North Avenue Honey
Joanne Spies grew up in Chicago influenced by Muddy Waters, John Prine and a Sicilian grandmother who sang songs for every occasion. Her songs have a sense of place, and you will hear the north-side of Chicago as well as the windy Midwest prairie. 'Where the Prairie Begins' refers to the corner lot at North and Harlem Avenues where she grew up. A song about the millgirls from Lowell, MA in the 1850's ('Snow in Paradise') comes from reading Howard Zinn's account of their plight in 'People's History of the United States.' 'Remember My Name' was written in memory of Danny Pearl, the murdered Wall Street journalist who played in Spies' band back when he lived in the Berkshires. Songs about cryogenics ( 'Freeze My Head'), a crazy lady who keeps mice for pets (Mildred) and a countrified 'Where Did You Put That Love?' all share a common humanity. Teddy Weber on resonator guitar, lap steel, et al recently toured with the Wiyos opening for Bob Dylan and the other superb musicians joining Spies (rhymes with bees) are Marc Black, acoustic guitar, Eric Parker, drums, and Mike Esposito, bass. Spies is a singer/songwriter who uses music as a tool to understand environmental issues and empower voices for positive change. Recent works include 'Watershed Waltz,' an interactive environmental program for schools and Marmalade Productions, and 'Sounding the River,' an ongoing event that honors Mohicans, celebrates the river and brings together diverse traditions within the community. Spies specializes in songwriting with elders and Alzheimer's groups and is a recipient of a Composer Fellowship at the Millay Colony in Austerlitz, NY.