Community Gardeners of Peace!

Posted by on Jan 1, 2015 in newsletter | 0 comments

Reflecting on the new year that lies ahead and the year that has just passed, I feel a deep sense of gratitude for the many ways in which the Great Holy Spirit is alive and working in my life. 

I am so thankful for Allison and for the love, music, and laughter that we share. I am thankful for good friends who are there for me no matter what. I am thankful for all of the opportunities I have had to create and share music with talented musicians and supportive audiences all across Michigan and beyond. I am thankful for good health, for warmth and shelter, for healthy food to eat and clean water to drink. What a gift it is to be alive in this moment!

I am grateful for this opportunity to take stock of these many blessings and to lift myself from old habits of self-pity, fear, anxiety, and the other internal obstacles that can prevent me from enjoying happiness in the present. Thank you for helping me practice living with an attitude of gratitude!

At this time of gratitude and renewal I am also aware that violence continues to pervade our humanity. From that which is self-inflicted, to the violence that exists within families, communities, nations, and religious sects, we all know these cycles too well. We sometimes overlook the corresponding violence towards animals, plants, and the earth that is caused by our human developments. 

I also know that peace prevails in so many hearts, homes, and communities on our earth. These are the stories not usually reported in the daily news. I know that such peace is possible in every situation, even the most dire and destructive.

Within each of us are seeds of this peace. We need to be gardeners of these seeds in order for them to germinate, grow, and bloom. When our own seeds of peace are blooming, we are better able to support the growth of peace in others. We need to be Community Gardeners of Peace!

I am grateful to be part of so many communities who help me weed and water my garden of peace. I often need a lot of composting, and it is too big of a job to do alone!

The Earthwork Music Collective is one such community and I am excited to start the New Year off with a 4-city tour of Michigan’s lower peninsula with fellow Earthwork artists. The tour will feature performances from Red Tail Ring, Seth Bernard, Lindsay Lou and the Flatbellys, Joshua Davis, Dede and the Dreamers, Micah Ling, Max Lockwood, Gifts or Creatures, Sam Cooper, and yours truly. Each concert will showcase these talented artists and will also feature the power of spontaneous combustion through collaboration, some rehearsed, and some improvised.  The tour will also highlight local community organizations at each concert that help support the Earthwork mission. Each show is certain to inspire audiences to dig deep, open their hearts, smile, sing, dance, and celebrate the power of community.

Earthwork Music Collective

I am also grateful to return to the Pacific Northwest in late February and early March for another Artist in Residence program at Islandwood on Bainbridge Island, a performance at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, and a special community concert on Lopez Island. 

My fellow Community Gardeners of Peace, let us go forth into this new year in gratitude, unafraid of our ability to cultivate peace in our own hearts, in one another, and in our world.





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!