Newsletter

Spring Sessions Bring Summer Songs

Posted by on Jun 4, 2015 in newsletter | 0 comments

Our spring recording sessions began on a recent sunny afternoon with smudging – the Native American ritual of burning medicine plants for purification and cleansing – and a prayer asking the Great Spirit to sing through us. We met in that sacred dimension where time and space are limitless, where energy is infinite, where sadness and suffering are transformed into joyful communion. Our recording sessions began.

Making music together with Allison and the Community Gardeners, I felt moved by the gifts of the Spirit given to me by my parents, teachers, and ancestors, and inspired by friends who have developed their musical gifts well beyond my own.

As we met in this place of music we sailed through several songs together, telling stories and laughing in between. Recording is intense, fun work. For me it is like a combination of therapy and spiritual retreat in the way that it brings attention and awareness to details within songs that may otherwise go unnoticed. Recording has taught me that engaging in and trusting the creative process is just as important as the end product.

Making an album is a journey best experienced when shared, and I have been fortunate to encounter many friends on my path with whom I have the privilege of working. This is a road that is co-created with the Great Mystery and with loving hearts. This will be our continuation long after we are gone.

Recording also takes time, like any creative medium. So unfortunately you will have to wait a while yet before hearing the fruits of our labors. But you can rest assured that we are enjoying each step and every note along the way.

I am excited to share many of these songs at live performances this spring and summer, whether in a children’s concert or at a Spirits Rising show. Let’s meet in that place of music.
Love,
Joe

 

Thunderstorm Dreams

Posted by on May 7, 2015 in newsletter | 0 comments

Thunderstorm dreams. Early morning songbird serenades. Cloudy sunshine purple crocus afternoons. Mother Earth is waking up from her long winter slumber, keeping her promise to all beings that the seasons will indeed change and that new life will again be born.This mysterious process of transformation works its way through my internal world as well, composting the layers of fear, shame, and anxiety that exist in my mind into opportunities for love, service, and new growth in my heart.

As I write this I am aware of the many generous beings who share their time, energy, wisdom, smiles, laughter, and love with me in ways that allow me to continue on my path. I am so grateful to Allison for her many precious gifts and to the diverse spiritual and musical communities to which we have the privilege of belonging. Because of these community gardeners, I have been able to plant winter seeds in spring soil.I have been busy working on several recording projects, performing on my west coast tour and back home here in Michigan, and helping to facilitate songwriting workshops from Bainbridge Island to Ann Arbor. I am working on two new children’s albums: Diversity, a collection of songs that celebrate inclusive community in many forms, and Decomposers’ Poop, a short collection of songs about compost-related topics.

In addition to these projects, I am working with the Dream Seekers Youth Group at American Indian Health and Family Services in Detroit on a new album of original contemporary urban Native American songs. Allison and I are also starting to record a few Spirits Rising tunes for an EP and future album!

I am excited for these new recordings to evolve and grow during this season of hope and life. I will let you know as soon as they are ready to bloom and invite you to share them with your friends and families.

I am happy to continue to share this little gift of music with the world in ways that support happiness, creativity, and community. Let the music flow and may our hearts grow, all season long!

Love,
Joe

Snow Day!

Posted by on Feb 2, 2015 in newsletter | 0 comments

Snow is falling down on the street

I’ve got my slippers on my feet

I’ve got my hat on my head

It’s a snow day I’m going back to bed!

 

Its snowing, its snowing

Snowing for me, snowing for you

And all of the animals

Its snowing for them too

 

Those lyrics are from a new song that I wrote last week while on retreat at the Still Point Zen Buddhist Temple in Detroit. In the relaxed stillness of the retreat, I was finally able to hear my inner songwriter again and I wrote three new songs, this one inspired by the simple magic of the falling snow. 

 

Snow is a wonder of nature that I can easily overlook with feelings of frustration and trepidation when I have to drive somewhere or “get something done.” But because I had the privilege of being able to stay in one warm place while it was snowing, I could appreciate the simple beauty and transformation that was happening all around. And I was inspired to sing about it!

 

I am so grateful to have been able to take those few days in retreat, to take refuge in community and in the spiritual practices of prayer, meditation, and songwriting. These new songs will be added to a children’s album I will be working on this year called Diversity. I am excited to collaborate with Allison and our fellow musician friends to produce this fun collection of songs.

 

Today we are enjoying another snow day here in Michigan, where we received about 16 inches of snow in the last 24 hours. I am reminded of yet another recent snow day I experienced last month while on tour with the Earthwork Music Collective in Kalamazoo.

 

We were scheduled for a concert in Traverse City that evening, normally a 3-hour drive from Kzoo. The snow was coming down all night and day and thankfully we made the collective decision to postpone the concert until the spring and stay put in Kalamazoo.

 

The result was a wonderful gift of being together with nowhere to go and nothing to do. Michael and Laurel of Red Tail Ring invited everyone over for a fish fry and we enjoyed visiting, eating amazing home-cooked food, laughing, telling stories, listening to vintage records that Seth had just found at a local thrift store, and making music together. What a gift the snow gave us!

 

Like the retreat, the snow is a wonderful reminder to slow down, to let go of my busy agenda that seems so important, and enjoy the moment. I am grateful to be safe and warm in this moment, to be with my love, and to have music in my heart. I am looking forward to sharing music with you soon, weather permitting!

 

Love,

 

Joe