Brothers and Sisters of the Soul - Available Now!

Brothers and Sisters of the Soul is a series of "Musical Portraits" created from the summer of 2011 to the summer of 2012, while I was on the road across the country on the "Kneeling To Kiss The Ground" Tour. We have a wide range of folks being represented here - in all I interviewed over thirty people in the making of these pieces, brothers, sisters, daughters, sons, wives, husbands - all connected as we are through various soul-bonds, and thus the name. 

The downloads are available below or in the store.

Inside The Blue Ocean ~ An Anchor That Rings Like A Bell ( For Gary )

In Loveland, CO, I did a house concert for a wonderful family and their friends, and afterwards the mother of the family commissioned a piece for her husband, opening up an amazing journey of discovery for me, as I spoke with children and step-children in this remarkable blended family to learn about him. The whole process was so remarkable and I found him to be such an amazing presence in everyone's lives that I conceived a piece that felt like it came from inside the ocean and reminded me of an anchor, as he does, who has spread such loving reverberations all around him...

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Calling Her...Deja

This Musical Portrait was commissioned as gift from a man who attended a concert in Sacramento which was hosted by his sweetheart, asa Christmas gift for her. I was able to speak with her, and as it turned out, significantly, her daughter. A woman with a very dramatic, almost movie-like journey through life, her story seemed to evoke her name itself, as if someone was calling her, and the melody for this piece derived from that idea. Later Deja shared with me the mystical events leading up to her naming, which involved a sense of the name being “called in”. One of the most memorable and magical of the creative journeys I have taken to bring in music for someone.

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Ground Song ~ A Blessing For Debbie

This piece was the fortunate gift of a group of parents of a Waldorf School, to the teacher of their children for the first eight grades of their education. It was a surprise, so I had to draw on the insight of some of the parents, a good friend, and her son, to get a picture of her. A groundedness was there for her, I could tell that, but especially a depth borne of having carried herself with grace through some difficult times. What came though was not only the sense of that rootedness, but also the blessing that she embodies in her offering to the children she teaches and cares for – and the result is a piece I count as one of my most favorite of all the portraits.

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Jerry, Through The Sunlight, In The Sugar Pines

This piece was commissioned to celebrate the life of a man who was one of the most significant contributors to the Northern California Park System in it's history. I was fortunate to meet him before his passing, and play for him, which was in itself a memorable experience. I learned more of his life though his brother, his daughter and one of his buddies from high school. What I learned amazed me – a being with such versatility, integrity, industry, kindness and love of animals and life that I began to think he was cut out of some cloth that simply is not found anywhere anymore. As I was bringing this piece in, I saw him, in my mind's eye, in a forest of sugar pines, his favorite tree, and felt the sense of his jubilation and spirit coming through the music.

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What Keeps Lifting Her (For Barbara)

This piece is a gift from an older sister to her younger sister, as a birthday present. As it turned out, it was more of a Christmas present, because I was attempting to put it together while traveling on the way back from North Carolina to Washington State in the fall of 2011. I was able to talk to both of the sisters, and what especially struck me in my conversation with Barbara was an expression she made about her “shaking her fist at God”, a feeling she was carrying as a result of disappointments in her life, but what felt remarkable about this to me was the spirit with which she said this, as if God, Himself had engaged her in a wrestling match and she might actually be winning! There was an exuberance in her that led me to draw in music that both drank from the sorrow of her life, but also deeply drank from her strength, or whatever the mysterious thing is that “keeps lifting her”.

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Our Wish For You (For Edwin)

The story of this piece turned out to be deeply personal to the two sisters who commissioned it as a gift for their father. It is probably enough to say that in creating this music I was attempting to bind elements of the strength of their father with some of the unspoken feelings of his two daughters. A strong melody combines with the tenderness of two little ones, early in their lives, and the meeting of these themes brings in the depth of their wish for him. I don't know how these things happen, but I feel especially privileged to have been able to create this piece for them.

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How Those Two Souls Traveled Down That Good Road ( For Cindy and Jeff )

The woman who commissioned this portrait attended a concert in the little town of Chariton, IA, and was inspired to have a piece created to commemorate her beloved husband, who had passed away a year earlier in an untimely accident. Aw I got to know their story, I began to see that they had a very rare love that was deeply satisfying for both of them. The piece was intended to evoke the love they shared, and the play between them, their rhythms and ways creating a tenderness that could still be felt palpably, and I hope, comes through in the music.

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In Praise of the Mountain Presence ( For Brita )

This piece was commissioned by the woman herself, someone I count as a friend, whom I have been privileged to get to know over a stretch of time, but whose particular raw relatedness and special sense of truth-seeking was striking to me from the very first days of our meeting. Brita goes all out, allows her whole self to be felt, and the permission I took in the creation of this piece was to bring in elements and energies I do not often get to mix into the brew of my work. I pulled out some stops, and what came through was a rhythmic and melodic landscape that I deeply enjoy, every time I hear it, and every time I play it.

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Sarita's Song ~ From The Center Of The Sun

This piece was commissioned as a gift from a man I met in West Reading, PA, for his beloved wife. They were my hosts while I was there, and I was truly blessed with their friendship, so that the proposition of creating something to celebrate his love for her was a very special honor for me. It is actually impossible to put into words the richness of this relationship, so I am glad I got to attempt to put it into music. The feeling of it derived not only from the beautiful intensity of their connection, but also from an amazing poem that Linda ( Sarita) had written some time earlier, expressing her life that she shared with me. More than most I have ver seen, this poem really captured something essential about her that was a big inspiration for the music that came through.

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The Ship of Jameela Approaches The New World

This piece was commissioned by a man who attended a concert in Fairfield, IA for a woman who has been uniquely special in his life, as a gift, and my discovery of her was based both on a conversation with him, and also with her. I met her in her home outside of Washington, DC, and I was struck not just by her story, but her presence. A Sufi teacher, Jameela felt to me like a being who was arriving, had arrived in a new and somehow evanescent place in her life – the image of a ship coming into a new world came to me as I was creating the music, and thus the name. I recorded the piece in Western Massachusetts at the home of my sister, and the birds there in the summertime made a contribution to this recording.

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