Photo by Anna Sink/Local Spins

Samuel Seth Bernard

Born and raised on Earthwork Farm in rural northern Michigan, Seth Bernard was brought up in the folk and farmstead culture with an enriching integrative experience of the arts, agriculture, and community. In 2001, Seth founded Earthwork Music, a Michigan-based collective of independent musicians who focus their efforts on environmental advocacy, social justice, creative empowerment and community building. As the Artistic Director of “The Quest”, Seth has partnered with SEEDS, the Library of Congress and the National Parks Service to bring experiential arts and ecological education to children in Northern Michigan in after-school programs and summer camps. As the Director of the Musical Ambassador Program for On the Ground, Seth has helped cultivate partnerships and cultural exchanges between communities in southern Mexico, Ethiopia and eastern Congo and communities in Michigan with a focus on direct collaboration between youth. Seth is on staff at Interlochen Arts Academy for the summer high school singer songwriter program and presents assemblies at schools across Michigan through On Stage 4 Kids. Seth is a NMEAC Environmentalist of the Year Award winner for Arts Education and serves on the Crosshatch Art Team, advocating for artists and farmers. Seth is a prolific songwriter, a pragmatic performer, a multiple Jammie award-winning recording artist and producer, and has been a longtime leader and steward of Michigan’s music community.

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"I know that the future of music is in good hands with people like Seth around to be its caretaker. More importantly, I know the future of our world is in good hands."
-Greg Brown, Folk Legend
This music not only swings, rocks, and grooves--it matters. It's the voice of a real community, with a sound and a message the world needs to hear.
-Bill McKibben, Author, environmentalist, journalist
Review of Seth's 2016 release, "Eggtones for Peace":
Eggtones for Peace" was harvested from years of writing, performing, community organizing, educating, activism, and fatherhood. A sweeping, vibrant sonic adventure, the album is just as poignant and moving as it is groovy and fun. Each song creates it's own lush world. Bernard's enormous heart and deep spirit shine brightly through dense layers of electronic sounds and organic acoustic performances - the intersection of the natural and the artificial. It's celestial. It's a powerful expression of a life long quest, a companion to life's journey that new fans and old fans alike will revel in. It is art for the times when we need it most.
-Dan Rickabus, Michigan Musician, Michigan musician
Review of Seth's 2016 release, "Eggtones for Peace":
Getting to work in the studio with Samuel Seth Bernard ("Eggs") is one of the great joys of my life. He's a visionary, an experimental and genre-less creator boldly opening his heart and mind for the world to see. I'm honored to get to ride shotgun on his interstellar roadtrips for the ears and soul.

Eggtones started to grow quietly, in the background of other albums we'd work on. Stray tracks, experiments that didn't quite fit their projects, lone wolves and brainstorms. Over time, Seth found the unifying threads between the pieces, and we started crafting something cohesive and intentional from it. Writing new songs, re-arranging, exploring, and finding focus. Bringing in the voices of our heroes and our community, both literally and figuratively. Since then, it's grown into multiple-album project of dozens of tunes, plus many variations, demos and alternate versions. Seth's Eggtones are an epic statement of peace, social justice, sustainability, love and loss.

Last night, we finished mixing the first installment, Eggtones For Peace, and announced pre-order for both the album and the entire collection. Please join us. Eggtones for you, eggtones for love, eggtones for us.
-Ian Gorman, La Luna Recording and Sound
Review of Seth's 2014 release, "Reconciliation & the Mystical Beyonda":
If you are aware of the richness that the Michigan music community has to offer, then you have surely heard the name Seth Bernard. Amongst the many roles that Seth takes on in his pursuit of life through music, his ability to craft a song that strikes through the core of humanity is one of his most magnificent, indeed. He is an activist; a community organizer; a husband and first time father; a friend to so many; a leader; a philosopher...

The collection of songs featured on his new release, "Reconciliation and the Mystical Beyonda," capture the essence of life and the eternal flow of the circle in which all life resides. Like in Beyond the Beyonda: "...I looked out over the vast expanse, and I could sense your essence..." or in Fire Pig: "'s never gonna' be the same again, it's changin'". Seth has an intuitive capability of reshaping the negative elements of perception and turning them around to feature the potential for positivity; the power of possibility.

With the release of "Reconciliation and Beyond the Beyonda", Seth gives us new life. The album is timelessness through the passing of an hourglass, with each grain and ounce of energy in these tracks breathing volumes of hope in abundance through the soil of our community. Dig in and breathe deep folks, these tracks are sure to bring out the best in you!
-Mark Lavengood, Michigan musician
Review of Seth's 2014 release, "Reconciliation & the Mystical Beyonda":
"Reconciliation & the Mystical Beyonda" the new album from Seth Bernard, is a unique, masterful display of intentional songwriting and layered instrumentation, transcending genre, that one has the opportunity to experience but a handful of moments in a lifetime. Full of a retro modernity born from a folk tradition, each song builds upon the next. Song after song is an instant classic. Taken together, it is a musical sojourn that takes you down that mystical path called life. Start walking.
-Chris Treter, Chief Instigator at Higher Grounds Trading Company & founder of On the Ground
Review of Seth's 2014 release, "Reconciliation & the Mystical Beyonda":
"Reconciliation & the Mystical Beyonda" is as clever and creative as the album's title. It should also win some sort of award for its odd-but-intriguing song titles ("Turkeys in the Rain," "Bluetooth Pillow," and "Fire Pig" are just a few examples.) The whole effort is a big step forward for the Michigan-based troubadour, though not without that sort of home-spun coziness that Seth and his Earthworks colleagues have built a reputation on.
Standout Tracks: "Turkeys in the Rain," "American Earth," "Fire Pig"
-Justin Stover, Blue Collar Songwriting
Seth Bernard has a uniquely Michigan anatomy: knee deep in glacier-folk with a belly full of whiskey and peaches smuggled from the root cellar of a '70s guitar god. Fingers resinous with fresh cut white pine, and sacred north star geometries whirling around his brow.

