Wall in the Desert & Juneteenth

Greetings! We hope you and your loved ones are safe and well.

Your responses to our last email moved us deeply. Our profound thanks to all who got in touch. Your emails were glimmers of light in these foggy days, when short- and long-term plans fall apart, and we’re all learning to live with uncertainty.

One of our sidelined efforts was the release of Joël’s EP Wall in the Desertwhich went into national distribution just as the pandemic hit. Somehow, it didn’t feel right to ask for your attention when we were all just beginning to negotiate a world suddenly and profoundly changed. 

Recent events have once again shaken us as a nation. James Baldwin said, “Nothing can be changed until it is faced.” We’ve faced these things before, but something feels different this time, as more and more are finding it difficult to look away. The great outpouring of citizen engagement has given us hope that change for the better is possible.

On Friday, we commemorate Juneteenth with a unique opportunity to utilize music in support of two organizations dedicated to justice and humanitarian work. We invite you to purchase Wall in the Desert this Friday, June 19th, from Bandcamp, who will be donating their revenue share of all music sales that day to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. (As always, our artists’ share from this project will go to the Interfaith Welcome Coalition.) You can choose your donation amount. Buy it for yourself, or send it as a gift. We’ll send you a reminder email on Friday, but if you can’t make it on that day, please buy/donate at any time.

If recent events have you struggling financially, please go to Bandcamp and download Wall in the Desert free; we want you to have it, no matter what. Later, when you’re back on your feet, perhaps you will consider donating directly to the Interfaith Welcome Coalition, where Bett has been volunteering on the advocacy committee.

Visit www.wallinthedesert.com to hear KRTU’s Kory Cook interview Bett about Joël’s inspiration for the project and IWC co-chair Mary Grace Ketner about the organization’s compassionate humanitarian work. Read Jasmina Wellinghoff’s interview with Joël in Arts Alive San Antonio here.

We wish you a Happy Father’s Day, full of love and music. We wish you health, safety, inspiration, clarity, and purpose as we navigate these turbulent waters together.


Add Yours →

Bett and Joel,
I have been thinking of you a lot lately. I hope you’re doing well. Your music has always lifted me up with its inspirational message of hope and its wonderful honesty and beauty. We are all inspired as much as we can be and seek inspiration where we can find it. Chance, or karma, or whatever you want to call it, gives us the opportunities and we must embrace them. All of it, even the thorns that exact a bloody price for the magnificent perfume of the wild rose, has some value. I dreamed of that day when I taught the writing class at your collective down there. The feedback I got from the students was that they were not so impressed with my shenanigans but really enjoyed experiencing a real time interview with a musical artists. You were so generous to do that for me, Bett, and I thank you so much. I learned a lot about you from the really interesting questions that the writers asked. I wish I had taped the exchange. At any rate, stay well and be happy. I am doing my best.
Love and deepest empathy,
John Swenson

John, thank you for this beautiful message. You are a dear friend and a great writer, and your love for music and musicians inspires and sustains us. Thank you for all your years of toil telling the story of how music gets made; our signed copy of NEW ATLANTIS holds a treasured place in our library. (And the feedback I got from students at that writing class was that they were extremely impressed with you indeed! :-)) Please stay safe––may we all get through this briar patch in one piece––and please keep in touch. Much love from both of us.

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