Orange leaves appear glowing and pink in the fall sunlight, reminding me of the impermanent nature of life, and of the cycle of the seasons. The earth teaches us that we are on a creative journey of spirit, and that this journey is both sacred and beautiful. This season encourages me to be fearless in the face of change, to let go of my leaves and embrace the compost, trusting in the wisdom of the forest.
I am grateful to be part of a musical forest, a collective of musicians dedicated to using their art to empower and inspire others. It is with this Earthwork Music Collective that I have the privilege of touring the lower peninsula of Michigan this November, celebrating the season with music and community. I hope you will be able to join us, to take refuge in the forest, and to enjoy the transitions of autumn.
Earthwork Musicians Take Their Vision on the Michigan Roads
The Earthwork Music collective believes in the intrinsic and historical power of music to raise both community and self-awareness and serves to facilitate and encourage original music in the state of Michigan and beyond. This November, several Earthwork artists will share this vision with audiences throughout Michigan’s lower peninsula on a 5-city tour. Starting with a concert at the Ark in Ann Arbor on Wednesday November 6th at 8pm, the tour will continue with stops in Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Lansing, and Traverse City.
The tour will feature performances from Seth and May, Lindsay Lou and the Flatbellys, darlenYa, Dede and the Dreamers, Strawberry Heritage, Joe Reilly, and Sam Cooper. Each concert will showcase these talented artists in their prime, and will also feature the power of spontaneous combustion through collaboration, some rehearsed, and some improvised. Each show is certain to inspire audiences to dig deep, open their hearts, smile, sing, dance, and celebrate the power of community.
Tour Info: www.earthworkmusic.com
A gentle breeze brought cool evening air over the Detroit river and into the crowd that had started to gather in front of the amphitheater stage. It was one of those magical Detroit nights, when the ancestral spirits seem to dance in the sky with the clouds in the moonlight.
Allison and I really wanted to see the headline act, pianist Ahmad Jamal, who was scheduled to take the stage at 9:30pm. We arrived just before 6 to get a seat at this, the largest free jazz festival in the world.
It was well worth the effort as we had the pleasure of hearing pianists Geri Allen and Danilo Perez and of witnessing the amazing vocal energy of 84-year-old Detroit-born Sheila Jordan, backed by the Alan Broadbent Trio and a local string section. We then had the thrilling privilege of being blown away by Ahmad Jamal and his incredible band.
As we sat on the river shore and soaked in the music, I realized that we were being transformed by the experience; from individuals with income levels, job titles, and racial distinctions into communities of human beings with smiles, listening ears, and beating hearts. The music called me to recognize the true nature of those around me and of this place.
There we were, in the heart of the largest municipality in the US ever to declare bankruptcy, surrounded by a deep sense of wealth. This, unfortunately, is not the kind of wealth that is usually recognized by our economy. Instead of giant corporate profits and increasing financial returns, it is the wealth of spirit, of creative energy, and of diverse community. It is a wealth that runs deep in Motown.
At the Detroit Jazz Festival everyone is welcome. People of all races, ages, and economic levels attend and enjoy listening to the music. Individual sponsors, community organizations, and corporations come together to share their resources in support of this musical celebration of humanity.
This is what jazz, and what music in general, continue to teach me; how to improvise and create something beautiful and meaningful with what you have. I wonder if we could apply this musical wisdom to our current local and national economic dilemmas. Can we somehow practice jazzonomics in Detroit, in Michigan, and beyond to better harmonize the economic disparities that plague our communities? Could we use this way of being to better blend together the dissonant voices and create a resounding and healing resonance?
The Detroit Jazz Festival is just one example of this alternate form of wealth that already exists in the Motor City. It reminds me that when we are able to reach beyond the bottom line of profit-making into a realm of supporting the common good through creativity, diversity, and the arts, we can realize that our greatest resources exist in ourselves and in those around us.
And so I continue on this musical path with the inspiration of a Detroit jazz economy and an aspiration to dig deep and share the wealth of spirit and creativity that is the music of our lives. Let us continue on this journey together joyfully.
