Joe Kidd And Sheila Burke
(JKSB Media)

There is much to be said for the notion of a lavishly arranged and passionately executed production.

Nonetheless, upon occasion, it takes a return to the basics to command due attention. This approach has long been a key factor in the ongoing impact made by folk music. With a largely acoustic template providing the setting for rich and thought provoking lyrical imagery, folk music has flourished as a voice for a variety of concerns.

Joe Kidd and Sheila Burke were keenly aware of this attribute when they joined forces in 2013. For Kidd in particular, such a venture provided an interesting change of pace from the straight ahead rock that characterized much of his earlier work (which included a season with the much acclaimed White Lines).

Professing the inspiration of bluegrass, country and other like minded musical genres, Kidd and Burke have crafted herein a series of twelve exemplary originals that bring to light a variety of causes and concerns, from military conflict (Veterans Song) and working class struggles (Grandpa Was A Coal Miner) to internal strife (Sad Too Long) and idealism (Just Want To Be Myself).

Most importantly, Kidd and Burke weave each piece together under the common thread of faith. As believers whose gifts are often utilized in church settings, the ambitious and highly charismatic duo summarize their mission statement in part as “thanksgiving, struggle, redemption and love for all people”. 

For both long term believers and/or devotees of Kidd and Burke’s individual and collective work, the words of their When The Secret Is Revealed resonate quite well in that respect. In the meantime, the quasi-prophetic Waiting For That Flower To Bloom poignantly articulates from a first person point of view the perspective of those who have not yet come full circle in that respect. 
To be certain, if redemption is a key component of the overall mission statement, then Joe Kidd and Sheila Burke have, with this release, found themselves serving as gifted messengers pointing to that greater glory via the common bond of struggle tempered with optimism borne of faith.
An essential release.

Joe Kidd and Sheila Burke’s album is calledEverybody Has A Purpose, and it is clear from the first listen that they believe this, and also that every word and note also has a purpose. From the haunting “Veteran’s Song,” sung by Burke alone in her pure, soaring voice and telling a story about the cost of war that is truly timeless, to the ode to the working man that is “Grandpa Was a Coal Miner” to the more personal “Sad Too Long” and “Just Want to Be Myself,” these are thought-provoking songs that most of all, touch the heart.

There are not a lot of musicians out there making true acoustic folk music these days but Burke and Kidd do that. These songs are influenced by , Appalachian folk music and 60’s folk, bluegrass, country , Celtic and gospel. Most of the songs feature their exquisite harmonies, which are especially impressive on “They Call It Romantic,” which reminded me forcefully of the early Everly Brothers (my highest compliment.)  They also take turns taking verses before joining together on the mystic and mesmerizing “Shadow At The End of the Road,” a perfectly constructed country song which also features some tasty guitar. “Everybody Has A Purpose,” the title song, is an uplifting number that makes effective use of harmonica as well, while “Waiting For the Flower to Bloom”  makes very good use of the auto-harp.

Other highlights of the CD include “Soldiers in the Army of Mercy and Peace and the gospel bluegrass “When the Secret Is Revealed.”

Themes on this album are struggle, love, ad redemption. These are universal themes indeed and Kidd and Burke deliver them with tremendous grace, musicality and style.

Joe Kidd contacted me on Facebook about this album and he and Sheila subsequently sent it to me for an honest review. I am happy to honestly say that it is a treasure, an important record, and one that you will be happy to own.

Joe and Sheila are down to earth, joyous people, and very generous with their time. They see the spiritual in the natural world, influenced by traditional Christianity and native faith and philosophy. their dedication to peace, nature, each other, family and friends is inspiring.

Music the voice of the prophets of our age. Live music engages the senses, transporting the listener to higher planes of thought and emotion. Song weaves a new existence of community in a world that tries to shut out sensory experience. Song goes to the inner mind, the soul itself.

Joe Kidd and Sheila Burke are dedicated to shepherding their listeners and friends on the unique spiritual journey that is music.

