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 the past six years. Many of these experiences surface in the songs on the independent CD release, “JOEDAI WARRIORS/”Given Birth,” a collaboration between Joe and local musical genius, Michael Kelsey, winner of the 2004 Guitar Center’s national “Guitarmageddon” competition for best unsigned guitarist in America (check it out at www.michaelkelsey.com)!
“Given Birth,” like the follow-up "Rebirth," tread the musical territory between folk and rock, with some tracks in the mellow mood and others in over-drive. The songs on the CD are brought to life by the musical and technical artistry of collaborator Michael Kelsey. Fellow Indiana native Kelsey is well known throughout the Hoosier state and elsewhere across the nation for his distinctive style of aggressive/progressive acoustic guitar playing. With four independent CDs of his own, and a new DVD, Michael leaves audiences spellbound wherever he plays. On both albums Michael plays acoustic, electric and bass guitars, banjo, mandolin, keyboards, and percussion, and sings harmony vocals. He also engineered and mixed the entire productions.
The CD opener, “Malagasy Memories,” chronicles two years of life with villagers in the rainforests of Madagascar while helping to establish a new national park. This song is influenced by the rhythms of South African pop music by artists like Johnny Clegg. “The Sorrow of War” is a lament about the Vietnam War written from the Vietnamese perspective of civil war, and ends with a refrain from Neil Young’s “Ohio” (Joe and Dai lived in Vietnam for nearly eight years, where they pursued their life’s work trying to help villagers improve their livelihoods). The rock anthem-like “Sunrise at Bromo,” which closes the CD, describes a midnight trek to the top of an active volcano on the island of Java while living in Indonesia. The comical “Driving Indonesian” needs no explanation, except that encounters with the diversity of life and situations around the globe are often amusing, sometimes tragic, and nearly always engaging.