by KRISTEN SENZ
We’re all a work in progress—as we evolve, staying connected to our surroundings and the people we reach for in the toughest moments can help us weather one transition after another. These are the ideas that local singer-songwriter Carrie Newcomer says she sought to capture on her new album, Until Now.
“I think the COVID experience, for a lot of us, brought things closer to home, quite literally, and it became important to really settle into and become more aware of what’s right here in our daily experience,” says Newcomer. “To appreciate what’s extraordinary in an ordinary day, and to honor that.”
The album—as well as the companion poetry book—delves into feelings of loss and confusion in what Newcomer calls a time of “great unraveling.” But it also exudes hope and lightheartedness, she explains, as evidenced by the song “My Dog,” about finding renewed closeness with her pet. The deeply personal lyrics combine with Until Now’s pared-down instrumentation to reveal a new level of vulnerability, Newcomer says.
“I think it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done, which is a really nice thing to be able to say at this point in a career,” she says.
Many of the songs on Until Now were written while Newcomer was in COVID-19 isolation at her Bloomington home in 2020 and reflect her own exploration of the creative process, and reconnecting with nature and those closest to her.
“After a month, I’d been home longer in a stretch than I’d been home in a stretch in 25 years,” she says.
Published by her own imprint, Available Light Publishing, the poetry book gave a home to writing that didn’t evolve into lyrics. “I do a lot of writing that isn’t music just yet,” Newcomer says. “Sometimes, the poems were meant to be poems, and that’s what they are, and sometimes they were poems on the way to a song.”
Newcomer is a native of Elkhart, Indiana, once home to dozens of musical instrument factories. She first picked up a guitar at age 12.
Until Now is Newcomer’s 19th studio album. It was recorded at Bloomington’s Airtime Studios.