Carrie Newcomer

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Carrie Newcomer
Background information
Born (1958-05-25) May 25, 1958 (age 65)
Dowagiac, Michigan, United States
GenresFolk, Americana, World music
Occupation(s)Singer-songwriter, musician, author
Instrument(s)Guitar, vocal, mountain dulcimer
Years active1980–present
LabelsPhilo, Rounder, Concord Music Group, Available Light Records

Carrie Newcomer is an American singer, songwriter and author.[1] She has produced 19 solo CDs and has received numerous awards for her music and related charitable activities. She has collaborated with numerous authors, academics, philosophers and musicians. In 2009 and 2011 she traveled to India as a cultural ambassador, including musical performances organized by the US State Department. In 2012 she made a similar trip to Kenya on behalf of the Interfaith Hunger Initiative. Her range of causes, activities, collaborations and philosophies significantly influences her music. Newcomer was called "a prairie mystic" by the Boston Globe.[2]

Solo music and career[edit]

Her first solo album was Visions and Dreams.[3] Visions and Dreams was originally released on Windchime records and then later re-released with two additional tracks by Rounder records.[when?][4] Between 1993 and 2010, she released twelve additional albums and two "best of" compilations on Philo/Rounder.[5] Her range of causes, activities, collaborations and philosophies significantly influences her music.[6] She released four solo albums and one live album on Available Light Records.[7]

Her album Betty's Diner: The Best of Carrie Newcomer was released in 2004. It contained three new songs, plus, "what's held up for me what songs have become old friends, and what songs are requested often".[8] The title track started out as a short story which Newcomer wrote while on the road, she then decided to incorporate the story into a song.[8]

In 2009 Newcomer traveled to India as a cultural ambassador for The American Center and worked with students of the American Embassy School in New Delhi.[9] While in India, Newcomer performed concerts organized by the U.S. State Department including those in the cities of Chennai & Trivandrum. After the first week in Delhi, she embarked on a tour schedule that included concerts and performance in the evenings and working with community service groups during the days.[10][11]

In 2011 Newcomer returned to India as a cultural ambassador for The American Center and worked with students of the American Embassy School in New Delhi, the American School Bombay, and The International School Chennai.[9] While in India, Newcomer performed concerts organized by the U.S. State Department and visited community service projects and facilitated workshops.[10]

In 2011, following her 2011 trip to India, she released the album, Everything is Everywhere, on Available Light Records which featured Amjad Ali Khan and his sons, Amaan and Ayaan on traditional Indian instruments. The profits of "Everything is Everywhere" benefit Interfaith Hunger Initiative[10][12][13] In the article "Carrie Newcomer’s cool fusion of East and West hooks listeners" Firstpost (Mumbai, India) identified Amjad Ali Khan and his sons, Amaan and Ayaan as "three of the best sarod players in the world".[6] With the music in this collaboration album, Newcomer said that her objective was "to create songs that were based in western song form, but would integrate and preserve the power, depth and energy of Indian music. I did not want to create western songs, add a tabla and call it fusion."[6]

Kindred Spirits: A collection was released in November 2012. It includes two previously unreleased songs, two songs from her hunger benefit project (Everything is Everywhere) featuring Indian classical sarod performers Amjad Ali Khan, Ayaan and Amaan Ali Khan, two previously unreleased live recordings, and a compilation of other songs.[14]

Her CD A Permeable life was released in April 2014, as was her book of the same title.[14][15] They do not have material in common, but Newcomer has indicated that the book shows some of the process and themes of her songwriting.[16] The theme of the CD has been characterized as: "Newcomer explores familiar themes of being present, moving through thresholds in life and embracing each experience that comes your way".[17]

Her Beautiful Not Yet album was released in 2016,with a companion book by the same name. Accorfing to Newcomer, this book and CD explore the themes of mystery and miracle in the everyday and the album is described by FolkWorks as "profound and poetic."[18]

