Joe Jencks

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Joe Jencks ~ Tour News (NC, TX, ON) + Essay: Like Water In The Desert

Joe Jencks nbspTour News NC TX ON nbspEssay Like Water In The Desert

Joe Jencks  playing an electric bouzouki - built by Bayard Blain. Photo by Bunny Moreau.


Dear Friends in Music,

I hope this finds you well. I have been on the road pretty much non-stop since late April. And it has been an amazing year. I will continue at this pace until the 3rd week in December. And what a joy to make music again with friends and colleagues, and to give concerts again in some of my favorite music halls and theaters. The last 5 months have taken me all over the U.S., Canada, and Ireland. It’s good to be back in the world. And the new CD, The Coming of the Years, continues to do well on Folk Charts across North America! (https://www.joejencks.com/cds/f/Joe_Jencks_Solo/3276)

This week, I am psyched to share two concerts with my incredibly talented colleague and friend Crys Matthews. We will be in Wilmington, NC on October 15th and in Durham, NC on October 16th. Even if you are not in the area, please consider sending friends to see us! Crys and I shared a show on January 6th at Caffe Lena. It was magical. And I look forward to sharing more music with her. She is as fine a folksinger and songwriter as I have known. The real deal, and not to be missed.

I’m off to Texas after that for four concerts on a solo tour leg, and then to Ontario for four shared concerts with my dear friend, road warrior, and solidarity sister Maria Dunn. Maria just won a JUNO for her latest album, Joyful Banner Blazing. YAY, Maria!

This Wednesday (10-12-22) at Noon ET you can tune into my radio show, My Highway Home (on Folk Music Notebook www.folkmusicnotebook.com) and listen to my interview with singer and songwriter Edie Carey as we talk in depth about her new album, The Veil.

Last but not least, please note the essay below: Like Water In The Desert.
It’s for you.

I hope to see you soon at a show out on the road!

In Gratitude and Song,

~ Joe Jencks

10-15 ~ Joe Jencks & Crys Matthews in Concert - UU Wilmington, NC
10-16 ~ Joe Jencks & Crys Matthews in Concert - Eno River UU – Durham, NC
10-21 ~ Joe Jencks in Concert – Kessler Park United Methodist - Dallas, TX
10-22 ~ Joe Jencks in Concert – Fritz House Concerts – Houston, TX
10-23 ~ Joe Jencks in Concert - Arhaven House Concerts (near) Austin, TX
10-24 ~ Joe Jencks in Concert - Sun City Limits – Sun City, TX
10-27 ~ Joe Jencks & Maria Dunn - Whole Village Concerts – Orangeville, ON
10-28 ~ Joe Jencks & Maria Dunn - Stonecroft Concerts – Ingersoll, ON
10-29 ~ Joe Jencks & Maria Dunn – Concerts at The Registry, Kitchener, ON
10-30 ~ Joe Jencks & Maria Dunn in Concert – Neighbourhood UU, Toronto, ON
Schedules change – please check for detailed listings at: www.joejencks.com


Like Water in The Desert


So, I’m sitting in a Toyota dealership in Albuquerque, NM. I am there for a long time. Unlike my small-town dealership where the service department is very quick and communicative, this place is a corporate juggernaut. I’m here for an oil change, but also because a vehicle half a mile ahead of me was driving with an unsecured load and dropped some things on I-25 North, at 75 miles an hour. I saw cars ahead swerving. But at dusk, in a rainstorm, in a desert, at 75 miles an hour, I decided to stay the course. Swerving could easily have put me into a slide. The combination of dust, car-drippings on pavement, and rain in the desert can be lethal. An experienced driver knows this. And, there were vehicles coming up from behind on either side of me. Where could I go?

I rolled over something. Firewood? A small propane tank, a small cooler? Not sure. But I hit it straight on; it rolled under the car, lifting the vehicle a little as it did and then I was back on the ground. Still moving at highway speeds in traffic. I looked in the rearview mirror. There were cars all over the road. Some off to the side with headlights askance, a couple in fender benders. It seemed like it could have been worse all around. And as I assessed the damage, I could tell there was nothing obviously mechanically wrong with my car. The engine was doing OK. No warning lights came on, the tires were rolling, and I thanked my lucky stars for the forbearance to recognize that even when we are surprised or scared, sometimes the safest course is still straight ahead.

You learn driving in snow country that many nasty situations can be managed by resisting the urge to slow down or speed up, or change direction swiftly. You just roll and time slows down. You roll and bring all of your awareness into the moment. If a course change is required, you determine in fractions of a second how incremental that change can be and still affect the needed outcome. Driving in the desert when it is raining is a lot like that. Velocity is not necessarily the enemy, but abrupt alterations in course or velocity are.

It has been an amazing year! Getting back on the road has been good. But not easy. I have played some marvelous festivals, concerts, and camps this year. I released a new album that is being well received by fans and DJs alike, toured in Ireland and Canada and across the U.S., I’ve given some compelling performances for LIVE audiences, and reconnected with colleagues and community in a beautiful way. It could not be better.

But, it is harder that it was 3 years ago. My instrument cases feel heavier, the drives seem longer, strange beds are harder to get used to. The faster pace of life on the road after two years of moving at a more measured and perhaps sustainable pace requires stamina. And there were people in the world 3 years ago who are not here now. I feel that sadness everywhere I go as I learn of yet more people who died during the pandemic.

And still there are the AMAZING people I get to meet and with whom I am privileged to be in relationship. Whether it is for an evening or a lifetime, the connections to people are what I have missed the most, and what keeps me on the road. If I am honest, that has always been the case. And like water in the desert, to reconnect with dear friends and colleagues along with making new friends and fans, this is lifeblood in a parched environment.

In the last 5 months, I have been dodging a bad back and some mysterious inflammation in my body, likely related to having had Covid-19 twice in the last 3 years. I now am dealing with a car that is limping a bit too (though nothing a good body shop can’t fix). The temptation is to make a swift course correction. But I think the bumps and snags are like the object I rolled over on I-25. They are temporary concerns if handled well, but the road is infinite. And so is the capacity for love, curiosity, wonder, and connection.

Driving across the great plains a few weeks ago, I marveled at just how much wide-open space there is. Room to breathe and think deeply. Traveling through the mountains, canyons, the caldera of an ancient volcano, through a petrified forest now covered with Saguaro, I see the marvels of nature. Watching a triple rainbow from the side of Mount Lemmon with my best childhood friend, sharing meals and memories, making new friends along the way, this is what keeps me on the road.

I love music, and I will be in service to music for this and perhaps many other lifetimes. But it is people who make it possible. It is people who are the story behind the songs, It is good people like you who sustained me when the bottom dropped out of the reality we knew. And it is good people like you who are showing up again in concert halls and coffeehouse series all over. Your enthusiasm for the music, your kindness, and your commitment to live music are like water in the desert. You are life. We are life for each other. What a beautiful thing. No need for any radical course corrections here. We are on a good path, together.

~ Joe Jencks (10-11-22)



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updated: 1 month ago