So we conclude the series on my most inspirational kindred spirits!

Part 1: Arvo Pärt, Steve Roach, Jack or Jive, Lucette Bourdin.
Part 2: Tingstad & Rumbel, Sequentia, Robert Rich.
Part 3: Steve Brand, David Hykes, Pat Metheny.
Part 4: Yes, Dirk Serries, Alio Die.
Part 5: Dead Can Dance, Byron Metcalf, Max Corbacho.

Loreena McKennittLoreena McKennitt

Loreena has been a major inspiration for decades, ever since I discovered her delightful 1991 album The Visit. That inspiration goes beyond her joyous, heart-stirring music, and beyond her exemplary integrity – which enabled her to dictate terms to a major record label when it approached her. The quality that sets Loreena apart, for me, which illuminates every project and every communication, is best described as “grace,” and her example makes me aspire more to this quality.

The Visit embodies Loreena’s view of inspiration as a gift that comes from outside, for which we must be prepared. Her restless quest to trace the lineage of what we call “Celtic” music has led her to Eastern Europe, North Africa, and the Silk Road.

Loreena’s 1994 gem The Mask and Mirror is an uplifting, heart-opening journey, culminating in one of my desert-island songs, “The Dark Night of the Soul,” based on the ecstatic verses of St. John of the Cross. That song alone is enough to signify her as a kindred spirit, though of course there is so much more.

Her Toronto concerts in 1994, 1997 and 2007 remain lifetime high points, and her Nights From the Alhambra concert video is an absolute joy.

Jeff Pearce

I had the pleasure of meeting “Gentleman Jeff” when I opened for him at the Gatherings Concert Series in Philadelphia PA in October 2017. It was his sixth appearance there.

I’ve been a fan of Jeff’s ever since discovering his landmark album To the Shores of Heaven, one of Jeff’s important releases on the Hypnos label. He has been a crucial guitar inspiration for me from the beginning, and is one of those I thanked for it in my White Island album credits.

Mark Seelig

Mark is one of the nicest folks you could hope to encounter, one of our wonderful circle of friends in Arizona and California, among whom one always feels at home.

Mark’s album Disciple is a joyous raga-based journey, and his collaborations with Steve Roach, Byron Metcalf, Loren Nerell and Sam Rosenthal map out some important terrain in the tribal-organic-ambient field. Mark’s voice and flute playing simply cut away from the mundane and straight to essentials.

Like Byron, Mark is a shamanic practitioner and guide. Another brother whom I hope to meet soon.

[Fine print: No approval of any content in this series by any of the artists named therein should be inferred, without their explicit statement.]