Newcomer’s album Until Now was released in Sept 2021, with a companion book of the same title. This collection refers to the Covid pandemic as "the great unraveling" and addresses big questions for society's work in process, and that healing after the crisis is not enough. "We can’t just be healed, we must be transformed."[19][20]

In more recent years her broadening into authoring books including poetry and philosophical works, and similar collaborations have represented a transformation into what sources have termed a "prairie mystic".[21] With the release of her latest album and companion book, one review summarized it as "Newcomer’s lyrics address the themes of living in challenging and changing times and finding hope in the patterns of nature and each other’s company. The lyrics are informed by Newcomer’s wider philosophical and spiritual thinking as well as her environmentalism and concerns for social justice."[21]


Newcomer has released three books of poetry, essays & short stories. 2014 A Permeable Life: Poems & Essays,[22] in 2016 The Beautiful Not Yet: Poems & Lyrics,[23] and in 2021 Until Now: New Poems.[24] Newcomer's poem Three Gratitudes was featured on the On Being PBS radio program first aired on November 26, 2014, along with an interview of Newcomer by Krista Tippett.[25][26]


Since 2017 Newcomer has co-hosted The Growing Edge podcast with author Parker J. Palmer described as "exploring the themes of life on the growing edge personally, vocationally and politically".[20]

Awards and recognitions[edit]

In 2012 Newcomer performed at various locations in rural Chulaimbo Kenya as a part of the Interfaith Hunger Initiative and at the AMPATH HIV center in Eldoret.[27][28]

In December 2018 Spirituality and Health Magazine named Newcomer and Parker J. Palmer as two of 10 Spiritual Leaders for the Next 20 Years.[29]

In 2010, Rich Warren host of the Midnight Special radio program selected Carrie Newcomer as one of the 50 most significant singer-songwriters of folk music for the last 50 years.[30] Warren also selected her Geography of Light as one of his (13) favorite CDs for 2008. He said "Newcomer is philosopher, sage, mystic and poet with an alto voice that I would follow to the ends of the earth. She also finally reached the perfect balance of accompaniment/production with her voice. The thoroughly engrossing songs require several listenings to see all the light (and dark) within them. Newcomer improves with every CD and her poetry grows more complex and luminous."[31]

In 2008 Boston's WUMB radio station, included her on their list of the Top Most Influential Artists of the past 25 years.[32] In 2010 Chicago's WBEZ radio and The Chicago Tribune included her on their list of Top 50 folk artists of the last 50 years.[32] In 2007, her album The Geography of Light received the Artist of the Year and Album of the Year awards from Folk Wax Magazine. In 2003 her Album "The Gathering of Spirits" also received the Artist of the Year and Album of the Year awards from Folk Wax Magazine. That year she wrote the national theme song for the YMCA[33] and collaborated with Scott Russell Sanders and folk songwriters Krista Detor, Tim Grimm, Michael White and Tom Roznoski on an album and theatrical production entitled Wilderness Plots.[34] The author, cast members and director of Wilderness Plots were honored by the Indiana House of Representatives and Senate in a joint resolution which described it as "a musical tribute to the early pioneer settlement of the Midwest and embodies the rich history and artistic excellence of the State of Indiana."[35] Wilderness Plots received a 2012 CINE award for the professional telecast non-fiction division.[36]

In 2003, Newcomer was named Woman of the Year by the City of Bloomington’'s Commission on the Status of Women.[37] "The 2003 Woman of the Year, Carrie Newcomer, is best known as a singer/songwriter; however, Jennifer Bass, nominator, says Newcomers significant contributions go beyond her music. Nine years ago Newcomer and her husband Robert Meitus organized Bloomington’s first Soup Bowl Benefit and they continue to assist with the benefit. What is less known is Carrie's dedication to community and her generous support of local and national organizations,” said Bass. “She has donated money from sales of her cd’s to the Nature Conservancy and she has participated in benefit concerts in St. Louis and Tucson."[37] Newcomer's "I Wish I May, I Wish I Might" was chosen as the official song of the two year Food For Thought campaign by The Indiana Humanities Department.[38] Newcomer added, "‘I Wish I May, I Wish I Might’ was inspired by the essays ‘Carnival" and "Bill and Bunny" by celebrated Indiana author, Philip Gulley."[38]

