photograph from New Year retreat walk – credit Ha


Untitled design


Release of my first album More The Love That’s Given/ Foxx’s Frequency January Playlists/ Sharings through the year (this month depression) and Oak Tree Film/Contemplations on whiteness.




Many thanks to friends who came to mark the release of More The love That’s Given in December – it was a lovely evening with many friends and many instruments, many stories; it felt good.

The album (and acoustic version) is on now Spotify, a stream of the full album is also available here on Youtube thanks to Canadian music angel Mr Foxx’s Frequency 🙂 and the album has it’s own page here – with stories of the songs and…

an invitation to share…


Started last year I would like to continue to invite stories of the songs to collect together here. My wish is to do one a month through this year starting with ‘depression’ the theme of the album’s opening song Be Still.

If you feel you can share please send me a note through the contact page and we can see together how best to do it. It would appear here with your name or anonymously.


January playlists and a live video from aforementioned Foxx’s Frequency  featuring a couple of songs from the album, Lay Down and There’s A Place alongside many other songwriters from around the world. Click through to find many songs I have been touched by in the last few weeks – and Oak Tree.

thank you my friends Josh Donaldson (for the idea) and Will Saunders for helping film on the day for Josh’s project Concious Film Company
This is ‘Oak Tree’ and song about loving trees in all their beauty and awesomeness!
Its also about ecology and our relationship to nature: in the words of Thich Nhat Hanh, a buddhist monk who many of you know I love,
‘We need to change our way of thinking and seeing things. We need to realise that the Earth is not just our environment. The Earth is not something outside of us. Breathing with mindfulness and contemplating your body, you realise that you are the Earth. You realise that your consciousness is also the consciousness of the Earth. Look around you–what you see is not your environment, it is you.
When we can truly see and understand the Earth, love is born in our hearts. We feel connected. That is the meaning of love: to be at one’
good quote isn’t it ?!

and lastly I’ll be returning to All Saints Community Church in January to begin recording new songs.

I have 4 which I plan to do first:

Listen To Women/Young Colours/This Skin and Oh Friends.

3 are written and one, This Skin, is being written. This is about whiteness, having white skin and the history tied into that and how that’s playing out in the world now – my reading into this subject has been the below books and podcasts – I wonder if others have also been reading and if so would like to share?


In many ways a concerning start to 2020; may you find peace and loving strength in your own ways as we begin the new year




Eula Biss — Let’s Talk About Whiteness

john a. powell — Opening to the Question of Belonging


Depression sharing


Thank you for coming by the depression and stillness sharing, the writing of Be Still is explained above; a story of a friend who took time out to find peace in an emotionally challenging time. Statistics on depression and anxiety show how in this country we are currently at an all time high, (a little under 1 in 10). My feeling is that stopping (stillness) and sharing about experiences together brings so much understanding and is a way to a better kinder society.  If you’d like to add your sharing you can send me a note in the contact page; named, anonymous, written, recorded or filmed and I’ll add it below.

love, Joe

Alice, London 

volunteer with The Samaritans, emotional support helpline

Robbie, London

my friend Robbie, a songwriter, shares a song, 

Hi Joe,
here’s a song about depression – if I recall (can’t quite remember, I guess this must be around 2009-10ish?), I wrote the lyrics as a poem and then set them to music. I’m speaking to myself in the 3rd person about moving through/away from depression and my relationship to those experiences.
I also just had a new Mini Korg with nice sounds on it so really got into playing around with that!
Here’s the lyrics below.


You wanted to stay, you wanted to run

You wanted to feel it, so come, come, come

Comforting grey, catapulting away

Catastophies may stay, may stay, stay

We count through the week, we count through the day

We count all these moments when you’re going our way

You wanted to run, you wanted to stay

You only ever wanted to play, play, play

But you started to fade, fading away

You wouldn’t believe the things you used to say

All vision is blurred, with fire and word

And need to be faithful to all we observed


With daylight streetlamps all starting to glow

We couldn’t have known where they wanted to go

Waiting for night, they’re still waiting to hold

And waiting to feel what it’s like to be old

Oceans apart, and moments away

And satellites breeding as they float astray

Stand at the beach, stand at the start

And stand at the temple, and stand your steep heart


Colus, in Greece

I read the Guardian UK website newspaper and found this article to share with you,
thank you for the idea –  ‘What is depression and why is ir rising ‘