The Musical Architecture of JOE KIDD & SHEILA BURKE

Posted In:Arts & Entertainment, | From Issue 833 | By: Photo ofMatt deHeus Matt deHeus | 22nd September, 2016 |  1

The Musical Architecture of JOE KIDD & SHEILA BURKE

One of the most intriguing things about the future is you never know when it is going to start.

Take for instance, the case of Michigan-based folk singers Joe Kidd and Sheila Burke.  Each was already well established both as a musician and as a citizen of this Earth when a chance meeting at a fundraiser for a sick friend changed everything.

As Kidd recounts, his first thought on hearing Burke, an accomplished practitioner of roots music, was “Who is this woman?”

Unbeknownst to either, she was about to become his new musical partner.  A second encounter at an event dedicated to acoustic music resulted in Kidd inviting Burke to sit in on a song that eventually would be featured on their first album together, “Soldiers in The Army of Mercy and Peace.”

As Burke put it “from there things just clicked. It was really interesting to find a kindred spirit; someone who could finish your sentences and finish your songs.  We just shared the concept of getting back to basics.”

The duo gained early popularity, winning Detroit Music Awards in 2013 and 2104 as World Music Songwriters of the Year.  Kidd and Burke were also nominated for three Detroit Music Awards and two Review Awards in 2015 & 16.

The recognition of their work took a step up when the original collaboration, “Soldiers in The Army of Mercy and Peace,” now featured on the full length album “Everybody Has a Purpose,” was awarded the Global Music Award for Song of the Year.

For aficionados of music before the Beatles, “Everybody Has a Purpose” has a lot to like.  A modern take on original folk music; the duo plays it true to the style, with earnest renditions of twelve original songs. 

Simple, sparse arrangements with acoustic guitar, a smattering of traditional instruments and hand percussion support the wonderfully sung messages of hope, possibility and a quest for understanding.

As Burke stated, the theme of the album is “Be yourself, respect differences, find commonalities.”

Kidd elaborated in saying “The inspirations come from our lives … the things we experience in an average day.”

Songs such as “Grandpa Was a Coal Miner,” which is about 5 generations of struggle, or “Veterans Song,” which was written about the experiences of Burke’s brother returning from war, could have been written in any era. “They Call It Romantic” is a reminder of both the power and weakness of words when describing emotion.

You may find the disc is one that transports you to a time when songs were simpler and our public dialog less vitriolic. In all, album is a pretty powerful statement and it should prove a treat to those who enjoy the music of original folk artists such as Joan Baez, Bob Dylan and the “Protest Songs” of the early 1960’s.

More than simply troubadours, however, the two have also have taken active roles in their community, earning aMichigan Governor’s Award for “Artistic Excellence, Peace, Social Justice and Cultural Diversity.”

Burke was also recently invited to speak on issues of children’s literacy at the Michigan State Fair.

Kidd and Burke are currently in the midst of their 2016 International Tour, which has seen them perform in locales ranging from Hollywood to Tulsa to Cancun.  They’ve played at Bluegrass Festivals, a Buddhist Temple and made their debut at the legendary Tootsie’s in Nashville.  We can all probably agree that probably qualifies as diversity.

As for their plans beyond 2016?  As Kidd puts it “We want to see how we can inspire others to impact their world.  Before peace will come to this world, we are going to have to put down our swords.”

Sounds like a good plan to me.  Leaves your hands free to pick up a guitar. 

Burke summed up the pairs approach like this: “We just try to express the importance of this moment.  When people relate, it is a beautiful thing.”

It’s the kind of thing that gives you hope for the future.




 I have been on a mission most of my life to hear that next great song. I remember growing up in central Ohio in the 60's during the most exciting time in popular music. We had to put some effort into our love for hearing new music back then . A trip to Columbus on a Greyhound bus to pick out the new Beatles,  Rolling Stones, or Bob Dylan album was a day long excursion. Even waiting for your favorite song to play on the AM station taught you patience and deep  appreciation for a great song. 

 Now let's fast forward to 2016. The music industry has changed dramatically, now old  and new music is available on your smart phone, tablet, or PC instantly.  This can be good and bad. Since 2008 I have been the host of an online radio show ''John Talk Radio'', and Independent Music Showcase.  I have hosted over 600 episodes of playing Indie music and interviewing musicians from all over the world. I listen to a lot of music. 