Yours in the Music,
Breathing in I smile
Breathing out I release
April 22nd, Earth Day, 2013
From the shore of Lake Superior in Marquette, Michigan
In my experience the creative process does not usually follow a direct line. I am not ever certain what the outcome will be when I begin to write a song, when I perform, or when I start working on a new album. What I have learned from engaging in this process now for many years is that it is much more about trusting the journey than arriving at a destination.
Greyhound Bus Tour, my forthcoming album being released on May 1st on the Earthwork Music label, is all about the journey. It is a dynamic collection of songs and journal entries from my first national “tour” in 2001, when I traversed the country on Greyhound busses and shared music in parks, on street corners, subway stations, in front of the White House, in cantinas, living rooms, on the ocean shore, and wherever I had an opportunity to perform.
As I made my way around Turtle Island with my guitar, backpack, and a handful of CDs (my first album Mothers and Daughters), I began to realize that the music in me is an invitation to connect with the Great Spirit, with myself, other people, and with the earth. I started to understand this whole musical path as a Great Mystery unfolding in many beautiful ways, yet always directing me back to relationships in the present moment.
Reflective of this web of relationships, many friends have contributed their talent to this album, including Seth Bernard and May Erlewine Bernard, Rachael Davis and Dominic John Davis, Michael Shimmin, Joshua Davis, Bob Buchanan, Lesley-Anne Stone, Peace Be Free, and Will See, and engineers Ian Gorman, Glenn Brown, Shammy Dee, and Geoff Michael.
My musical sweetheart Allison Radell contributes her amazing piano and vocals to several songs on the album as well. I am very happy to also be supporting Allison as she continues work on her debut album. You can hear her works in progress on her brand new website www.allisonradell.com – check it out and let her know what you think! We will be performing a special concert on May 18th at the Ann Arbor Zen Buddhist Temple to collect donations to help fund Allison’s album.
I am very grateful to Allison and to all who have made this path possible and who continue to support my music, and I am excited to offer this new album, Greyhound Bus Tour, to you as a reflection of my love and gratitude. This is not a children’s album (yes I make “grown-ups” music too!), although it is appropriate for all ages, and I hope that it speaks to a diverse and intergenerational audience, helping us to cultivate our connections with each other and with the earth.
Pre-orders are available now through the Earthwork Music Website, and include 3 digital tracks that you can download immediately.
As with all creative projects, I cannot do it alone, and I am inviting your help in many ways. Please email me if you would like to help in one or more of the following roles:
Release Show CD Salesperson
-Volunteer to staff the merchandise table at a CD release show in Kalamazoo, Bellaire, Ann Arbor, or Detroit (concert dates listed below) and earn a free CD plus concert admission.
Social Media Warrior
-Post about an upcoming album release show on your page
-Share the tour poster on your social media pages
-Post links to the CD Baby page when album is released on May 1st
Old School Poster Team
-Print and post hard copies of posters in your workplace, on your campus, and/or in your favorite coffee shop, church, temple, food co-op, chiropractic office, or anywhere else you go!
Radio Junkie Call-a-thon
-Make a call to the following radio stations (who have the albums) and request they play a track from Greyhound Bus Tour! Make sure and thank them for supporting local independent music!
Stations in Southwest Michigan
WIDR 89.1FM Kalamazoo, 269-387-6303
WMUK 102.1FM Kalamazoo, Grassroots (Sundays at 10am), 269-387-5715
Stations in Southeast Michigan
WEMU 89.1FM Ypsilanti, Roots Music Project (Saturdays 12-2pm), 888-299-8910
WDET 101.9FM Detroit, Ann Delisi’s Essential Music (Sat. and Sun. 11am-2pm), 313-577-3415
Ann Arbor’s 107.1FM, 734-998-1071
WCBN 88.3FM Ann Arbor, 734-763-3500
Press Release Distribution
-Forward the following press release to your media contacts and friends.