Born on April Fools Day, and playing the trickster-bard every day since, he's grown from a potent young Interlochen idealist into a black-bearded surprise-eyed psych-rocker singing the woods and water, souls and soils of the Great Lakes.

The tools! He's got a pine-box-full, from his Gretsch (and the chops to play it, mister), to the many iterations of Seth-music. I mean Airborne or Aquatic, bristling with fuzz-poem arena-anthems, to Starlight Six, the madly talented hybrid of Michigan royalty (May Erlewine, Joshua Davis of Steppin' In It, Mike Shimmin of, well, everything, and the power duo of Dominic and Rachael Davis). Or he can roll solo, with a catalog of hundreds of original tunes, thousands of covers and millions of improvisational licks. And the waltzes. By god the waltzes.

And more tools: Earthwork Music Collective, Family Weekend, Harvest Gathering, The Water Festivals, On the Ground, (you gotta google this stuff, links below), youth engagement, and partnerships with dozens of local non-profits. Like a true old-school folker, he plays the songs because they mean something, and that something they mean drives a life beyond just playing songs.

His most valuable tool, though, doesn't live in that box: two good ears. Seth listens like a priest. To his audience, to his community, to his deep-rooted intuitive star-born aurora borealis campfire ancestor soul. That alone makes every show - EVERY SHOW - worth the price of admission.
-Brad Kik, co-founder of the Institute for Sustainable Living, Art and Natural Design
"Bernard's earnest delivery is appealing in its simplicity, allowing you to lose yourself in the poetry."
-Performing Songwriter
Review of Seth's 2005 release Being this Being:
"Seth Bernard's frayed balladry will melt your heart. Much like the bare-bones 'rurality' of Royal City or Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, Bernard's Being This Being is accessible without being predictable - the type of collection that reveals its gifts gradually. With their humble presentation and wistful swoon, songs like 'May's Waltz' and 'Travel' leave quite an impression, while 'Dinosaur' and '...being this being...' bask in lo-fi jingle-jangle. Good enough to dazzle Roots Radio and eccentric enough for college airwaves, Seth Bernard's intensely personal approach to folk is nothing less than astounding."
-Ryan Hoffer A&R, Shut Eye Records, Atlanta, GA
Review of Seth's 2003 release, "Constellation":
"Lake City's Seth Bernard stands at the forefront of a talented crop of up-and-coing Michigan songwriters; and his brand new CD 'Constellation' features a fair number of them, including Rachael Davis, Dan Kahn, Josh Davis and Jen Sygit. But Bernard's is a talent that's likely to defy any 'local by' categorization. He's a wordmonger of the first order - playful, exuberant, smart and original - with a musical sophistication beyond his years. 'Constellations' 11 tracks segue seamlessly, giving the impression of spontaneity, belying the meticulous craft involved. His plaintive voice and witty, even cutting lyrics may remind listeners of Loudon Wainwright III without the despair. Album highlights include the anthemic 'Hello Fellow Travelers,' a charmingly goofy love song 'Eliza's,' and the remarkable 'Sari Brown,' with the lines 'and the world may steal your smile for a while/and pain will come from loving, but everything is reason to sing...' There's an ace crew of players aboard, too, including longtime saxman Cesar Alvarez, keyboard wiz Mike Lynch (The Lash, Larry McCray Band), all four of the Steppin' In It boys and prizewinning Ann Arbor fiddler Jeremy Kittel."
-Chris Rietz for the Lansing State Journal

"As an editor of many books on music, a question I am often asked is: 'Are there any singer/songwriters on the way up out there, as good as the great communicators of the past, like perhaps a young Woody Guthrie?' Until now I never really had much of anyone to suggest. However, a young Michigan musician/entertainer/storyteller, Seth Bernard is more than just a minor talent. He is a singer, a songwriter, and also a true entertainer whose music and broad vision is not only felt by an audience, but will also in time, I predict, embrace more than a few other hardened so-called music critics and experts, like myself. Bernard is a rare bird, an authentic communicator with the right idea for these times. Give him a listen. By all means, see him in person."
-Michael Erlewine, Founder of the All-Music Guide
"Seth Bernard wields an acoustic guitar, a powerful stage presence and a fiercely contagious spirit... Thought-provoking, compassionate, funny songs backed up by agile picking."
-The Ark
"Deft picking and a voice filled with innocence and candor are his hallmarks. And then there's the poetry, '...born into a culture of entertainment addicts, our lives have become unconsciously cinematic.'"
-Hobart Taylor, Crazy Wisdom Music
"A cool breath of fresh, jazzy folk from the north country."
-Ann Arbor Current


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