“I’m kind of prolific, I guess,” Carrie Newcomer says, when asked about her most recent album, A Great Wild Mercy, being her 20th release. “I’m really grateful. I get to do this thing I love, and continue to put out albums…” She adds, “I’m really excited about this new one. I feel like it pushed a lot of growing edges…”
“I’ve always leaned into music, poetry, to story,” Carrie remembers. Although she didn’t grow up in a musical family, she encountered music at an early age in public school. The northern Indiana town where she lived was home to a number of band instrument manufacturers, so the local school music program was well equipped. She soon began building on this foundation: “I picked up the guitar when I was a teen, learned my first three chords and started writing songs.”
Carrie pursued a college education in visual art rather than studying music. But music provided a creative outlet and an “odd job” throughout that time. After graduation she realized “…it was really music that was calling me. So I was ready to take the risk with that thing that I loved the most.”
Twenty albums later, “that thing” has led Carrie to many awards, unique collaborations around spirituality and social justice, and much more. She has also published poetry, fiction, and is currently one of the most popular music writers on the blogging platform, Substack. When asked about the overarching theme of her work, most specifically her songwriting, Carrie says, “I don’t think I’ve ever written a song because I had an answer. I’ve always written songs because I had a question.”
“A lot of this album is about holding the tension of two things happening at the same time,” Carrie says, about A Great Wild Mercy. In the face of disturbing times, the lyrics look beyond immediate challenges to something deeper. “There’s not a lot of candy-coating on this album but at the same time there’s this idea of what is it that still treads through our lives that we can still hold onto with a certain kind of ‘yes’…”
To find out more, visit www.carrienewcomer.com. Listen to the full interview here.