Arts & Entertainment

Press Pass: Carrie Newcomer

carrieShe’s been writing songs for over 30 years. She’s toured with Alison Krauss and Union Station. She’s had her work covered by Nickel Creek and released 12 solo albums. So yeah, I guess you could say Carrie Newcomer’s last name is a little ironic.

carrieShe’s been writing songs for over 30 years. She’s toured with Alison Krauss and Union Station. She’s had her work covered by Nickel Creek and released 12 solo albums. So yeah, I guess you could say Carrie Newcomer’s last name is a little ironic.

The Indiana-born folk singer-songwriter has covered a lot of ground over her 30-plus year career and her upcoming release, Everything is Everywhere, will extend that territory even further when the sounds of Indiana meet those of India for an album benefiting the Interfaith Hunger Initiative. Before her April 16 show at The Birchmere, we caught up with Newcomer to talk about her songwriting roots, the evolution of her sound and what fans can expect to see when she takes the stage April 16.

Mike Hume: How did you arrive at your sound?

Carrie Newcomer: Being a songwriter is an evolving process. I picked up a guitar when I was a kid, learned three chords and started writing then. But something really important happened for my songwriting when I gave myself permission to sound like a Hoosier. And what I mean by that is, I’m from Indiana and there’s a particular voice that comes out of this part of the country. And I’ve found that my most powerful voice will always be my most authentic voice. The truer I was to that, the more effective my songs would be.

MH: How has it evolved over the years?

CN: There have been a lot of transitions. For a while I was opening shows for Alison Krauss and Union Station. They embodied something that I had been thinking a lot about, and that’s elegance in music. What you don’t say is just as powerful as what you do say. I had been averse to writing something simple and elegant for fear that people would think that I couldn’t do something complex. And I sort of got over that. Sometimes complexity is what’s needed. But sometimes it’s just a simple elegance that’s needed. It’s just all about the song.

MH: Do you have a preferred method for how you write your songs?

CN: It’s very hard to write about world peace. It’s hard to get your arms around it. But you can write a very powerful love story and through that get to a bigger idea. And I try to do that, be specific and true to human life. It’s not my diary; I have journals for that. It’s just getting at bigger picture ideas through a very specific topic.

MH: How develop the idea for your new album, Everything is Everywhere?

CN: I was traveling in India for about a month and while I was there I met Amjad Ali Khan who is a master of the sarod, which would be like an Indian cello. We really appreciated each other’s music and decided to do a collaboration. It might be the first collaboration between Indian classical music and a Western singer songwriter. It’s a pretty divergent music form.

MH: And for those at the Birchmere on April 16, when you finish a show, what do you want the audience to take away?

CN: For all of the changes in the music industry, the one constant has been a live show. You can’t experience it any other way except to be there. There’s something really powerful between an artist and an audience. I love when people leave my shows feeling like we’re all so human. I also like to think that there’s a healthy dose of humor. I tend to look at the world a little sideways.

• For more on Carrie Newcomer, visit www.carrienewcomer.com.