Joe Jencks



Joe Jencks is an 25-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 was 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.

“The spirit of Folk music is people working together. Joe is a fantastic singer who carries on the traditions.” ~ Pete Seeger

“If one can master a craft after investing 10,000 hours, Joe Jencks’ hours are showing! Jencks tells our stories, his story, and the untold stories, as only an American folk master can - with heart and unfettered perfection.” ~ MarySue Twohy, Program Director - SIRIUS XM Radio

In August of 2022, Jencks released his 17th recording, The Coming of the Years, an album that stands firmly in the modern Celtic traditions and is still quintessentially a Joe Jencks record. Centered around songs Jencks wrote while on tour in Ireland over a 12-year period, this album emerges as a synergistic blend of past and present merging with themes of immigration spanning multiple generations. The album was received with critical acclaim.

“A man with a golden voice who has a great feeling for history, and the role that songs play in documenting that history. The Coming of the Years, by Joe Jencks is a gorgeous record.” ~ Luka Bloom

“Gorgeous! Wherever you come from and wherever you're going, you will find yourself in the songs on Joe Jencks' The Coming of the Years. It's a page-turner of a concept album that pulls the listener through generations of the immigrant experience and extends musical hands and hearts across the ocean. Throughout, Jencks' timeless voice is deep, warm and sweet, but never saccharine. Top-shelf accompaniment and harmonies limn every detail. His new songs align perfectly with the ancient and the familiar to spin a wholly satisfying saga.” ~ Marilyn Rea Beyer, Host, "The Midnight Special" WFMT - Chicago, IL

“Interspersing his own songs inspired by visits to Ireland to explore his heritage with carefully chosen covers and traditional pieces, Joe Jencks weaves a tapestry of love, immigration, history, and Irish pride. The instrumental arrangements support the vocals tenderly, giving Jencks' deep warm voice space to bring the lyrics to the fore. The Coming of the Years is an audio treat and a history lesson.” ~ Paul Hartman, Host, "Detour” WTMD - Baltimore & Founder - Dirty Linen Magazine

“With his meticulous care, craftmanship and exquisite sensitivity, Joe Jencks has once again blessed us with a thoughtful and stunningly beautiful collection. Themed from the shaping of his own heritage, Joe in his typically generous way encourages each of us to explore and reflect on where we’ve come from. Haunting, melancholy, hopeful and heartfelt all at once, Joe’s gorgeous baritone brings new perspective to the traditional, honour and homage to those written by others, and breathes life to his originals. Goes wonderfully with either a quiet cuppa or a wee dram.” ~ Suze Casey, Artistic Director, Calgary Folk Club

“Climb inside the songs of Joe Jencks, and you meet real people. His lilting melodies and warm, caramel tenor draw us closer to the stories he tells. Jencks finds the humanness that binds us to the people in his songs!”
- Scott Alarik – Author of Revival and host of Folk Tales, WUMB, Boston, MA

“You can expect many a gifted artist to move you deeply, but Joe Jencks will change who you are.” - Angela Page – WJFF, Radio Catskill, Jefferson, NY


In addition to his performance work, Jencks' skills as a vocal harmony arranger are in demand. With over 40 appearances as a guest vocalist and arranger on various studio recordings, he brings a unique rich sound to the work of other artists.

On the stage, in the studio, or in lecture halls, Jencks applies conservatory training to contemporary genres, bridging styles and techniques. Drawing on his Irish heritage (dual U.S./Irish Citizen), Jencks uses his lyrical voice to enchant, heal, and inspire. Jencks has won numerous songwriting awards and is also highly regarded as a song interpreter. Jencks weaves a diverse web of stories with brilliant musical skill, ensnaring even the most rigid of hearts, inviting them to open. His songs invite us to live inside of our passions and our beliefs.