Rolling Stone magazine said that Newcomer's work "asks all the right questions and refuses to settle for easy answers".[39]

In 2016 Newcomer was presented an honorary degree by Goshen College in Music for Social Change. The same year she presented the commencement address for the Goshen College class of 2016.[40]

In 2003 her song "I Should Have Known Better" was recorded by Nickel Creek on their Grammy-Winning Best Contemporary Folk Album "This Side".[10]


Newcomer has collaborated with a range of musicians in performances and recordings. She also has collaborated on performances, presentations and efforts with authors, academics, activists, and organizations.

Newcomer has collaborated with author Parker J. Palmer on a number of projects including a song-and-spoken-word event called Healing the Heart of Democracy: A Gathering of Spirits for the Common Good and We Need it Here: Hope, Hard Times and Human Possibility. In 2017 Newcomer and Palmer created a collaboration called The Growing Edge which includes retreats and The Growing Edge podacst.

In 1989, she wrote Sounds of the Morning for The Battle of Tippecanoe Outdoor Drama, about the land conflict between Tecumseh and William Henry Harrison. Her song was played as a prologue and as patrons left the amphitheater. Her music was woven into the NEA-funded sound design by theatre sound designer Richard K. Thomas.[41]

Newcomer collaborated with author Parker J. Palmer to create the presentation "Healing the Heart of Democracy."[42][43]

"Transforming Stories" was a presentation by Newcomer and Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor a neuroanatomist and author of the book My Stroke of Insight.[44][45]

Newcomer also collaborated with authors Scott Russell Sanders, Philip Gulley and J. Brent Bill for the PBS special Festival of Friends: An Offering in 4 Quaker Voices.[46]

Newcomer has collaborated with Jim Wallis.[47] Jim Wallis is the author of the New York Times best-selling book God's Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It,[47]

Newcomer has toured the United States, Europe, Africa and India including performances with Alison Krauss, Mary Chapin Carpenter,[48] American singer-songwriter David Wilcox in shows based on spiritual story, Amjad Ali Khan, Barbara Kingsolver, Parker J. Palmer, Jill Bolte Taylor, Scott Russell Sanders and Philip Gulley.[49][50]

In September 2012, the collaboration An Evening of Reflection, Conversation & Song: Taylor, Newcomer, and Sasso was hosted by the Athenaeum Foundation. It included Newcomer, Sandy Sasso and Jill Bolte Taylor with the objective of providing stories and music exploring the ideas in Parker J. Palmer's book "Healing the Heart of Democracy' for those in search of ideas on how to "Reclaim our capacity for civility and community".[51]

Her albums also contain collaborations with a range of other musicians.

Organizations and causes[edit]

Newcomer is a member of the National Advisory board of the Beuchner institute of King college.[52]

Newcomer gives a percentage of her album sales to charitable organizations including the Interfaith Hunger Initiative American Friends Service Committee, America's Second Harvest, The Center for Courage and Renewal, and Literacy Volunteers of America.[53]

Published works[edit]

Solo CDs[edit]

  • 2021 Until Now
  • 2019 The Point of Arrival
  • 2017 Live at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater
  • 2016 The Beautiful Not Yet[14]
  • 2014 A Permeable Life[14][15][54]
  • 2012 Kindred Spirits: A collection[14]
  • 2011 Everything Is Everywhere Available Light Records AL 1001
  • 2010 Before & After – Philo PH 1259
  • 2008 The Geography of Light – Philo PH 1253
  • 2005 Regulars and Refugees – Philo PH 1247
  • 2004 Betty's Diner: The Best of Carrie Newcomer – Philo PH 1245
  • 2002 The Gathering of Spirits – Philo PH 1243
  • 2000 The Age of Possibility – Philo PH 1226
  • 1999 Bare to the Bone [Live] – Philo CD 9901
  • 1998 My True Name – Philo PH 1223
  • 1996 My Father's Only Son – Philo PH 1203
  • 1995 The Bird or the Wing – Philo PH 1183
  • 1994 An Angel at My Shoulder – Philo PH 1163
  • 1991 Visions and Dreams – Philo PH 1193 [1995 reissue]

