such an honor to hear Sarah Lee Guthrie & Hoping Machine sing my song at the Climate March in DC!


new CD available on band camp click on cover image below to download tracks

new CD available on band camp          click on cover image below to download tracks

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Creative Spirit : Come to the Fair November 22nd

Many connections were made at the BFWW Creative Spirit was great to meet other writers and see their work in print....
  christmas cat / j.spies

See you there! Stop by my table to visit and hear my new CD. 
Am looking forward to seeing over fifty vendors and a fabulous array of creativity.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

soft shoe boom event October 24th

Come to a silent auction and soft shoe surprise performance
starting at 7:00 
Friday, October 24th
at the Whitney Center for the Arts
Pittsfield, MA
to support dance programs
in Nairobi, Kenya

with tap artist and founder Stefanie Weber at Whitney Gallery

to bid on my piece below and other soft shoe boom art:
"They Dance for Rain" by J. Spies 

Monday, August 17, 2015

Thanks to all who joined in the dance at the Rockwell Museum  ~
It was a joy to launch my CD 'Ecstatic Dances' on
their grounds by the river.

Elemental Songs Concert at Knesset Israel Monday, August 24th

What happens when we notice our everyday rhythms and their connection to the elements? JoAnne Spies will offer some possibilities when she shares songs, poems, and stories from her own work and other traditions that honor earth, air, water, fire and ether.
Spies has been leading songwriting workshops that focus on writing as a conversation or a ‘turning with' the elements, inviting the audience to participate in rhythm and sound experiences that build community.
Knesset Israel  concert and talk begins @10:45am.
16 Colt Road ~ Pittsfield, MA ~ 413-445-4872

Saturday, July 11, 2015

"Ecstatic Dances" CD Launch at the Norman Rockwell Museum August 15th

I'm excited to launch my new CD "Ecstatic Dances" at the NRM.
We'll meet at the Linwood Mansion, which is located through the hedges to the left of the main building.
The event begins at 2:00pm, but come  earlier to meander by the river and enjoy the grounds.

Consider dressing as your favorite goddess, god or transgender/whole gender third deity. 

There are hundreds of deities to investigate:
For a start:
Earth Goddesses

"Ecstatic Dances" honors the elements and since making the CD it's been enlightening to study the mythology and endless number of deities who represent the elements through the ages.

Recently saw Jim Shaw at MassMoCA.
He has an installation of 4 wigs and 4 videos representing fire, air, water and earth. Fantastic!
Wish I could wear the earth wig that has giant crystals emerging at 45 degree angles from a frothy white mass of 'hair.'

Are you drawn more to earth, water, fire, air or ether?
... some combination?
We'll explore this at the CD party.

Norman Rockwell Museum
9 Route 183
Stockbridge, MA
(413) 298-4100

Thank you to Tom Daly, Laurie Norton Moffatt and staff at the museum. This innovative museum has nurtured some of my favorite performances that have involved walking or dancing from place to place.
for example:
Karaoke Confession

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Join the Elemental Orchestra Sunday, June 28th

Mount Greylock
One of my favorite places is Mt. Greylock, the highest mountain in Massachusetts. At the very top of the mountain is Bascom Lodge, a refuge from the wild wind and a cultural center offering all manner of workshops, concerts and talks.
      Did I mention dinner?  The absolute best!  One seating at 7:00pm.
      It was my good fortune to have a creative residency for a week at Bascom Lodge last year, and my recordings of wind and birdsong will be put to good use in a workshop I'm offering on June 28th.

---- 2-1.jpg (large)Elemental Songwriting with JoAnne Spies
Observing the flora, fauna and rhythms of the elements atop Mt. Greylock, we will create elemental songs that reflect our conversations with the world around us. With a focus on rhythm, writing and improvisation we will leave this workshop with the tools to deepen our connection to nature and song. Participants will have the opportunity to share their work in performance at the lodge.
3 hour workshop begins at 1:30 pm. 
Pre-registration required by June 21st.

To register contact JoAnne at: or call 413-822-6214.


If you aren't already atop the mountain, allow yourself a forty minute ride to the top from the entrance road in Lanesboro. Arrive at 5:30 for a special concert that includes all who participated in the afternoon workshop who want to share a poem or song                              

I will have rhythm instruments on hand as well as the story drum, guitar and six-string ukelele to accompany my own songs.

Looking forward to a very special day with everyone.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

CATA annual fundraiser May 16th and 17th

I've  been rehearsing my new Art Cart song with groups at Williamstown Commons and individual folks at Mount Greylock.

CATA's week-end event is a wonderful opportunity to support their work in the community and experience the awesome array of artists they serve.

Ready, Willing and Able

Writing Fire May 1st

Some folks have asked where they can download my song that is the intro and outro for over a dozen Berkshire Festival of Women Writers' videos:

Freeze My Head

Come down to the Tina Packer Theatre/Josie's Cafe at Shakespeare & Company celebrating the launch of the Writing Fire anthology on Friday, May 1st from 5:30 - 7:30.

Arrive early at this gorgeous spot and visit with the array of writers represented. I'm thrilled to have a haiku in the book.
I'll be going on at 5:30.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

an article on hunger in our backyard:

On April 11 at Simon’s Rock there is a conference on food and sustainable living at  Bard College of Simon’s Rock: “Think Food, sponsored by the newly established Center for Food Studies at Simon’s Rock and The Nutrition Center.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Book Expo

I'm excited to take part in the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers Book Expo on Sunday, March 29th from 1 - 4pm at the Crowne Plaza in Pittsfield.

My new CD   Ecstatic Dances  will be available and there will be dancing!
Music at 2pm and at 4pm.


No Kid Hungry

It's hard to believe that 1 in 5 children in America go hungry.
Writing and recording a song about mindful eating has made me more aware of the disparity between those of us who are 'eating mindfully' and those who have none.

How do we help?

Here's a great program:

The Heroine's Journey

It was an honor to play the story drum and accompany Amber Chand on her 'Heroine's Journey' at No. Six Depot where she transformed all who heard her with her riveting  performance.

Amber's performance benefited in part the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Mark Twain
Here's Mark Twain's 'Your Loving Santa Claus ' letter
 to his three-year old:      Letters of Note

Thanks to Tom Daly at the Norman Rockwell Museum for inviting me to read aloud from various letters with a Christmas twang.                    
Where else can you meet someone from East Mouseberg and read Mark Twain's letter to his daughter as Santa Claus?
So glad I also got to read the letter aloud written by the editor of the New York Sun back in 1897, Francis P. Church. I never knew exactly where the expression 'Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus' came from, and the man seated next to me in the photo above knew the story in detail. (He also wanted to rename a town in PA East Mouseberg, but that's another story...)
It's an uplifting tale to read: Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus

Francis P. Church, an estimable fellow

Happy New Year.
To paraphrase Francis Church, the most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men or women can see.