October and November



“Colorful demonstrations and weekend marches are vital but alone are not powerful enough to stop wars. Wars will be stopped only when soldiers refuse to fight, when workers refuse to load weapons onto ships and aircraft, when people boycott the economic outposts of Empire that are strung across the globe. ”
Arundhati Roy,

Extinction Rebellion October uprising in London/ 2 songs live recording from the London Social Arts Festival/ interviews with American Buddhist abbot and Anthropologist Joan Halifax and environmental activist and author Charles Eisensteen/ and preparations for the release of my first album ‘More The Love That’s Given’

I chose the above quote from Roy’s ‘Public Power in The Age Of Empire’ to share the spirit, as I felt it, of the October Uprising in London, 2 weeks of demonstrations for action on the previously declared climate emergency. My experience is here in an interview featured in ‘Humans of XR’ a project to collect voices of those involved; including teachers, doctors, scientists, grandparents, faith leaders and more.

‘I came along this morning with my placard and a decision to take part in some kind of arrestable action. And just at the moment I came to Trafalgar Square, this hearse beside me was driven in, and people locked on to it from the inside and people locked on to it from the front. And the thought welled up in me, I’m going to lie down with these people. Here’s the moment. So I’ve been lying here for the last 8 hours.

I’ve never been arrested before. It’s not that I want to be arrested, it’s more I feel compelled to do it. The more I’ve been to Extinction Rebellion legal trainings, and heard people’s experiences of being arrested, I’ve felt: ‘I can do that. That’s something I’m willing to do.’ I have privilege to be able to lie here – when so many people in the world dare not protest for fear of harm or because they’re just surviving.

I could have just stood here with my sign and some people might have read it. But I know that since I’ve been taking action by lying down here in the road, many more people are reading my sign and taking photos. This action is symbolic, too – of stopping business as usual. There are poor people around the world being affected by business as usual: the investment in fossil fuels continues, there’s massive amounts of wealth being accumulated by relatively few people, while many poor people around the world are just surviving, because of natural disasters linked to those investments. I just don’t think it’s OK. And I’m here stopping the traffic, stopping the flow of London to show my concern.

I’ve considered a lot of things, lying here for the past 8 hours. The predominant thing is the love that is in human beings. When I arrived I had my waterproofs and some water but now: I’m wearing a hat, gloves, wrapped in a blanket, on a tarpaulin, and a hot water bottle under my back. All of that has come from different people throughout the day. Ten minutes hasn’t passed without someone saying: ‘are you OK, can I get you anything?’ And saying thank you. The community within Extinction Rebellion has been amazing, but also lots of other communities of people – it’s a massive effort by so many people from so many walks of life.’

Joe, singer songwriter, interviewed while lying near a Trafalgar Square road blockade created by a hearse with people locked on inside and outside


and a short interview with Dr Gail Bradbrooke, one of the founders.

An emotional 2 weeks, especially with the difficulties experienced by demonstrators and commuters in Canning Town (you may have seen footage of activists being pulled from a tube carriage by angry members of the public) My personal response in divisive  moments like this is to breathe as deeply as I can and try and understand it from both sides: I was saddened to see the violence and also saddened that the action went ahead in an area of London where many people live in lower income areas; representing much more those struggling from the inequality, an inequality that many believe is a root cause of our situation.  From within XR (a bit) it may be of interest to know that a poll was circulated on the action and a large majority said to not do the action. Passions are high and I’m glad no one was seriously hurt.


2 songs from The London Social Arts Festival. Held at the cosy Lodge space, a community arts venue in East London curator Joanna Puchala and friends bring together this annual event to to give to voice to artists engaging in social themes in different ways through D

dance, story, spoken word, song and more.

Profits from the event went to Black Women Rising a charity set up by Leane Pero community dance advocate and mentor supporting BAME women in arts and business.

Oak Tree and Lay Down with sharings about ecology and migration.


