Sound & Spirit
Occasional Posts from Our Directors
Welcome to our new Spotlight Series. In this inaugural edition we highlight the exceptional folk singer and songwriter, Joe Jencks who will be performing at the UU Meetinghouse in Amherst, MA on Sunday, March 13 at 3:00 pm.
“The key to the future is people joining in. The music of Joe Jencks captures this essential spirit. Joe is a fantastic singer who carries on the traditions.”
~ Pete Seeger
Joe Jencks is an 22-year veteran of the international folk circuit, an award-winning songwriter, and celebrated vocalist based in Chicago. Merging conservatory training with his Irish roots and working-class upbringing, Joe delivers engaged musical narratives filled with heart, soul, groove and grit. Having penned several #1 Folksongs including the ever-relevant Lady of The Harbor, Jencks is also co-founder of the harmony trio, Brother Sun. From Festivals like Falcon Ridge, Kerrville, Mariposa, and Old Songs, to venues like Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall, Jencks has enthralled diverse audiences with his approachable style. Joe is noted for his unique merging of musical beauty, social consciousness, and spiritual exploration. Blending well-crafted instrumentals and vivid songwriting, Jencks serves it all up with a lyric baritone voice that has the edgy richness of a good sea-salt caramel.
Joe’s most recent solo CD – The Forgotten: Recovered Treasures From The Pen of Si Kahn - contains 14 previously unrecorded songs from American Folk legend, Si Kahn. Joe recorded the CD in Canada, with famed producer Ken Whiteley, and the collection of songs represents a return to Joe’s more traditional Folk roots in both theme and musical styles. Celebrating the lost legends of hard working people from New England textile mills to Appalachian coal mining towns, from the Civil Rights movement to forgotten industrial towns in the Midwest. The Forgotten shines a welcome light on the lives of people whose experiences still need to be told and remembered.
Jencks’ 2017 release – Poets, Philosophers, Workers, & Wanderers debuted as the #1 CD on the International Folk DJ Chart, also garnering recognition for #1 Song and #1 Artist. Additionally the recording spent eight weeks as the #1 CD on Sirius XM Radio’s Americana Chart. With arrangements that blend sparse acoustic performances with Copeland-like orchestral tapestries, and encompass Celtic, Blues, and Traditional Folk styles, this CD reflects the depth of Joe’s musical knowledge and diversity of influences. In addition, guest artists including: Ysaye Barnwell (Sweet Honey In The Rock), Cathy Fink, Harpeth Rising, Tret Fure, Reggie Harris, Edie Carey, Jon Carroll and many more. This long awaited collection of songs represents Joe’s finest work to date, both as a vocalist and as a songwriter.
Having penned several #1 Folksongs including the ever-relevant “Lady of The Harbor,” Jencks has become a fan favorite throughout North America. Co-founder and a vocal arranger for the harmony trio Brother Sun, Joe is also in demand as an arranger with over 30 appearances as a guest vocalist on various studio recordings.
From coffeehouses to Carnegie Hall, Jencks has made a mark on the American music scene, singing and telling stories that educate, illuminate, and uplift. For more information on recordings and concerts, please visit: www.joejencks.com
Robert Bowler ("Beau") founded Halcyon Arts to continue doing what he loves, presenting cultural and educational programs in world music and spirituality. He majored in Religious Studies at Reed College with a focus on the western mystical tradition. He earned an M.Div. degree from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California (after a year at Oxford University studying Theology) and is an ordained Unitarian Universalist minister.