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Jo D'Anna

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Audio - As She Is

Artistic Vision of As She Is

This album, released on March 9, 2007, is a spicy mix of 12 of Jo D’Anna’s original tunes, many of which were inspired and re-worked during her participation in the “San Francisco Song Group”, a local peer group of songwriters who meet for potluck, new song sharing and peer critiquing twice a month at one of the members’ homes. This collection of Jo D’Anna’s tunes was hand-picked by Ben Leinbach, the producer of As She Is, as being those on which Ben believed he could best create something with his amazing brand of seamless, rhythmic soundscaping and flawless production techniques. What resulted was a blending of two very fine opposing styles: Jo’s more folk-based, fingerstyle guitar 60's-influenced roots songs – which became the inspiration and the starting point for Ben Leinbach’s more urbane and worldly jazz fusion percussive and multi-instrumental talents – to create a third style which is a beautiful and seamless collaboration of urban/world rhythms mixed with organically blended soundscapes that invoke the precise mood and intention of Jo’s songs. The beautiful flowing organic rhythms one cannot help but dance to, while Jo D’Anna’s passionately expressive and improvisational vocals – her trademark – brings any listener into a space that is at times internal, heartfelt and ecstatic.

Producer and sound engineer for “As She Is”, including multi-instrumental tracking and arrangements, by Ben Leinbach, San Anselmo, California.

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Track One
As She Is

I was inspired to write this song on a camping trip I took to Big Sur. I was struck by all the things in nature - sometimes microscopic - that we take for granted and that the human eye often overlooks. I thinking about the way the Earth guides me when I just open to her abundant love and take in the small, simple often unnoticed examples of her beauty, and that when I just let myself “. . .feel the Earth . . . as She is . . . and She will guide me.”
Track Two
Roll On The Void

This song pulls together a combination of my feminist, Buddhist and existential philosophies which I culled together in order to survive the loss of an important relationship. It is about how I survived the loss - by having the courage to face the void of going on alone and moving from the pursuit of physical ecstasy towards a more spiritual kind of love.
Track Three
Take Me Home Again

This song was inspired by an Irish lad I fell in love with. He evoked in me my own Irish roots in this song, and brought me “home again” on many levels. The song has a definite Irish folk song feeling with catchy, waltzy rhythms and a melancholic bittersweet, storytelling lyric. Ben Leinbach does a great job of simulating a Bodhran drumbeat in this tune.
Track Four
Living In Dreams

This is one of my favorite tunes on the album - catchy folk/pop melody with lively, danceable, groove rhythms developing through the piece. The song is confirming – albeit somewhat tongue-in-cheek – that I prefer to live in dreams and poetic musings about the one I love, even if it is never returned. The seductively danceable groove rhythms and vocal harmonies drops the listener – and even musically seduces him/her want to stay for awhile – in that groovy dream space.
Track Five
Already Fallen

Sometimes, when we fall in love with someone, it seems like we are living out a story - that it was meant to be, according to a story written long ago, according to Nature’s will. It is a song of potential and hope. It is one of my truest and most heartfelt love songs.
Track Six
Driftwood Man

This political rock song was originally inspired by a trip I took to Mendocino, when I saw a man lying on the beach that, at first glance, I mistook for a piece of driftwood because of the way he blended in with his immediate environment of sand and wood. At a closer look, I realized he was a homeless man. I was very much inspired by the image of this “driftwood man” who evoked a story from me of a drifter who might have forsaken the luxuries of a more common life as his way to protest the global violence and often incompetent leadership of this country.
Track Seven

This song, with its haunting, eerie grooves provided by Ben Leinbach, is one of the most beautiful on the album. While watching the moonlight on the bay, I am remembering someone who left suddenly in my life one winter night when the moon was full. A year had gone by, and I was wondering where he ended up, hoping he was safe, wishing he would just pick up the telephone and call; yet also finding solace in the realization that our lives are like a circle, and all will be safe and well in the end, regardless of the outcome.
Track Eight
Blackberry Hill

This song was inspired by a relationship I had with someone that I first knew when we were only 17 years old, but then our paths crossed again 30 years later. It is a reminiscent love song, recalling the grace and power of youth and the innocence of our dreams we shared that summer on “Blackberry Hill” (an allegorical state of mind, more than an real place in time). The songs calls for a hope that now, with his own children at the age we once were, he gives them the same freedom to dream, explore and enjoy their youth, as we once did at age 17.
Track Nine
Every Night, Every Day

This is a slightly tongue-in-cheek, melodic groove tune with a danceable, bossa-nova beat in which I recount each night that the clock is chiming when it has turned back an hour to Fall. All I seem to be able to do, while remembering my lost love as Fall descends, is listen to the hoot owl cry while I hum a haunting tune in the moonlight. In my dreams the leaves, turning autumn red in my bedroom window, melt into teardrops in the rain.
Track Ten
My Heart Will Live

In this song, I am reminding myself of how the wonders and beauty of nature bring me back to life when I’ve been knocked down for whatever reason. And it’s reminder to all of us that, if we just look at the beauty around us in nature, a benevolent mirror of our own state of being, we will be healed and transformed, and yes – we will survive, and thrive. It’s a matter of allowing the cycle of loss to run its course, and when a heart really wants to live, it will, no matter what the loss.
Track Eleven
Widow's Watch

I was inspired to write this tune while walking on a desolate strip of land known as Tomales Point in Marin County. It was a cold, December day. There was a chilly wind, and warning signs everywhere about mountain lions, rattlesnakes, herding Tule Elk, and the like. The Cypress trees were howling in the wind as I walked through the nearby historic Peirce Dairy with its rickety, old, white abandoned buildings. The scene was a perfect backdrop for this ghostly sea chantey I created about a woman who kept vigil every night by burning a candle in the Widow’s Watch for her lover who was lost at sea one night. Until one cold December morning, years later, when her shipwrecked sailor finally returns as a ghost. This song is a showcase for Ben Leinbach, who does an amazing production in which he creates subliminal clanking of chains and ghostly moaning sounds throughout the mix.
Track Twelve
Red Rhapsody

This is a nakedly vulnerable and innocently moving love song, stripped of any musical production, in which I am recorded live singing while playing my guitar solo. It paints a picture of two lovers by the sea, and the true words of love – or no words at all – that they speak to each other. It reminds us how sweet and tender the early days of love are – all at once both confusing, and yet also so grounding – like coming home, at last.


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