 When I sat down and listened to the album '' Everybody Has a Purpose ''  by Joe Kidd and Sheila Burke, I had to stop what I was doing and listen to this amazing collection of Folk, Rock, and Traditional music. The key word here is listen. This is what I would do when I heard albums from the 60's for the first time. Everything else stopped and you just did not hear the music,  but you listened to the music. This album of 12  very strong original compositions is a true treat to the music lover of today. Joe and Sheila's voices blend together to make one voice.  The songs are musically very sound, and the lyrics are real.  They sing about freedom, love, diversity, and social justice in a world that needs just that.  In the song

 '' Shadow at the End of the Road'' I felt a real sense that a true story was being told, something was being handed down, and we were fortunate to be able to listen in. 

 I can not talk about this album with out mentioning all of the songs tell a story. You feel the pain and concern in Sheila's voice when she sings songs like '' Sad Too Long''.  Joe and Sheila have made an album that is a must listen for anyone that appreciates true musicianship, and harmonies that come straight from the heart. 

 Take it from an old 60's music lover and someone that stays up with current music trends, this CD (I still think of them as albums) is a must have for your collection. They really care about our world, the people in it, and they show it through the beautiful songs of this recording. 

 John Darlington

John Talk Radio 

Independent Music Showcase 


"Everybody Has A Purpose is a refreshingly positive expression of America's folk/country tradition. Come gather round the fire, ye all,  and sing along in gratitude for the lives we have been given".


"Exceptional Songwriting and Music"

Lilli Kuzma

Radio  Personality

Host of Folk Festival

WDCB Public Radio Chicago

"A selection of songs sung in a heartfelt manner about real things that matter, and performed with extreme warmth, tenderness, and passion.

I look forward to seeing them when they come over here".

Martin Hodge

Radio Personality

Host of Roots and Shoots

Host of The Respect Show

106.8 Phonic FM

Exeter Devon England


The Soldiers of Peace Award

goes to Joe Kidd and Sheila Burke

whose latest album

Everybody Has  Purpose

is a refreshing and uplifting antidote to these troubled times. 

Joe and Sheila 

I value your friendship and your powerful message of Love, acceptance and peace.

You have inspired many to have hope and continue to pursue peace in their communities through your music and your commitment to make the world a better place.

Much love to you both.

 - Siham Awada Jaafar -

Television Host WDHT-TV, Peace & Diversity Activist, Images & Perceptions Conference Founder

 The Coffeehouse at All Saints was very pleased to have Joe Kidd & Sheila Burke perform. They connected with the audience and made many new friends in East Lansing. Many thanks for the copy of your excellent CD, 'Everybody Has A Purpose'. It's full of important, moving music and ideas. Peace to you both. We look forward to your return. Steve Findley

Joe Kidd and Sheila Burke are great community-builders & philanthropists in metro Detroit & beyond, as well as fine musical artists.

Alvorada America counts them among their most admired fellow music artists.

Joe Kidd & Sheila Burke

Joe & Sheila share a common heritage of Irish & Native American traditions that comes from the Appalachian region of Kentucky and West Virginia.
A perfect blend of Universal and Timeless Americana, Folk, Country, & World music with powerful lyrics and beautiful voices.

Their debut CD release Everybody Has A Purpose was released in late 2015.

With songs like the highly charged Soldiers In The Army Of Mercy & Peace which immediately received the Global Music Award for Folk Song Of The Year, and the universally uplifting title track, this record becomes a must for all audiences.



It has been described as sounding more like a career spanning greatest hits album, than a debut CD.

‘Soldiers In The Army O Mercy & Peace has been chosen and is receiving airplay and great response in the Holy Land at the borders of conflict between Israel, Palestine, & Lebanon.

Joe & Sheila received back to back Detroit Music Awards for World Music Songwriters Of The Year.

While onstage at Detroit’s 2015 Concert Of Colors they were presented with a Michigan Governor’s Award for Artistic Excellence and their efforts for Social Justice, Peace, & Cultural Diversity
by State Representative George Darany.

On June 1, 2017 Joe Kidd was inducted into the Michigan Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame.