Collaboration CDs[edit]

  • 2008 Kyser Klassics (Partial Capo)
  • 2007 Wilderness Plots Rosehill Records
  • 2003 Song Mania (More Songs About Love and Despair)
  • 2002 The Singer Songwriter Collection Rounder Records
  • 2001 Rounder Records: Celebrating 30 Colorful Years [Compilation, Limited Edition]
  • 1998 Kerrville Folk Festival: 25th Anniversary
  • 1996 One More Song:An Album For Club Passim Rounder Records
  • 1993 Shelter: The Best Of Contemporary Singer-Songwriters Putumayo Presents Series


  • 2016 An Evening with Carrie Newcomer WFYI Public Television Broadcast
  • 2008 Wilderness Plots Songs and Stories of the Prairie
  • 2006 Bernice Johnson Reagon/Holly Near/Carrie Newcomer : Light of Change DVD
  • 2005 A Festival of Friends WFYI Public Television Broadcast


  • 2021 Until Now:New Poems by Carrie Newcomer ISBN 978-7375335-0-4
  • 2016 Carrie Newcomer the beautiful not yet Poems, Essays and Lyrics ISBN 978-0-692-76090-1[55]
  • 2014 A Permeable Life by Carrie Newcomer ISBN 978-0-615-90275-3[14][56]

LPs With Stone Soup[edit]

  • 1987 October Nights – Windchime RC-102
  • 1984 Long Fields – Windchime RC-101/S

Life and early career[edit]

Newcomer was born in Dowagiac, Michigan on May 25, 1958[57] to James B. Newcomer and Donna Baldoni Newcomer. When she was 5 years old they moved to Elkhart, Indiana where she lived until she was 18 years old.[58] She began writing songs as a teenager and began performing in restaurants, coffeehouses and at benefits and festivals.[59] She began her university studies at Ball State University and then Goshen College. Newcomer spent 5 months teaching art in an elementary school in San Isidro, Costa Rica. She completed her studies at Purdue University and received a B.A. in visual art and education.

In the 1980s, Newcomer was a member of the pop-folk and acoustic group Stone Soup[4][60] which produced three albums: Sampler [1982], Long Fields [1984], and October Nights [1987], all now out of print. Newcomer was the group's main songwriter and lead vocalist and she also played dulcimer and guitar.[4] The group was based in West Lafayette, IN. After leaving Stone Soup, she moved to Bloomington, IN and recorded her first solo album.

Personal life[edit]

Though she was raised in a Protestant-Methodist Church, she now identifies strongly as a Quaker.[61] She is married to Robert Shannon Meitus, an entertainment and intellectual property lawyer.[62] When she met him he was a guitar player and songwriter in the band Dorkestra. She has a daughter,[8] Amelia Newcomer Aldred.[63] Newcomer's musical development, approach and themes have been influenced by her evolution in spiritual, philosophical and humanitarian areas and endeavors.[10]


