Digging Deeper: Gentle and sparse, Bernard does a lot with a little on “Let Love Light the Way.” He employs mostly acoustic guitar with a few drum machines and subtle melodic layers. The song structures, writing style and instrumentals are all spot-on. If any critique could be made, it’s only that on a few of the tracks the acoustic guitars can sound a bit dry, longing for a little more warmth and resonance. Everything else fits like a well-loved leather boot and the record is a cohesive, intimate listen that provokes a thoughtful response to its heartfelt calls to action.
Get it via Earthwork Music
Thank you Northern Express!! Honored to have my new record included and featured on the cover of this year’s local music issue!
“Wake up, keep waking up/The sunrise won’t be denied.” Those words are the foundation to “Keep Waking Up,” the optimistic opener from northern Michigan singer-songwriter Seth Bernard’s new album, Let Love Light the Way. It’s a comforting message in a year where getting out of bed has meant re-entering a world that seems to be stuck in a constant cloud of upheaval and crisis. Then again, Bernard — an activist who has spent years using music as a tool for education, social justice, and transformational societal change — has a tendency to see the best in things that others might look upon more grimly. Let Love Light the Way exudes the warmth and uplift of unshakable optimism, even amidst its quiet, gingerly melodic acoustic folk songs. It’s music made for rainy days and troubled times, and since we seem to be dealing with plenty of both in 2020, it might be just the record you need most right now.” -Craig Manning
Get it via Earthwork Music
Music has made all the difference in my life. It powers movements, it can spark personal and cultural transformation and it can make a tough day a whole lot better. I’ve been a dedicated music maker since I started my first rock and roll band in 1996 and began a regenerative personal practice of filling cassette tapes with my musical ideas.
I’ve been a professional musician since 2001 when I started Earthwork Music, a Michigan-based collective of artists dedicated to building community through collaborative and cooperative means. The years have taken me across North America and abroad many times, sharing music and working with communities on social change. I’ve made more than a dozen solo albums and many more records as a producer, multi-instrumentalist, and co-conspirator with various projects. I have been dedicated to what I have lately described as cultural work as an activist, organizer, and educator. I have collaborated with many organizations and individuals over the years and have had many wonderful mentors and mentees. I started the Earthwork Harvest Gathering, the Clean Water Campaign for Michigan, and, more recently, Title Track – a nonprofit organization engaging the arts to work for Clean Water, Racial Equity, and Youth Empowerment. I have dedicated my life to heart-centered efforts to transform systems of oppression and injustice and work toward cultural and ecological healing.
My music has helped me build a foundation not only for my work but for my own healing. Through times of upheaval, my creative process has been a lifeline. Returning to writing music and that consistent, central personal musical practice of filling up tapes on my 4-track has been and continues to be, my home base. As a Father and as a servant leader, I am tending to my own creativity and finances to be able to maintain my wellness and resilience and show up with as much strength and clarity as possible. I’m thrilled to begin to share my extensive archives of home recordings with folks who are interested in entering that intimate, raw, exciting creative space with me. I’m also eager to lean into this platform as a practical means of setting aside time to create and share new work. I’ve honestly never felt more capable. And it’s a humble honor to be able to invite you to help me continue down this path, creating community-supported music.
Poster by Will Thomas
Hi, I’m Seth and this is my poster for my Summer shows. It was made by my friend Will Thomas, who just became a Dad (congrats Will and Mollie and welcome to the world, Reid!). He drew the portrait by hand and listed all the shows I’ve got confirmed this summer. Last summer I played all over the country. This summer I’m playing all over my home state of MICHIGAN. I’ll also be doing some rad programs with Title Track – but this post is all about where I’ll be sharing my songs. And I’ll be jamming with some very dear friends who can really play. I’m jazzed to rock out for you folks. I’m grateful to be alive in this ancient holy land once again made fresh by the changing seasons and I hope that my work helps you do your work. And I hope that we can continue to come together to celebrate and help protect the land and the water and the people, especially those most vulnerable. This message was co-written by my daughter IBB and goes out to everyone w/ love. See you down the road.
Glad to share these special shows I’m playing with all kinds of very special people. Come see us!
April 4th – Madcat’s 70th Birthday Bash, The Ark, Ann Arbor, MI, 8pm
April 6th – Concert for Community Awareness, Milliken Auditorium, Traverse City, MI w/ Gregory Stovetop, 4pm
April 13th – Gopherwood Concerts, Cadillac, MI w/ Levi Taylor, Wayne Ramocan and Jordan Hamilton, 7pm
April 16th – Clean Water Action’s Great Lakes Awards, Lansing, MI w/ Chris Good and Dan Rickabus, 6pm
April 26th – NMEAC’s Environmentalist of the Year Awards, Traverse City, MI, 6pm
April 27th – Short’s Anniversary Party, Bellaire, MI w/ Braxton Hicks and the Contractions, 3pm
May 9th – Title Track Launch Party, Kirkbride Hall, Traverse City, MI w/ Chris Good, 7pm
May 11th – Title Track Launch Party, Musictown, Detroit, MI w/ Juuni and Vespre, 7pm
June 1st – Skill Swap at Earthwork Farm, Lake City, MI w/ Samuel Nalangira and Mady Kouyate
June 7th – Camp Greensky, Wellston, MI w/ Levi Taylor, Wayne Ramocan and Jordan Hamilton
June 15th – Buttermilk Jamboree, Delton, MI w/ Jordan Hamilton
poster by Will Thomas!
Thrilled to be representing at SXSW once again this year.
Thursday, March 14th – BLK Vinyl Day Show, 3pm
photo by Loren Johnson
Coming your way!
Portland! January 20th at Strum Guitars – doors at 4:30pm, show at 5:30! With very special guest Jen Bernard (@house_ofcardspdx) sitting in on sibling harmonies! Tell your people! Poster by Will Thomas. Photo by Loren Johnson (@lojajoh)
Next up, I’ll be up in Washington’s Olympic Peninsula for the first time later this month and am stoked to play at Eaglemount Wine and Cider in Port Townsend on the 24th with my good friend, the uber talented Micaela Kingslight for a fantastic songwriters in the round night w/ Camelia Jade, Aimee Ringle and Keeth Apgar! Kid friendly and kombucha on tap – pow!