About Joe

Joe’s Bios: Choose your favorite or mix and match!

General bio
Joe Reilly is a singer, songwriter, social worker, and educator from Michigan who writes songs from his heart. Joe’s songs are playful, clever, engaging, joyful, and always have something meaningful to say. The core of his message is an invitation to heal our relationships with our selves, with each other, and with the earth. Joe uses his music to bring people together and build community across lines of race, class, gender, ethnicity, religion, age, and nationality. Joe is Italian, Irish, and Native American (Cherokee) and was raised in Kalamazoo, Michigan in a creative household by musical parents who encouraged him to find his own voice. Joe loves to inspire others to do the same and to water seeds of compassion, joy, wisdom, and peace in our collective consciousness through the sharing of his music. Joe has recorded eight albums of his music, including three children’s albums of environmental and community songs, Children of the Earth (2007), Let’s Go Outside (2011), and The Circle (2016). Children of the Earth was featured on National Public Radio’s Living On Earth program in 2008. In 2011 Joe was selected as the official troubadour for National Get Outdoors Day.

Joe and his sister Teresa circa 1982

Kids bio
Do you love music and nature? So does Joe Reilly! Joe loves nature so much that he writes songs and sings about it, and he hopes that you and your family will sing along too. But don’t just sing along, get up and move! Dance and allow yourself to become the animals, plants, and water in the songs. Can you hop like a frog, flap your wings like a turkey vulture, or make a face like a dinosaur? Joe is very happy when kids can sing together about the things they love. Joe would really like for us all to take good care of ourselves, each other, and the earth. He hopes that you too will be inspired to make music and write your own songs so that he can someday come and hear you perform. Rock on!

Educational bio
Joe Reilly is a singer, songwriter, social worker, and environmental educator whose way of working with children is empowering, inspiring, and educational. Offering interactive musical programs for students grades K-6 that teach ecology, environmental science, diversity, and inclusiveness, Joe makes learning fun for all ages! In addition to performing in dozens of schools throughout Michigan’s lower and upper peninsulas, Joe has performed for children and families at the Leslie Science and Nature Center in Ann Arbor, the Kalamazoo Valley Museum, and the Detroit Institute of Arts, as well as many venues in other states. Joe has been an artist-in-residence at the Islandwood School in Bainbridge Island, Washington (2011-2019), the Michigan Alliance for Environmental and Outdoor Education Conference (2010, 2011), and the Great Lakes Bioneers Traverse City (2010) and Detroit (2011) Conferences.

Spiritual bio
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 religion. Joe was raised Catholic and currently studies and practices progressive Catholicism, Native American spirituality, and engaged Buddhism. Joe has been a student of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh since 2004 and is often found singing and writing songs on spiritual retreats. Reflective of the diverse traditions that guide his path, Joe has brought his music into Ba’hai, Buddhist, and Jewish Temples, Catholic, Methodist, Unity, and Unitarian Churches, and many Native American gatherings and ceremonies.

Burrito Bio
Joe Reilly loves burritos. Joe’s favorite animal is a monkey. Joe loves bright colors and sweet treats. Being vegetarian, Joe also enjoys all forms of fake meat, especially on burritos. Joe began writing songs as a way to cope with the boredom of calculus class and with the awkwardness of being an adolescent human. Successfully growing into the adult phase of his life cycle, Joe continues to use music not only as a healthy coping mechanism, but also as a way to eat more and more burritos in a diversity of settings.

Nature bio
“If I could be any tree, an oak is what I’d be.”

~Joe Reilly

Deep roots, regenerative after fire, slow-growing, and long-lived, Joe Reilly aspires to emulate the wise oaks that line the streets of Ann Arbor, aka Treetown, where Joe resides. He recognizes that he does not write his songs alone, but that the water of the Great Lakes, the nutrients of Michigan soils, and the rhythms of the Midwestern seasons all support him in his creative vocation. When you listen to Joe’s songs, you not only hear all of these natural influences but you also gain an experience of walking along a well-worn forest path that opens up to a beautiful Lake Michigan shoreline. Welcome to the musical ecosystem of Joe Reilly, where all species are respected and celebrated for the special and important role they play in holding together the inextricable interconnection of life.