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MP3 Joe Peters - Pilgrimage

Original, contemporary folk music with a conscience that features melodic harmonies and acoustic musicianship: the music of inner peace.

14 MP3 Songs in this album (51:06) !
Related styles: FOLK: Modern Folk, FOLK: Gentle

People who are interested in Cat Stevens Donovan Crosby, Stills & Nash should consider this download.

Singer/songwriter Joe Peters grew up in the American Midwest during the turbulent times of the 1960s and 70s, and his songs hearken back to a time when the youth of the planet sought the experience of peace, love and adventure and expressed this search in their music. Through his own music, Joe hopes to rekindle in others that spark of the seeker of truth on a spiritual journey that was awakened in him long ago by the songs of introspective artists like Cat Stevens, Donovan, The Moody Blues, Neil Young and John Prine.

Shortly after high school, Joe was attracted to the wisdom of the oriental philosophies of Buddhism and Taoism, eventually living for a couple years in Taiwan and China. These early adventures of living overseas set him and his wife, Dai, on a life course of study, travel and work abroad, including living and working in Vietnam for over seven years. Many of these influences and experiences show up in his songs.

Joe Peters’ responses to questions posed by Bloomington Songwriters Showcase

1. Where are you from, and when did you first notice you ''were different from the other kids?'' When did you begin writing music?

I am a Hoosier by birth, and grew up outside Kokomo. As a senior in high school, I saw the TV show Kung Fu, and immediately identified with the character played by David Carradine, the Shaolin monk banished to the US from China. I eventually studied eastern religions, languages and literatures at Indiana University in the 70s.

My fascination with things Asian continues to this day, leading me to Indonesia in 1996 when I wrote my first song (“Sunrise at Bromo” on the album Given Birth recorded in 1998 with Michael Kelsey as the joedai warriors) about an ascent up a volcano on the island of Java. I wrote dozens of songs in the weeks that followed, and have been writing on and off ever since.

2. When your friends tell you who you sound like; who do they say that is?

Though I am sure that most original music is somehow derivative, friends don’t often tell me I sound like anyone in particular, since my music is fairly diverse, though a fair number have told me that my music reminds them of Cat Stevens, which is not surprising as Cat’s music probably had the greatest effect on me as a young man. Some friends have compared my writing and sound to Bruce Cockburn, the prolific, and political, singer-songwriter from Canada, which is also not surprising since we both often write about life in remote corners of the world. People who listen to the two albums I have recorded with Michael Kelsey, of course, say the CDs sound like Michael Kelsey (duh!). But Michael, at turns on the two albums, can sound like Clapton, Santana, or Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits fame.

3. What music did you really enjoy listening to as a child growing up? What are your favorite writers in today''s music scene? What are your musical influences?

My father used to listen to The Brother’s Four, The New Christy Minstrels and other folk artists, and I loved the harmonies, even if I found the lyrics often corny. But from the moment I heard Cat Steven’s Tea for the Tillerman, Jethro Tull’s Aqualung, the Moody Blues’ A Question of Balance and Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon in the early 70s, I have been drawn to introspective music that gives insight into the songwriter, and yet resonates with my own life experience. It doesn’t matter whether it is folk, or rock, or some other genre like Celtic or world music in general. The lyrics are often important, but some music is so lyrical it doesn’t need intelligible lyrics.

My favorite writers have varied over the years, in an accumulative fashion, from Cat Stevens to John Prine and Neil Young, to Donovan (especially 1996’s Sutras) and David Gilmour (Pink Floyd), to Johnny Clegg from South Africa and Loreena McKennitt from Canada. These days, I mostly listen to singer-songwriters from Indiana like Tim Grimm, Michael Kelsey, Linda Hicks and Scott Greeson, or those who come to town to play a show (Lafayette’s music coop Friends of Bob brings many great singer-songwriters to the area), like James McMurtry, Stacey Earle and Mark Stuart and many others.

My musical influences are as diverse as the music I write, including all of the above. Most are in the folk, rock, Celtic and world music genres.

4. Do you get support from your friends and family with your ''music habit'' or do you find you meet with resistance on a personal level to do what you must do - or is a combination of both?

I have had nothing but support from friends and family from the very beginning, when I first picked up my mother’s guitar in the late 60s. In fact, because of my wife’s support these days, I don’t need a day job, and can spend much of my time writing, making and recording music.

5. What instruments do you play, and which one(s) do you prefer to use when writing music?

I mostly play acoustic steel six-string guitar, and do almost all of my writing on an acoustic guitar, whether steel string or nylon-string classical guitar. But I used to play electric guitar in the 70s, and have played banjo, mandolin and bass at various times. I played guitar and mandolin for four years in a Celtic band in Hanoi, Vietnam.

6. Please list any awards, accomplishments, CD names, bands that you''ve participated in or are presently a member of and anything else you might want to know about you if you were in the audience and had never heard your music before.

I am an adjunct professor of natural resources management at Grand Valley State University in Michigan, and so a recurrent theme in my music is Nature and Humankind’s relation to it. But my undergraduate degree is in eastern religions, and thus accounts for another recurring theme in my music. I have served in the Peace Corps in Ecuador, did my Ph.D. research in Madagascar, and subsequently worked throughout Southeast Asia the past ten years; much of my songwriting revolves around encounters and themes from life overseas living and working in remote places with poor people.

My songs have been featured in church services in West Lafayette, Indiana and Dayton, Ohio, modern dances have been choreographed to a couple of my songs, and my music is regularly featured on WBAA’s Local Music Show in West Lafayette.

My discography includes:

1998 Given Birth by the joedai warriors (with Michael Kelsey)

1998 Collective Works from White River (with five other Indiana singer-songwriters)

2003 Over the Ocean by The Social Weevils (traditional and contemporary Celtic music)

2004 Rebirth by the joedai warriors (with Michael Kelsey)

2008 Red, Black & Blue by Joe Peters & Friends (on Scott Greeson’s Hoosier Surf label)

2008 Pilgrimage by Joe Peters (all acoustic with Michael Lewis, Linda Hicks & others)

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