Returning to Myself, with Joe Danielson singing “Edelweiss”

Throughout September, we are bringing other talented artists to “our” stage.  Each artist will be presenting a song and a writing that explore their own take on the theme of “Returning.”

Today you get to meet this beautiful soul…

Joe Danielson

Image of Joe Danielson

Originally from the small town of Cadott, WI, Joe Danielson grew up playing guitar and bass with his family’s folk group, Danville. Joe appears on three of Danville’s albums and two albums of original music recorded as the brother-sister duo, Casey & Joe.

A graduate of UW-Eau Claire, Joe works in the special education department at Minneapolis Public Schools. He lives in Minneapolis with his husband Steve and their two cats.

Find more of the music from Joe and his family at
Casey & Joe album “Cornerstones and Common Time” is available on Spotify and Apple Music

Returning to Myself

by Joe Danielson

Earlier in the year when our normal lives were put on an unexpected pause, I didn’t quite know how to respond. I went through a period of obsessively reading the news in an attempt to get my head around the situation.

When that led to sleepless nights, I gave myself a quota for how much news I would allow myself to consume. This helped quell some of the anxiety, but I knew I needed something to soothe my nerves.

Like a lot of folks, I turned to comfort food — macaroni and cheese, tomato soup and grilled cheese, and plenty of ice cream. And to replace my diet of news, I found myself watching old movies like Singing in the Rain, Disney films of my youth, and that perennial classic — The Sound of Music.

After getting through the initial stages of anxiety and uncertainty, there was the task of adjusting to the new rhythm of life. For many, the normal patterns of life were upended — the way we work, the way we socialize, and the way we inhabit our days.

There was a sudden abundance of solitude and a lot of time for self-reflection. I started thinking about how I spend my time and realized that in the frenzied pace of modern life, I have failed to give attention to the things that feed my soul. For me, I have always found so much joy in creating — drawing, painting, writing, and making music.

I picked up my pen and paper, dug out my art supplies from the back of the closet, and put new strings on my guitar. And it has been amazing to feel that old joy of exploring ideas and expressing myself with the uninhibited spirit that has always been there waiting right beneath the surface.

I was returning to myself.

I think back to those initial anxious days in the spring, watching The Sound of Music, and I am reminded of Captain von Trapp’s return to music and to the parts of himself he had lost touch with.

I sing for you the emblematic song of that returning — “Edelweiss.” 

Edelweiss flower in grass

As we continue to navigate these difficult times together, I hope this song can bring comfort to anyone in need of comforting.

This work from Joe, along with that of our three other September collaborators is now available for preorder as a digital or print collection. 

You can already read and listen to the contributions from Sherdonna Denholm and Hannah Bakke.

Ami Andersen’s is coming next weekend.