  1. ^ "Newcomer, Carrie". FolkLib Index. Retrieved March 19, 2008.
  2. ^ Carrie Newcomer by Scott Alarik The Boston Globe
  3. ^ "Visions and Dreams". Rounder Records. Retrieved April 6, 2008.
  4. ^ a b c Carrie Newcomer, that longing for something better by Arthur Wood Maverick Magazine (England) pages 40–43
  5. ^ "discography". Rounder Records. Retrieved April 6, 2008.
  6. ^ a b c Choudhury, Uttara (November 5, 2011). "Carrie Newcomer's cool fusion of East and West hooks listeners". Firstpost. Retrieved February 15, 2023.
  7. ^ "Carrie Newcomer Albums and Discography". AllMusic. ALLMUSIC, NETAKTION LLC. Retrieved February 15, 2023.
  8. ^ a b c A Conversation with Carrie Newcomer by Frank Goodman, February 2004 Retrieved October 6, 2012
  9. ^ a b "Mumbai embassy page". Archived from the original on May 27, 2010. Retrieved March 31, 2010.
  10. ^ a b c d e Lindquist, David (October 30, 2011) "Its a long way from Indiana to India, The Indianapolis Star,page G1
  11. ^ Archived September 7, 2015, at the Wayback Machine A Life-Changing Journey Carrie Newcomer's Tour of India for the U.S. State Department by Debra Kent Bloom Magazine feature article February/March 2010 issue. Pages 58–63. Retrieved August 14, 2012
  12. ^[permanent dead link] Amaan, Ayaan's new album The Times of India August 23, 2011
  13. ^ Kerry Dexter Listening well, doing good USA Today Perceptive Travel November 19, 2011
  14. ^ a b c d e f Official website Retrieved October 6, 2012
  15. ^ a b MTV listing Retrieved April 2, 2014
  16. ^ A Permeable Life 2013 By Carrie Newcomer ISBN 978-0-615-90275-3 Page 4
  17. ^ "Allowing the world in Indiana native brings her view of life, set to music, to CSPS Hall" by Aly Brown Iowa City Press-Citizen, March 19, 2014, Retrieved April 6, 2014
  18. ^ Carrie Newcomer – The Beautiful Not Yet by Jackie Morris Retrieved 10/31/2021
  19. ^ In her new ‘Until Now,’ Carrie Newcomer calls all of us to sing for our lives and our communities By David Crumm Editorm editor ReadTheSpirit magazine. September 27, 2021 including their quotes of statements by Newcomer Retrieved 10/31/21
  20. ^ a b Folk Singer Carrie Newcomer Offers Words And Music For Mending The ‘Great Unraveling’ by David Lindquist Forbes magazine Retrieved November 1, 2021
  21. ^ a b "Carrie Newcomer - Until Now: folksongs wrapped in kindness". 13th Floor. The 13th Floor Ltd. September 20, 2021. Retrieved March 14, 2023.
  22. ^ ReadTheSpirit magazine The Carrie Newcomer interview on: A Permeable Life by David Crumm June 15th, 2014 Retrieved 10/31/21
  23. ^ Carrie Newcomer interview on: The Beautiful Not Yet Crumm Editorm editor ReadTheSpirit magazine Retrieved 10/31/21
  24. ^ In her new: Until Now, Carrie Newcomer calls all of us to sing for our lives and our communities By David Crumm editor of ReadTheSpirit magazine September 27, 2021 Retrieved 10/31/21
  25. ^ Three Gratitudes Written and read by Carrie Newcomer Retrieved November 1, 2021
  26. ^ Carrie Newcomer A Conversation with Music Interview by Krista Tippett Retrieved November 1, 2021
  27. ^ If Not Now by Rachel Vreeman June 14, 2012 Retrieved July 30, 2012
  28. ^ "Indiana singer/songwriter Carrie Newcomer will be visiting Chulaimbo, Kenya in early June to visit the Umoja project sites. Proceeds from Carrie's latest CD, "Everything Is Everywhere," benefit IHI." Retrieved July 30, 2012
  29. ^ 10 Spiritual Leaders For The Next 20 Years by SH Editors (overall) and Meggan Watt Peterson (Newcomer article) Retrieved November 1, 2021
  30. ^ Eric Zorn Top 50 folkies of the last 50 years, one man's list July 25, 2010
  31. ^ "The Midnight Special".
