Oct. & Nov. Tour News + Essay: A visit from Anne Feeney and Pete Seeger...
Wednesday, October 25, 2023
11-16-23 ~ Joe Jencks in Concert at the Oak Park Library, Oak Park, IL
11-17-23 ~ Joe Jencks in Concert, The Ten Pound Fiddle, East Lancing, MI
11-18-23 ~ Joe Jencks in Concert, Benefit for The Catholic Worker, South Bend, IN
11-19-23 ~ Joe Jencks in Concert, Benefit/ St. Paul’s Community Outreach, Cleveland, OH
12-8-23 ~ Joe Jencks in Concert, Ethical Brew, Teaneck, NJ
Dear Friends in Music,
There has never been for me a greater comfort for me in times of struggle than the company of friends, shared meals, and good music. Sometimes we are lucky enough to get all three in the same evening. I had many such evenings while traveling in Ireland earlier in the fall. And I look forward to more, coming up soon.
I am on my way to Denver and Ft. Collins for my first performance trip to Colorado since before the Pandemic. I am delighted to reconnect with audiences and friends on the front range, and to return to two amazing venues/series. Friday, October 27th, (this Friday!) I will be performing at the legendary Swallow Hill Music, in the Tuft Theater. Sunday the 29th, I will be up in Ft. Collins offering a concert for Quantum Arts. Even if you are not a CO person, if you know people there, please tell them about the shows!
Next weekend I will share several performances with my beloved colleague and friend, Deidre McCalla. A gem of the women’s music circuit in the 80s and 90s, Deidre has continued to evolve and expand her music, and is one of the finest and most insightful songwriters I know. Our shared shows promise to be a deep merging of melody, harmony, cultural, and generational perspectives. We will be at Godfrey Daniels in Bethlehem, PA on Thursday Nov. 2nd. Saturday, Nov. 4th we will offer a concert for The 8th Step at Proctors Theater in Schenectady, NY. Sunday the 5th of Nov. we will be in concert at the Unitarian Universalist Society of Greater Springfield, MA. We’ll be bringing this show to The Ark in MI, Six String Concerts in OH, and Renaissance Concerts in IL in the spring. Stay tuned!
In mid-November I will be performing solo for the Ten Pound Fiddle in MI, A benefit for The Catholic Worker in South Bend, IN and a benefit for St. Paul’s community outreach in Cleveland, OH. I'll be starting that run of cincerts off with a show at the Oak Park Library on Nov. 16th.
Please read the essay below about a dream I had recently, involving the late and beloved Anne Feeney and Pete Seeger. As the veil thins and we approach Dia de Los Muertos, there are perhaps those speaking to us from beyond.
Nov. 12th and 15th, the next episode of My Highway Home will air on Folk Music Notebook. I was lucky enough to step in at the last minute for a colleague and lead a workshop at the Folk Alliance Region Midwest (FARM) conference. I also got to hear some AMAZING new music. I will share some of it with you on the next episode of my show. You can tune in online via www.folkmusicnotebook.com.
All tour dates mentioned and a few dozen more are listed on the Tours tab of my website. www.joejencks.com. Please check back as new dates are being added. If you have a venue in your region that you would like to see me play, let me know. We’ll look into it.
Wishing you all the best, and hopeful to see you out on the road at one of the shows or somewhere in between.
In Gratitude and Song,
~ Joe (10-25-23)
A Neolithic through early Bronze Age monument at Knowth (Brú na Bóinne), near Newgrange in Co. Meath, IRE.
Anne Feeney, Pete Seeger & Dia de Los Muertos
Copyright - 2023 Joe Jencks, Turtle Bear Music
I awoke one morning last week from a dream that was so real, that it took me some time to draw the delicate boundary between the waking and the dreaming worlds. In the dream, I was performing a songwriter-in-the-round concert with Anne Feeney and Pete Seeger. It was a wonderful sharing of music in community. We went the whole evening just trading songs, and singing and playing with each other as the song called for it. It was so genuinely joyful to spend an evening in the presence of these two cherished colleagues and friends.
In the dream, we were playing a concert for a Folk Music series at a Unitarian Universalist church in Cincinnati. I know it was Cincinnati, because many of my Cincinnati friends and audience were there. I could call them out by name, even now. I could see their faces, know their stories in the waking world. Toshi (Pete’s wife) was sitting in the audience as well. Every once in a while, she would look at her watch and then at Pete who was singing away, seemingly without a care in the world. And then she would settle back in, knowing Pete was in his happy place and we were going to be here for a while.
Anne, Pete, and I sang songs of peace, hope, and possibility alongside some stronger indictments of certain issues and practices. But the tone of the show was uplifting and empowering. I was so unbelievably happy to be making music again with these two power-houses of progressive Folk. And the audience was rapt, lingering on every word and melody. We sang with each other and the audience sang along. It was a perfect night of music, together.
When I awoke, I was still humming something to myself. I don’t now recall what it was. But I kept remembering moments from the evening as if it were a concert I had actually given, the night before. I got out of bed, and it was solidly 10 minutes into my day before I remembered the implausibility of this scenario. I’m the only one of the three of us in that song-swap performance who is still alive on this plain of existence. With a certain solemnity, I reconciled myself to the realities while still holding the warmth and joy of the night before.
It was all so plausible, because I was privileged to perform with Pete Seeger on several occasions. I gratefully played at least a dozen co-bill concerts with Anne Feeney. And I was on shared stages at Festivals and Social Justice events another dozen times with Anne and a few times with Pete and Anne. The whole dream was 100% plausible. Until I remembered that the price tag for joining that song circle would be high. I had a melancholy moment, remembering fondly my time in musical and activist community with both Anne Feeney and Pete Seeger. And then I set to the tasks and projects of my day.
On Dia de Los Muertos, I usually set out an ofrenda. Photos of loved ones, bits of festival and treat food, maybe a bit of something each person on the altar of memory liked in particular. I even got a bottle of Barley Wine to pour a toast to my brother Jerry on this year’s ofrenda. I just took a look at the tour schedule. It turns out that I will be home for one evening next week, and it’s Dia de Los Muertos. I will set out a photo of Anne and one of Pete, alongside those of family of origin and other friends, and play a few of their songs, just because.
It is said that on the night of Dia de Los Muertos (Samhain in the Irish Pagan traditions) that the veil that separates the spirit world from this one is at the thinnest point of the entire year. Every year I hope to feel the connection with the ancestors who have passed. Parents, my brother Jerry, dear friends, and beloved colleagues. But this year, I will be listening especially closely to see if Anne Feeney and Pete Seeger have something specific to say to me. Their visit in the dreamscape being so close to this time when the veil thins, seems meaningful. Whatever they have to say to me, sure they must have said to me a dozen of times while they were alive. I just need to listen with special care, that I might hear their wisdom one more time. I need to listen so that I remember why I was walking in their footsteps in the first place. And then share in the power of music, healing, community, and positive change bestowed by these beloved friends departed with the ones who are here now, with me on the journey.
As we approach Dia de Los Muertos, I invite the question: Whose wisdom are you missing, right now? And, how might you make room in your mind and heart and life, for them to give you a few signs of comfort and guidance?
~ Joe Jencks
A midwest autumn sunset... reflected off the roof of my car. ~ JJ