Joe Jencks is a member of the A.F.M. Local 1000: North American Traveling Musicians Union, NARAS, ASCAP, and the Folk Alliance International. Joe has served as a Cultural Ambassador with the U.S. State Department. In 2020 Jencks worked with The American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress to produce a "Homegrown at Home" conceert for the archives - focusing on songs from the Raiford Prison (FL) recorded by John A. & Ruby T. Lomax in 1939.

In 2010, Jencks co-founded the dynamic harmony trio Brother Sun,  with colleagues Greg Greenway and Pat Wictor. The trio performed widely throughout the United States and Canada through 2017. Brother Sun's 2016 release - "Weights & Wings" was the #1 CD for 2016 on the Folk DJ Chart, and 5 songs charted in the top 50 for the year - including Joe's composition, "Mary Don't You Weep & Moan" at #3 for the year! The trio's 2013 release "Some Part of The Truth," was the #1 album for 2013 (Folk DJ & Folk Alliance International Radio Chart), and also took #1 song for 2013 with Joe's composition: "Lady of The Harbor." Fusing, Folk, Roots, Blues, Pop, Jazz, Rock, and a cappella singing, Brother Sun was an explosion of musical diversity and harmony, in the finest of male singing traditions. For more information, please visit:


The Coming of The Years CD Folk/Celtic 2022 Turtle Bear Music
The Forgotten: Recovered Treasures from the Pen of Si Kahn
CD Folk/Social Justice 2018 Turtle Bear Music
Poets, Philosophers, Workers, & Wanderers
CD Acoustic/Singer Songwriter 2017 Turtle Bear Music

Brother Sun CD - Weights & Wings, Acoustic/Fusion - 2016 Brother Sun Music (#1 CD, #3 Song - Mary Don't You Weep & Moan) 2016 Folk DJ
Brother Sun CD - Some Part of the Truth, Acoustic/Fusion - 2013 Brother Sun Music (#1 CD, #1 Song: Lady of The Harbor) 2013 Folk DJ
Brother Sun CD - Brother Sun, Acoustic/Fusion - 2011 Brother Sun Music

Links In A Chain CD Acoustic/ Singer Songwriter 2009 Turtle Bear Music
The Candle & The Flame CD Acoustic/ Singer Songwriter 2007 Turtle Bear Music
Rise As One "Live Concert CD Folk/Labor History 2005 Turtle Bear Music
The Wonder Deep Within CD Folk/Spiritual 2004 Turtle Bear Music
I Hear Your VoiceCD Folk/Social Justice 2003 Turtle Bear Music
What Kind Of Brother CD Folk/Traditional 2000 Turtle Bear Music
The Phoenix CD Folk/Rock 1995 - Turtle Bear Music

Joe has also appeared on numerous CD Compilations including National Public Radio's "Car Talk: Born Not To Run."

Radio, Contests, & Awards

2017 #1 CD Poets, Philosophers, Workers, & Wanderers - Sirius XM / The Village - Americana Chart
2017 #1 CD Poets, Philosophers, Workers, & Wanderers (May 2017) - Folk DJ
2017 #1 Artist (May 2017) - Folk DJ
2017 #1 Song, "Let Me Sing You A Song" (May 2017) - Folk DJ

2016 #1 CD Folk DJ for 2016 - Brother Sun: Weights & Wings
2016 #3 Song for 2016 - Joe Jencks/Brother Sun: Mary Don't You Weep & Moan
2016 #1 Song - April 2016 Joe Jencks/Brother Sun: Mary Don't You Weep & Moan

2015 #1 Song - December 2015 - Joe Jencks: The Longest Night of The Year (pre-Release from: Poets, Philosophers, Workers, & Wanderers)

2013 - #1 Song of the Year - Lady of the Harbor - Folk DJ - North American Folk Music Chart/ Folk Alliance International
2013 - Brother Sun - Album of the Year - Folk DJ - North American Folk Music Chart
2011 - Brother Sun - Best of 2011 - WUMB Boston
2011 - Brother Sun - Best of 2011 - WFUV - NYC
2011 - Brother Sun - Best of 2011 - WFMT - Chicago - The Midnight Special