For Immediate Release
May 1st, 2013, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Joe Reilly “Greyhound Bus Tour” Album Release
Singer songwriter Joe Reilly and the talented collective of Earthwork musicians take you on a journey of music and spirit in this album release concert. Breathe with them as Joe’s songs help you get rooted in all that is true and beautiful in yourself and in the world around you.
What: Joe Reilly “Greyhound Bus Tour” Album Release!
When and Where:
May 2nd, KALAMAZOO, MI
Joe Reilly Album Release with Allison Radell and special guest Elisabeth Pixley-Fink, Fire Historical and Cultural Arts Collaborative, 8pm, $10/general admission, $5/student, 1249 Portage Rd., Kalamazoo, Michigan, www.thisisfire.com
May 4th, BELLAIRE (TRAVERSE CITY), MI
7th Annual ISLAND benefit at Short’s Brewing Company, 121 Bridge Street, Bellaire, 4pm to late, $10-20 sliding scale, featuring Joe Reilly CD release party! Seth Bernard and May Erlewine, Elisabeth Pixley-Fink, DJ Martoosh and more TBA, Silent Auction of handmade goods, art, local food and donations from local businesses, www.artmeetsearth.org
May 10th, ANN ARBOR, MI
Joe Reilly Greyhound Bus Tour Album Release Concert featuring Joe Reilly with Allison Radell (piano), Seth Bernard (vocals, guitars), May Erlewine (vocals), Joshua Davis (electric piano), Marion Hayden (upright bass) and Michael Shimmin (drums), Kerrytown Concert House, 8pm, 415 N. Fourth Ave., Ann Arbor, $10/general admission, $5/student, www.kerrytownconcerthouse.com
May 11th, DETROIT, MI
Joe Reilly Greyhound Bus Tour Album Release Concert featuring Joe Reilly with Allison Radell (piano), Seth Bernard (vocals, guitars), May Erlewine (vocals), Joshua Davis (electric piano), Will See, and Michael Shimmin (drums), D. Blair Memorial Theatre (in the basement of the UU Church, enter through parking lot in rear), $5, 4605 Cass Ave., Detroit, Michigan (313) 556-1702
Joe Reilly is on a musical journey of faith and spirit. His songs touch deep reserves of compassion and joy within the hearts of his listeners, giving encouragement to others on the spiritual path and using music as a universal voice of communication and celebration beyond lines of race, age, ethnicity, and religion.
His new album, Greyhound Bus Tour, is the result of more than a decade of songwriting, traveling, listening, and seeking, and highlights Joe Reilly’s gift of bringing together diverse and talented artists, ideas, and musical styles into one voice. Combining elements of folk songs, hip-hop, and traditional Native American singing, Joe shares his true nature through the interconnectedness and synergy that shines through in this musical mosaic.
Greyhound Bus Tour features some of Michigan’s finest musicians including Seth Bernard (vocals and guitars) and May Erlewine (vocals and piano), Joshua Davis (electric piano), Michael Shimmin (drums and percussion), Allison Radell (piano), Dominic John Davis (acoustic and electric basses), and Rachael Davis (vocals). Also featured are two Michigan-based hip-hop MCs, Will See and Peace Be Free.
This album gets its name and title track from Joe’s very first national tour, traveled aboard Greyhound buses in the summer of 2001 from Detroit to New York to Washington DC and on to Atlanta, Texas, San Diego, San Francisco, and British Columbia and back home to Michigan. Joe carried his guitar and backpack as he traversed the country on the bus, stopping to stay with friends and share his music wherever he could, including street corners, subway stations, parks, in front of the White House, on the shores of both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, in coffee shops, cantinas, and community centers, living rooms, and open mics.
This bold challenge to the universe was met with the loving support and encouragement of friends, family, and strangers, and has since grown into an evolving career that continues to take Joe around the country, sharing his music with a diversity of listeners all along the way.
Come aboard this wonderful journey. All you need is a willingness to listen with open ears, mind, and heart. Lay back and let go!
-Once you have a copy of the album, write a review on iTunes or CD Baby.