is a clear voiced and crystalline celebration of this twinkling moment in time we call life.
Relating Kindred Spirits: A Collection to spirituality and songwriting, Newcomer writes “I am one of a growing number of people who don’t want to put the sacred in such a small container. I am disturbed that one very narrowly focused and extremely political brand of Christianity being called the ‘religious voice.’ There are wide communities of spiritual people who believe that walking this world in love and compassion is about feeding the hungry, providing for the poor or sick, caring for our elders, making sure that the table of love includes and welcomes everyone, educating our children and young people, honoring our beautiful and interconnected planet. These communities believe that women are equal spiritual beings, and that the highest and most honorable work is creating a less violent, more just and kind world. Isn’t a life of compassion bigger than a catch phrase or sound byte? Isn’t love wider and deeper than fear?” Speaking more to this point, she shares, “If a spiritual leader is teaching hate, it is not spiritual message, it is political message.”
On the topic of sacramental living Newcomer says, “We don’t live days, we live moments. In an ever-accelerating world that does not encourage reflection, presence has become a personal choice and decision. We will have to decide if our response to a limited amount of time is to speed up and never really be present, or to slow down to the speed of soul and savor what is momentary and now.”
“My most effective and powerful voice will always be my truest voice. We all know when a song is candy-coating things or just going for shock value. But when a song places its finger on the open palm of something true, it shakes the world just a little bit. Why would I want to do anything else as a writer, or as a person? Part of my work as a writer is to put into language and music moments of wonder that have no words.” The result is her latest release, “Kindred Spirits: A Collection,” a resonant soundtrack for a world that is both sacred and ordinary, reflective and forward thinking.
Carrie’s prior albums include the critically acclaimed “Before and After,” “The Geography of Light,” “Regulars & Refugees,” “The Age of Possibility,” “The Gathering of Spirits” and “The Betty’s Diner Collection.” She has toured extensively throughout U.S. and Europe, and she has also toured with Alison Krauss. In 2003, Nickel Creek recorded Newcomer’s song “I Should’ve Known Better” on their Grammy-winning album “This Side.” She was listed as one of “the 50 most influential folk musicians of the past 50 years” by Chicago’s WFMT.