2008 - Kerrville Folk Festival - New Folk Finalist
2008 - Dirty Linen Magazine's Best of 2007
2007 - Falcon Ridge Folk Festival - Emerging Artist Showcase, NY
2005 - Songwriting Contest Winner - Plowshares Songwriting Competition - Phoenixville, PA
2005 - Songwriting Contest Winner - South Florida Folk Festival, Margate, FL
2004 - Songwriting Contest Winner In Two Categories - Walnut Valley Music Festival, Winfield, KS
2004 - Songwriting Contest Winner - Tumbleweed Music Festival, Richland, WA
2003 - Songwriting Contest Winner - Tumbleweed Music Festival, Richland, WA


"In these times, we need the singers who will do the homework and tell the stories! Joe Jencks is among the fine next generation singers who are ready to carry on the tradition as well as look into the future" "Holly Near, Ukiah, CA

"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

"Listen to Joe! A clear tenor voice; a heart that's in the right place, close to the skin; a sense of justice tempered by a sense of humor; and a CD that captures it all in rich tasty arrangements. How can you go wrong?"
•Charlie King, Songwriter and Performer, Shelburne Falls, MA

"The next time someone says that folk music has lost its conscience, lacks great protest songs, or has lost its connection with its causes, I will sit them down and play Joe Jencks' CD, I Hear Your Voice. Jencks sings with a superb tenor voice, and picks flashy guitar… that doesn't obscure the beauty of his voice or the words of his well-crafted songs." -Sing Out! Magazine, Rich Warren "Host of 'The Midnight Special' WFMT "FM Chicago, IL

"Joe Jencks is the type of musician that will cause you to drop that morning newspaper or pull your car to the side of the road when you hear his songs. He is the type of artist that will turn heads in his direction when he walks onto a stage. His voice will instantly draw you into his passionate songs. He is the type of musician whose music will become part of you. His craft and artistry will remind you of the best efforts of Phil Ochs, Stan Rogers, and Woody Guthrie. The troubadour tradition is alive and well in the 21st century with the music of Joe Jencks."
•Ron Olesko, WFDU "FM Teaneck, NJ

"I find that Joe embodies the spirit of Pete Seeger. In much the same way, Joe has his finger on the pulse of our grassroots social conscience, and passes it on for us to scrutinize. Every generation needs a voice for social justice and Joe Jencks is one of those very important voices." -Judy Matzen, Off the Square Concerts, Woodstock, IL

"Joe Jencks is one of the Northwest's best-not-kept secrets; a singer-songwriter with a warm, smooth, powerful voice, and memorable finely crafted songs that have something to say. He moves freely between the worlds of contemporary acoustic pop and traditional folk, alternating and combining them into a rich and satisfying musical mosaic!" "Richard Middleton, Victory Music Review, Seattle WA

Sharing The Stage With…

Pete Seeger, Holly Near, John McCutcheon, Utah Phillips, Suzy Boggus, Steve Seskin, Sweet Honey In The Rock
Susan Werner, Red Molly, Red Horse (Gorka, Kaplansky, & Gilkyson)
Greg Greenway, Pat Wictor Ollabelle Spuyten Duyvil
Peter & Bethany Yarrow Rod MacDonald Bill Staines Pat Humphries
David Roth Willie Porter Tret Fure Steve Seskin
Kim & Reggie Harris Joe Crookston John Flynn Rebel Voices
Tao Rodriguez Justin Roth Kym Tuvim Wishing Chair
Reggie Garrett Joe Glazer Brad Warren Mark Spittal
Charlie King Anne Feeney Chris Chandler Dave Nachmanoff

And many others....

Contact & Bookings
Joe Jencks
Turtle Bear Music

Web, Social Media, PR
Anna Ratliff