Calling The Newcomer

Carrie Newcomer Activates The Music Scene.

THE OLD PUEBLO is a special place for singer/songwriter Carrie Newcomer. Thanks to a song she wrote, "The Moon Over Tucson," inspired by author Barbara Kingsolver's High Tide In Tucson, Newcomer and Kingsolver have become friends and mutual admirers. Last year, Kingsolver, with her husband, Steven, and their band, The Now or Never Project, opened Newcomer's show here. Kingsolver also wrote the liner notes to Newcomer's latest CD, The Age of Possibility, her seventh album of personal and poignant songs.

"We trade e-mails and stories," Newcomer says of her friend, "not necessarily about being writers, but about being artists and moms and people of conscience. When you admire someone professionally and you get to know them personally and find that you admire them all the more, that's a kind of a treasure."

Like Kingsolver, Newcomer came to her career late, after a stint as a single mom. Along the way, Newcomer toiled as a waitress, a teacher and a factory worker.

"As a writer, I found my voice in my 30s," Newcomer explains. "Not that I didn't have valid things to say at 17. I just feel that the well keeps getting deeper. One of the things about being an artist with several albums is you have to be very comfortable with your growth being public. I'm proud of everything I've done, but it's fun to watch the evolution."

Newcomer has been touring nationally for about 10 years now. Although she studied visual arts in college, she always played music.

"When college was done, it was really music that was calling me," she remembers. "I didn't really mean to go out and become an itinerant songwriter. It's never one of the options at career day. But I love writing and music and this is where it's taken me. I really had to follow my heart in all this and that's risky because it doesn't always take you to the most secure places."

It was also in college that Newcomer developed her social awareness, serving in Costa Rica for six months as part of her degree requirements. She actively supports health and hunger organizations. On this tour, 10 percent of her concert album sales will go to Literacy Volunteers of America, Inc. Donations from the sale of her CD Bare to the Bone have raised nearly $20,000 for Planned Parenthood.

"Activism is a very important part of my life," Newcomer notes, "but I'm more of an activist the way that Wendell Berry is, rather than Abbie Hoffman."

Carrie Newcomer performs with pianist Wynton Reynolds on Saturday, December 2 at 8 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 4831 E. 22nd St. Tucson folk duo Kathy and Shanti will open the show. Tickets are $12 in advance ($10 for In Concert! members), $14 at the door. Tickets are available at Hear's Music, Antigone Books, CD City, Zip's University and the Folk Shop, or charge by phone at 327-4809. For more information, call In Concert! at 327-4809.