Joe Jencks


Singing Through The Hard Times...

Singing Through The Hard Times

Joe w/ Billy Bragg at the 2017 Folk Alliance Conference in Kansas City, MO.  

Dear Friends,

I hope this finds you well. In times that try the soul, we have always relied on music to pull us through. Utah Phillips used to sing a song called "Singing Through The Hard Times." I have always found making music in community is a great way to reconnect with what is good and hopeful. It is a wondrous way to reach beyond the present moment into what is eternally good about gathering together and sharing time and space. In short " concerts where music is shared and the audience sings " feel like the best part of church to me.

Bernice Johnson Reagon " of the Freedom Singers and Sweet Honey In The Rock (and I paraphrase) says that a song cannot merely be sung " it needs to be raised up by community. And in so doing " when we sing together " we connect with the power of our own breath. And when we breathe together we begin to break down the walls of separation and really notice that we are on a journey together. And when we give ourselves into the moment of collective breath and song " something is transformed and healed. I could not agree more.

In that spirit - I am pleased to be on the road this week with two dear friends and colleagues, Si Kahn and Maria Dunn. We had a wonderful show in Rochester, NY last night hosted by the Golden Link Folk Singing Society " and MANY thanks to Janice Hanson and all the volunteers for a quick redirect when weather incapacitated our original venue. A wonderful night of music and community!

Tonight we three will be in Vooheesville, NY performing for Old Songs Concert Series. Si and I will be back at the Old Songs Festival in June " so this is a little preview. Thanks to Andy, Bill AJ and all the folks making these concerts happen!

Saturday night " we will be offering a concert for the Walkabout Clearwater Coffee House in White Plains, NY. It is always a pleasure to work with this auspicious organization and their fine crew.  And Sunday " our good friend Debra Chesman and Valley Folk in Corning, NY will host us for an afternoon concert. On Monday " Si and I will travel to Barre, VT for a concert at The Old Labor Hall. Thanks to one and all for hosting us!

Next week " I will be flying solo with some great concerts for the Princeton Folk Music Society, the New Haven Folk Consortium, and then back to New York for an appearance on Bound For Glory, in Ithaca.

On March 26th - I will be performing for the Blue Boat Cafe and leading services for the DuPage Unitarian Universalist Church in Naperville. The full tour schedule can be found on

I had a wonderful visit with Billy Bragg at the Folk Alliance Conference last month " and I will share more about that in the next newsletter. But I'll leave you with a quote from Billy that really struck a chord within me. He said, "The enemy is not conservatism, the enemy is not liberalism. The enemy is cynicism. It is our job to remain engaged and not let cynicism lead to apathy." In short - it is our job to take back hopefulness. Singing always helps me do that. I hope it does for you too!  

See you soon!

In Gratitude & Song…

-Joe Jencks