  32. ^ a b "official webpage". Archived from the original on July 8, 2011. Retrieved March 31, 2010.
  33. ^ "About the YMCA". Archived from the original on March 6, 2008. Retrieved April 6, 2008.
  34. ^ "Wilderness Plots". Retrieved April 6, 2008.
  35. ^ The Briefing Room March 1, 2010 Retrieved July 30, 2012
  36. ^[permanent dead link] CINE 2012 award web page retrieved August 30, 2012
  37. ^ a b!topic/blgtn.government/WnTJ-fjqSoI Carrie Newcomer Selected as 2003 Woman of the Year by Jillian Kinzie City of Bloomington, IN press release February 11, 2003
  38. ^ a b Food for Thought has an official song! September 2, 2010 Retrieved August 31, 2012
  39. ^ Rolling Stone magazine Issue 683 June 2, 1994
  40. ^ Carrie Newcomer encourages graduates to ‘be true, be kind and pay attention’ with words and song at 118th commencement April 24, 2016 Retrieved 12/7/21
  41. ^ Technical Staff, Battle of Tippecanoe Outdoor Drama 1990 Souvenir program, Summer 1990.
  42. ^ Carrie Newcomer biography Mike Green and associates access date: March 31, 2010|
  43. ^ Carrie Newcomer/Parker Palmer Concert Retrieved August 14, 2012
  44. ^ "Jill Bolte Taylor and Carrie Newcomer Transformative Stories" (PDF). Retrieved March 31, 2010.
  45. ^ "The ACADEMI of Life". Archived from the original on September 17, 2011. Retrieved August 5, 2012. Transformative Stories; an Evening in Conversation and Music with Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor The Academi of Life website Retrieved August 5, 2012
  46. ^ "festival of friends". WFYI, Indianapolis, IN. Archived from the original on April 2, 2008. Retrieved April 6, 2008.
  47. ^ a b Lindsay Morgan May 12, 2005, Press release by Sojourners Retrieved August 10, 2012
  48. ^ "Mary Chapin Carpenter at Morristown's Community Theatre: What took you so long? | Morristown Green". Retrieved August 4, 2012.
  49. ^ "official biography". Archived from the original on January 21, 2011. Retrieved March 31, 2010.
  50. ^ The Herald Scotland Alison Krauss & Union Station, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall by Rob Adams June 5, 1997, Retrieved August 1, 2012
  51. ^ "An Evening of Reflection, Conversation & Song: Taylor, Newcomer, and Sasso". Retrieved October 6, 2012.
  52. ^ "King College: NATIONAL ADVISORY BOARD". Archived from the original on May 13, 2012. Retrieved August 3, 2012. Buechner Institute National Advisory Board member listing, King College website retrieved August 3, 2012
  53. ^ "official webpage". Retrieved March 31, 2010.
  54. ^ Newcomer focuses on 'being present' with record This Week Community News newspaper March 12, 2014, Retrieved April 5, 2014
  55. ^ Book Carrie Newcomer the beautiful not yet Poems, Essays and Lyrics by Carrie Newcomer Copyright 2016 Available Light Publishing ISBN 978-0-692-76090-1
  56. ^ Book A Permeable Life by Carrie Newcomer
  57. ^ "Carrie Newcomer | Biography & History". AllMusic.
  58. ^ "Q&A; with Carrie Newcomer | Metromix Indianapolis". Archived from the original on February 25, 2010. Retrieved March 31, 2010. David Lindquist Q&A with Carrie Newcomer Indianapolis Metromix interview February 21, 2010 access date March 31, 2010
  59. ^ "Carrie Newcomer - Musical Journey". Archived from the original on August 18, 2012. Retrieved August 12, 2012. History section of Newcomer web site Retrieved August 11, 2012
  60. ^ "Stone Soup". AllMusic. Retrieved March 19, 2008.
  61. ^ "Carrie Newcomer – A Conversation With Music". On Being with Krista Tippett. Retrieved September 3, 2015.
  62. ^ Archived December 26, 2013, at the Wayback Machine Meitus personal profile section of Meitus, Gelbert and Rose LLP website Retrieved August 2, 2012
  63. ^

External links[edit]