2 interviews featuring my music to share from my friend Phil’s podcast series. Phil is preparing to launch a site collecting interviews over the years with artists and writers including Sam Smith, Anoushka Shankar, Ziggy Marley and Ram Dass –

Soundcloud link here

here are 2, one with Buddhist Abbot and anthropologist Joan Halifax talking about her book of earlier this year ‘Standing On The Edge’; life as an abbot and work within the hospice movement.


and Environmentalist Charles Eisenstein, talking about current work and new book ‘Climate, A New Story’.

charles eisenstein_0



At the time of writing, I’m just bringing together the recordings and artwork for my first album, ‘More The Love That’s Given’, if I don’t send this out before it’s up, it may come with a second mail introducing the album!

I’ll leave it there for now 🙂

with kind regards





More The Love That’s Given


Screen Shot 2019-11-29 at 20.25.30


Welcome to More The Love That’s Given

the reason for name is shared in the 3rd playlist: ‘So Around’

love Joe

Untitled design.jpg

For a copy of More The Love That's Given artwork

More The Love That’s Given (Acoustic)

At the encouragement of friends I have recorded the album also just with guitar and voice.


More The Love That’s Given (sharings)

The themes of each of the songs are spoken about here in a collection of conversations I had during the time of recording the album, thanks to all who took part.

You may have come to album looking for my cover of IDLES Danny Nedelko, played on BBC6 Music Tom Robinson and (Tom in for) Steve Lamaq. I’m glad to send you an mp3/wav of the song if you wish, and I encourage you to visit IDLES page and All is Love fan page, they are a band taking on social issues with heart and power!

For the sharing pages click here. new ones will be added as I collect stories, please send anything through the ‘contact’ page’






Thank you to the friends who played on these recodings:

(l-r) Sophie Lowedahl and Jon Ryan (violins), Tim Monkey (drums), Sergio Costa (Bass), Nick Kenrick (Sax), Andy Hall (Trumpet), Jill Ryan (Melodian, Walter/Wilma Glaubitt (Harmonica), Sophie Grunmayer (Oboe), Naomi Haigh (Cello), Manu Farenzena (Piano/vocals), Tom Pughe (French Horn),  Max West (Flute), Tom Manwell (Piano),


Further Acknowledgements

To my family and all friends who have in different ways inspired and encouraged me to continue writing and playing,

To Tom Robinson (BBC6) Sarah Gosling and David White (BBC Introducing) Mr Foxx’s Frequency and Steffi at Find A Song for support and encouragement.

To Chris and Brian at Chris Graham Mastering for their sound knowledge, experience and love

I would also like to make mention to Elaine and the crew of the Penlee Lifeboat in Penzance who, this time 5 years ago rescued me floating on my board out in Mount’s Bay in Cornwall and supporting me and my family during and afterward, your love and courage is with me every day.

Joe Holtaway and family say thank you to Penlee RNLI crew


I would also like to mention Stephanie, who appears in the sharing on homelessness above that goes with A Thousand Hands. Stephanie passed away since the recording was made and is always with me in spirit.x

Untitled design copy

August and September


Community lessons of love and overwhelm with Plum Village, Southwark Day Centre for Asylum Seekers and Extinction Rebellion. Songs at the Arms Fair. My Danny Nedelko cover  from BBC6 Fresh on the Net evening with thanks to Naomi Cello and thoughts about a sharing space on immigration, and to close 4 song EP for Canadian Music channel MrFoxx’s Frequency


(top left fire sharing at Plum Village, top right Extinction Rebellion demos, bottom the SDCAS Garden)

We just had the warmest Summer in London ever recorded and I come to Autumn with mixed feelings about the changes. The cooler evenings and mornings remind me of balance; sun and now shade, heat and rain – a trust in the balance of the seasons, at the same time I know people are suffering with the changes where they are more extreme. The International Organisation of Migration predict 200 million Climate Refugees by 2050, something that ceases to lessen in impact each time I read it or quote it; I have a heavy sadness in my heart that feels important to acknowledge.

Climate refugees aren’t yet recognised though as current trends show, with temperatures  rising and natural disasters increasing, I pray/wish/actively hope that they will be.

And as they do may more places be created like The Southwark Day Centre for Asylum seekers (SDCAS) ; I started giving 2 hour on a Tuesday morning to the SDCAS garden project, an allotment associated with the Centre- we meet there, do dome gardening, drink tea, I have been known to take my guitar and sing a few songs (!) then we return to the centre in a nearby church to have lunch together some 50 or 60 Asylum seekers. No one is tuned away, everyone is fed, offered legal advice, English classes, art therapy, story therapy, free clothes and company – I felt like writing about this because of the sense of peace there, the love and sharing amid the post-trauma of their journeys, there are smiles. I can take anyone to the garden who lives I London, there are also other centres around the city/world offering the same I’m sure, I’d love to hear about others.



