Peachy Keyn

Posted by on Nov 19, 2014 in newsletter | 0 comments

“Music is our heartbeat.” 

Allison reminds me of this simple truth each time she sits down at her piano and masterfully weaves a musical tapestry. Her fingers and voice dance together through the air and help restore my heart to its original purpose: to love.

I know I am biased because I am in love with Allison, but I also know that many others hear beauty in her music and appreciate her artistry just as much as I do. From the shores of Lopez Island in Washington to the city streets of Detroit, audiences are impressed and inspired by her music.

I am happy and excited to announce the official release of Allison’s debut album Peachy Keyn. Integrating her diverse musical influences of jazz, blues, pop, and Native American singing, she creatively and generously shares her musical heartbeat with listeners.


Peachy Keyn Cover


The album is a unique collection of original instrumental and vocal pieces, with Allison’s piano and voice leading sophisticated arrangements of upright bass, drums, and acoustic guitar. Her songs will be sure to help you smile, tap your feet, connect with your musical heartbeat, and feel Peachy Keyn.

Please join us for a very special album release concert in Detroit at the lovely home of Julie Beutel on Saturday November 22nd at 7:30pm. Allison will perform songs from her new album and we will also perform songs together as Spirits Rising. Seats are limited so email Julie at to reserve your spot!

We will also make a special appearance in Mt. Pleasant earlier on Saturday for the Ziibiwing Circle of Indigenous Arts Market and Competition from 11am-3pm. Come to hear the music and support the artists.

Let us together support the musical heartbeat that sustains us all!




Posted by on Sep 19, 2014 in newsletter | 0 comments

“I better start to love the seeds I’m sowin’, cause even if I don’t, they’re gonna keep on growing”
~May Erlewine Bernard

Breathing in the cool crisp Michigan air, I am reminded of the season that is upon us.  This transition from green September leaves into falling, swirling bursts of October colors, the transformation of flowers into seeds. The harvest is here, and provides us with a wonderful opportunity to take stock of the many mysteries and blessings at work in our lives, and to give thanks for the bounty of the season. It also gives us a chance to pull those familiar, relentless weeds and to once again turn the compost.

When I begin to give in to the fear, anxiety, or despair that is so prevalent in our media and political worlds, I need only to look into the reality of my life in the present, and see the many gifts that are there for me. When I take refuge in this deeper reality, I am able to recognize the abundance of opportunities, relationships, and sustaining connections in my life right here and now.

I reflect on the seeds of music, mindfulness, community, and love that have been cultivated and that are growing steadily. I give thanks to the many hands and hearts who have helped these seeds germinate and bear fruit. Truly I cannot do any of this alone!

I see how my relationship with Allison continues to bloom and sustain me in many ways, and how our music together is growing deeper roots. Indeed we are looking forward to several Spirits Rising performances in the upcoming weeks.

I am also excited for the release of Allison’s debut album, Peachy Keyn, which will be available for the first time at this weekend’s Earthwork Music Harvest Gathering! 

The album is so beautiful (I know I am biased but it really is!) and showcases Allison’s talents as a pianist, songwriter, singer, and creative artist. I will let you know when it is also available online. For now though, you have to come to the Earthwork Farm or a Spirits Rising show and experience the musical harvest with us in person to purchase your copy!Joe and Allie Harvest 2014

 Both Allison and I look forward to celebrating the harvest with you and your family, and with the communities that help us to cultivate love, music, and happiness in our lives. May we recognize and give thanks for the true abundance available to us in this moment. 

Happy Harvest!



The Water is Wide

Posted by on Aug 20, 2014 in newsletter | 0 comments

“The water is wide, I cannot cross over, and neither have I wings to fly. Give me a boat that can carry two, and both shall row – my love and I.”
~The Water is Wide, as sung by Pete Seeger

I knew it had been raining all day but I wasn’t prepared for the extreme flooding that took place in southeast Michigan this past Monday night. As I left the American Indian Health Center in southwest Detroit and drove to stay with my good friends Janet and Cindy in that same part of the city, I quickly understood that this was no ordinary rainstorm.

I had to turn my car around and adjust my route as I realized that an underpass I was approaching had become a lake, with water up to the windshield of several cars. Streets turned to rivers and basements were transformed into holding ponds. Freeways were closed and cars were stranded.

As I ventured into the watery street with Janet to try and clear out the storm drains in front of her home (they were clear by the way, there was just no where for the water to go), I was surprised to see that the water reached up to my knees.

The downpour was torrential, powerful, beautiful, and dangerous. Truly water has the power to give and sustain life and also to take it away. Thankfully Allison and I and my generous friends Janet and Cindy are just fine. I pray for those who have not been so fortunate, that they may find the help and support of friends, family, and strangers in their time of need.

Although I do not want to read too much into it, I find the symbolism of this flood profound. Many poor residents of the city have been experiencing water shutoffs recently due to unpaid bills. The city water department has faced intense criticism for these harsh actions, and has temporarily put a hold on the shutoffs. Yet many in the city remain without water, one of the essential needs for all people and for all living beings.

Monday’s storm reminded me that there is a greater power in control here, a Great Mystery that does not discriminate based on money. When it rains, it rains on everyone and everything. The water is a right and responsibility of all of us. This storm reminds me that we are all deeply connected and interconnected, and that we need to respect the water as well as one another’s basic human needs.

Tomorrow (Thursday) I have the privilege of being able to sing on the shore of the Detroit River as part of the wonderful childhood literacy program Reading and Rhythm on the Riverfront, sponsored by the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy. Later this month I get to return to the Detroit Zoo with the Community Gardeners for a fun evening family concert. I even get to perform in Riley Park this month!

Allison and I are gearing up for more Spirits Rising sets at Hollerfest and Harvest Gathering. (You can watch a video of our performance at Native Fest here, our set starts at 1:52:00)

I am also helping to organize An Evening of Music and Mindfulness in Ann Arbor on September 5th with many musical and spiritual friends, including some monastic students of Thich Nhat Hanh who will be visiting from New York. 
These will truly be special events and I hope that you can join us, and that we keep singing for the water, the people, and for the Great Mystery that connects us all.Love,