Internationally known folk singer and songwriter Carrie Newcomer will be performing songs from her soon-to-be-released album, with a first-ever companion book, on Saturday in Rockville,
Guitarist Newcomer and pianist Gary Walters, both from Indiana, will be performing at Saint Mark Presbyterian Church on Old Georgetown Road.
The concert is sponsored by the church and the Institute of Musical Traditions in Rockville.
Newcomer said she will be singing “songs that have become old friends” from some of the most recent of her 13 solo CDs.
She will also be introducing some new songs from her upcoming album, “A Permeable Life,” due for release on April 1.
On the CD is a song called “Every Little Bit,” which is posted on YouTube along with photos and lyrics.
Newcomer said the word “permeable” alludes to her philosophy of being open to life while also giving back.
“It’s to let in the world and to let yourself out,” she said.
For the first time, Newcomer will also be releasing a book to accompany the CD called “A Permeable Life: Poetry and Essays.”
“It’s not a mere image from the album,” she said. “There are a variety of pieces, poems from other releases, and things I like to write about.”
Newcomer said songwriting for her starts with words, not music.
“My process starts with poetry, essays and stories — the songs emerge from those,” she said.
Newcomer, who grew up in Elkhart, Ind., began writing songs as a teenager, eventually earning a bachelor’s degree in visual art and education from Purdue University in Lafayette, Ind.
A Quaker, she is globally known for her work with charitable, interfaith and social justice organizations.
“There’s a spiritual current to what I do, but it’s not necessarily religious,” said Newcomer.
In recent years she has also spent time in India, Africa and the Middle East on behalf of the U.S. government.
“There’s a prevailing idea that we’re all divided,” she said.
But Newcomer said she instead looks for the common ground and the shared values among different cultures and religions.
“If you stick to dogma, you get stuck,” she said. “But if you can find that thread, you’ve got someplace to go, [and people] are not so divided.”
Newcomer said she also believes in the personal practice of living in the present moment, of slowing down and paying attention to what’s happening around you.
“We live in an increasingly busy culture,” she said. “It’s the idea of showing up for our own lives.”
When people feel like they don’t have enough time, some react by trying to do more.
“They throw one more ball in the air,” she said.
Not a fan of multi-tasking, Newcomer said the better practice might be to focus on one thing at a time.
“Time expands when you’re really paying attention,” she said. “That’s when I see the miraculous, the extraordinary.”
That can be something such as a large flock of little birds turning on a dime in the sky, or something as seemingly commonplace as a driver letting another car into traffic.
“They did something kind for you,” she said.
Newcomer said she’s traveled all over the country, performing in venues ranging from college campus to theaters to religious centers, and that she enjoys the experience.
“I’m not going from arena to arena,” she said. “I sing in large halls and smaller ones, where I’m actually there and get to meet people.”
No matter where she goes, she finds ways to communicate.
“If you sing a song about love, family, grief, and particularly about hope, it’s immediately recognizable,” she said.
“I’ve always had this wonderful fascination with people, and I keep believing in us.”