Summer Sweetness

Posted by on Sep 3, 2015 in newsletter | 0 comments

The gentle humming of cicadas swells and diminishes above the backdrop of crickets steadily chirping. Tomatoes are ripening and weighing heavy on the vines. Asters and goldenrods paint the fields purple and yellow. Meteor showers create heavenly light shows in the night skies. Songs are sung on river shores, at outdoor festivals, and around glowing campfires. Humid air as thick as molasses slows us down enough to be able to notice the moment of the season.

I always love this time of year, perhaps because I was born in late August, even though childhood excitement for my birthday was often mixed with the trepidation of returning to school.

Gratefully my school years are over and I can simply enjoy the sweetness of summer in the season’s final month. There are many wonderful musical fruits that are ripening from the year’s labors, and I am excited to share them with you, my community of supporters and friends.

Over the coming weeks I will participate in two of my favorite music festivals – both which happen to take place on farms – Hollerfest last weekend in Brooklyn, Michigan and the Earthwork Harvest Gathering later this month in Lake City, Michigan. Allison and I will perform together as Spirits Rising in each of these festivals and I will also perform children’s music sets.

Allison and I designed a new website for Spirits Rising,, which allows you to stream our songs for free! Give them a listen and let us know what you think.

I am continuing to work on Diversity, one of two new children’s albums in production. In light of the many disturbing examples of persistent racial prejudice and hatred in our country, I am approaching this album with a renewed sense of purpose. It is my hope that these songs will help open the minds and hearts of young people in ways that encourage them to recognize their common humanity and interconnections with those who are different from themselves.

I also have the wonderful opportunity to participate in a concert on September 11th in New York City for Thich Nhat Hanh, Zen spiritual teacher and peacemaker who continues to recover from a stroke that occurred last fall. I am excited to be part of this concert and to share my music as an offering for peace and healing for Thich Nhat Hanh, for our country, and for the world.

I am grateful for the happy harvest that is happening and for the grace to be able to receive the season’s bounty. Let’s enjoy this finale of summer!


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.


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!