Joe & Sheila have appeared in Mexico (Hyatt Ziva Resort Hotel), Throughout Ontario Canada, and across the USA from Brooklyn NY (17 Frost Theater), to Nashville TN (Tootsies World Famous Orchid Lounge), to Hollywood CA (Genghis Cohen Theater).


They appeared in Joshua Tree Ca (J T Saloon) on January 7 2017.

The record is enjoying international airplay in UK, Israel, South Africa, Mexico, Australia, Germany and more, as well as countless radio and internet stations across America.

It recently received the Soldiers Of Peace Award from Ear 2 The Ground Music Blog NYC. The CD is also receiving unanimous critical praise (as evidenced on the official website).

It is available on ITunes, Amazon, AmazonUK, and all great outlets. The last track on the CD, ‘Waiting For That Flower To Bloom’ is also featured on the new benefit compilation album titled ‘Songs For Standing Rock Vol 5″.


Joe & Sheila are currently involved in two separate projects in UK.

A live CD recording for UNICEF, and a cover song to accompany a project officially endorsed by Paul McCartney & Ringo Starr based upon a Beatles painting from 1966 titled Art In A Corner. They are in the early planning stages for a 2018 UK tour.

" Joe Kidd & Sheila Burke sing the kind of songs that folk music should be all about. "Soldiers In The Army Of Mercy & Peace" is exactly the kind of song we need to hear more of here in the war-torn Middle East. Their music is well appreciated here in Israel.-

Menachem Vinegrad-

Radio Upper Galilee,105.3 FM Israel"

Album Review: Joe Kidd & Sheila Burke – Everybody Has a Purpose

by Eric Harabadian, Contributing Blogger

Album Review of Joe Kidd and Sheila Burke: Everybody Has a Purpose

Joe Kidd and Sheila Burke are a contemporary folk-rock duo that features stellar harmonies matched with skilled songwriting and heartfelt themes. In the five-plus years they’ve been together they’ve performed all around the United States, Mexico, and Canada spreading a message of peace, love and harmony.

Fans of classic acoustic and folk artists like Peter, Paul & Mary, Judy Collins, Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Arlo Guthrie, and others will certainly appreciate this duo. But their music has a timeless and limitless quality that is sure to satisfy any age or era.

The title track “Everybody Has a Purpose” lays the foundation for their music, with a message of being an individual and finding one’s place in the world. Echoes of Jessie Colin Young, Bob Dylan, and Joni Mitchell certainly come to mind.

Another strong song represented here is Burke’s ode to a serviceman “Veteran’s Song (My Brother).”She has the voice of an angel and her depiction of a soldier who seems to be dealing with PTSD is powerful.

“Shadow At the End of the Road” stands out as well for its haunting melody and mood. It has a Byrds meets Buffalo Springfield kind of feel matched with marvelous vocals and a contemplative resonance.

The struggles of the working man are reflected in the Pete Seeger-like “Grandpa Was a Coal Miner.” Tunes like that and, basically, all their material is directed toward the common man, woman, and human experience.

There is a primary element to Joe Kidd and Sheila Burke’s music that is, at once, relatable and down to earth, yet spiritual and transcendent. The songs “Will Do” and “They Call it Romantic” are all that and are lighthearted and fun too.

Keep an eye out for this duo on the concert circuit as they keep a steady performance schedule throughout the year. Check their website for a list of upcoming performances,

Join the Army of Mercy & Peace Fan Club here.

First Thoughts

Joe Kidd & Sheila Burke welcome you to our new home on the web.

This is the place where the new CD 'Everybody Has A Purpose' will be presented to the world.

We have given every effort and all of our energy to make this record both powerful and beautiful.

We are happy and excited that it has received a Global Music Award even before it was released, and that it has gotten great reviews from both fans and critics.

We are honored to have YOU here with us now.

 - peace to you - 

Joe Kidd & Sheila Burke


Find Joe & Sheila here ...

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  • Jan 20
    Saint Matthew Saint Joseph Episcopal Church,  Detroit
  • Jan 21
    Ghost Light Planet Ant Theater,  Hamtramck

Everybody Has A Purpose