This Summer also saw the 2019 Wake Up Earth retreat, in Plum Village (first picture) where I volunteered and played, many friends who read will know about the village anyway, for those that don’t, Plum Village is the monastic and lay community of the Buddhist Monk and peace author Thich Nhat Hanh, set up in the 80s as a mindfulness practice centre, where visitors become part of life there, learn the teachings of peaceful and engaged living.

I was drawn to Thich Nhat Hanh’s teachings by his stories of being a young monk during the Vietnam war, creating projects of restoration, helping to rebuild villages damaged by the war and how a part of doing that was to maintain guided meditation practice and silence as a way of keeping peace in himself and his friends/volunteers, work that was later marked with a friendship and Nobel peace prize nomination by Martin Luther King.

Feels like its time for a song 🙂  – this is an acoustic version of a song inspired by a mediation Thich Nhat Hanh gave to his volunteers about finding a island within yourself, a peaceful place. I’m recording this at the moment with friends Manu (Piano/vocal) Max (Flute) Tom (Horns) and Sergio (bass) I may have that to share in the next post

and a talk and QandA given during the retreat explaining more about the teachings.

Extinction rebellion

At the time of writing, I’m anticipating some actions with the next Extinction Rebellion October events.

As a community, a network, XR manage I feel to hold the enormity of what could be true about climate change and the importance anyway of creativity and love.

Some find fault with their disruptive tactics, overselling the drama of Climate Change and being a largely white movement, insensitive to implicit racism, outlined in this Guardian Article.

I found myself talking with a friend recently giving my feelings saying , that while I just don’t know enough about the truth of the climate issue to comment (I’m not a scientist or a researcher) I feel from the association I’ve had that XR is training people how to be in community, how to live on less and how to develop ways of being together to listen and give each other the support when they need it, something I am fully in solidarity with.

Friends of colour, in and out of XR hold similar concerns about the whiteness of the movement and this is something I wish to learn more about from their experiences.

After some contemplating these last few weeks I decided too become arrestable this time so watch this space. There are many who can’t protest and being a white European man in a system where people of colour are disproportionately (negatively) affected by police violence and in a world where violence to women is also sadly so present  if I feel compelled – I’m not sure how I’ll put this into words yet but anyone interested in a conversation I’d welcome that.

For anyone new  XR (Extinction Rebellion) heres an about link  

and an introductory article in the New York Times


Arms Fair

On the other side of London, earlier this month the Arms Fair again came again.

This film explains it and includes an interview with Andrew Smith from Campaign Against The Arms Trade and below, an old spiritual Down By The Riverside at the police lines outside the fair.


There is much to read on militarisation –

but I felt like posting this article from the Quakers that resonates in my heart.

quoting from the piece:

War represents our failure to resolve our differences by peaceful and amicable means; any ethos which supports it has no place in our society.

– Paul Parker, Recording Clerk, Quakers in Britain


My sincere love to friend Naomi Kate here who was in London last month on the evening of my BB6 Community evening at the Jackson Lane Arts Centre. Here’s the song we closed with IDLES Danny Nedelko and write up on the event.

Danny Nedelko is a song about immigration, how so many among the population of the UK are ‘beautiful immigrants’ I’m interested in some way about writing on this more in my sharing pages, if you have thoughts please let me know.

Thanks all there for a beautiful evening.


So glad to welcome Foxx Frequency back from a break.

Back in late July just after my last post FF put out this ep of 4 of my songs (including studio recording of Danny Nedelko with Sophie Lowendalh on violin) ,

love to hear how you are always

Love Joe

upcoming events


photograph from last years SHIFT Festival in Stroud


Alongside the recordings in my journal pages I have recently released an ep of songs ahead of an album. You can visit here to stream and download.

Please don’t let money be a concern. Feel free to pass through the donation screen with my blessing if you would like to download any songs and have no means to donate.

Any donations will go to my recording and traveling fund – thank you.