On The Beautiful Not Yet, released on September 16, 2016, Newcomer continues and expands her inquiry into how life’s deepest questions present themselves in our daily lives.
Newcomer joined forces with producer and banjo virtuoso Jayme Stone (Lomax Project) to create The Beautiful Not Yet. It is a collection of joyous, earthy songs featuring elegantly layered chamber/roots arrangements, Newcomer’s signature warm, intimate vocals and filled with the ache and awe of human longing.
“We live in an ever accelerating world where we are not encouraged to stop, reflect or pause the perpetual motion of our lives,” Newcomer remarks. “I’ve always been more intrigued by good questions than easy answers questions like, what do I love beyond words or measure, what sustains and connects us, where do we find help in hard times, how can I be more present in my daily life, and when I stop and pull back the layers of distraction, what is at the very heart of my life?”
Many of the songs featured on The Beautiful Not Yet were created in dialog with beloved author Parker J. Palmer (Let Your Life Speak, Healing the Heart of Democracy) for their spoken word and music collaboration, What We Need Is Here: Hope, Hard Times and the Human Possibility which addresses our collective yearning for a human-scale way of understanding and responding to what’s happening in our world, as well as how to re-orient ourselves from looking outward at a world that feels overpowering and invincible and begin the process of looking inward to the powers of the human heart, activated by hope and amplified by community. The songs “Sanctuary,” “Three Feet or So,” “Help in Hard Times,” “A Shovel is a Prayer,” “Lean in Toward the Light” and “You Can Do This Hard Thing” exemplify the themes of this fascinating meeting of author and songwriter, music and spoken word. This new show is a perfect follow up to their 2012-16 collaboration, Healing the Heart of Democracy: A Gathering of Spirits for the Common that aired July 4, 2016 on Wisconsin Public Broadcasting and focused upon a new kind of political conversation.
Also featured on The Beautiful Not Yet, are songs that invite us to live a more present, engaged life, even in the face of division, uncertainty or heartbreak. Newcomer explains, “The things that have always saved us personally and as a community are still here to save us; compassion, kindness, empathy, generosity, a sense of humor, decency, faithfulness and good parenting are all still here. Yes, the things that have always tripped us up–greed, racism, tribalism, unchecked commercialism and violence—are also still here, and so we name and contend with these things as well. But too often we look “out there” for solutions, when what we really need is right here, within us and between us.”