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Fran McKendree: Home

WELCOME! Thanks so much for stopping by!


"I don't know what to call it--heart, clarity, vision, soul--but there is so much of it in Fran's songs that I cannot hear his voice without receiving more of these gifts myself."
 ~ Barbara Brown Taylor



Fran McKendree began his professional career playing at coffee houses around Auburn, NY, and Syracuse University. Moving to the Glens Falls, NY he formed "McKendree Spring," a rock ensemble that the legendary manager Bill Graham dubbed "one of the best unknown bands in the world.” McKendree Spring developed a loyal following, spending the next six years touring the US, the UK and Canada, doing concerts with Billy Joel, Elton John, Tina Turner and even Frank Zappa. The band played many memorable venues, including Carnegie Hall, the Fillmore East, and with the late Billy Preston, the first ever rock concert at Radio City Music Hall.  With their [tiny, but nice to be included!] exhibit in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Museum is an attribution that says: “Experimental and innovative, McKendree Spring mixed blues, folk and country with a progressive musical vision.” Following McKendree Spring, Fran signed with Arista Records. He wasn't touring much during this time but did play a few memorable events, foremost among them a gig in NY's Central Park with Jimmy Cliff headlining. Fran was, however, finding this an increasingly challenging time in his life.


Walking around his New York City neighborhood one day, looking for inspiration, Fran discovered a small Episcopal church. The next Sunday he and his wife, Diana, went to see what it was all about....finding an engaging, faithful, mission - focused and artistic gathering of seekers. It was a breakthrough for Fran, opening a new spiritual path which led him to heed the call to take some time for reflection. He and Diana moved to Cape Cod, where, setting aside his music, he began to work with youth, build houses, and make furniture, eventually feeling a deep longing to make music again. Emerging from this soul searching period he began to work under the aegis of the Episcopal church. He has continued to explore and broaden his calling; with concerts, as music and worship leader, designer and coordinator of conferences, keynote presenter, mentor, and workshop leader. He has released six CDs of his own work, as well as producing recordings for other artists at his studio in Hendersonville, NC, where he and Diana now live.


In 2012 he formed AwakeningSoul, a partnership hosting an annual conference embodying ‘Sustenance, Sanctuary and Inspiration.’  Fran says "AwakeningSoul is a coming together of all the things I care most about - relationships, trust, soul-searching, inspiring conversation, beautiful music and art, laughter, and a palpable awareness of the presence and nearness of God."  He continues to be awed by the journey that has unfolded.


Much to Fran's surprise he was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from the Virginia Theological Seminary in 2016, for which he is most grateful!



I'm thrilled to announce that the registration is now open for our next AwakeningSoul gathering!  

For those of you who haven't been with us before, AwakeningSoul is an uplifting, four day event held every year in early November, in Asheville, NC.

Our theme this year is 'Justice is the Body of Love ~ Love is the Soul of Justice'

Our presenters are (L-R) Ed Bacon, Heidi Kim, Larry Maze and Catherine Meeks.

AS 2018 Presenters B&W

I'll be there with the wonderful AwakeningSoul Ensemble. The ASE is; Isabel Castellvi, cello and vocals ~ River Guerguerian, percussion ~ Lindsey Blount Lange, vocals ~ Fran McKendree, vocals, acoustic guitar, dulcimer ~ Charles Milling, bass, electric/acoustic guitar, vocals.

We believe that we all need a place, set apart from the busy-ness of our everyday world, to reflect on our journeys. We need to set aside time when we can examine our lives and ask ‘what do I believe and how are these beliefs being lived out in my life? Who does my life and work serve?’ Our hope is that our AwakeningSoul gatherings create a sacred space where this work of the soul can be done, and that in our coming together we will all be affirmed that we do not journey alone.

Come join us at Lutheridge Conference Center, November 8-11, 2018, for thought-provoking speakers, amazing musicians, and a community of wonderful folks from around the country. We begin on Thursday afternoon and go through lunch on Sunday.

For more information and to register, please visit;

Here are thoughtful comments from past participants to help you get a sense of the impact of this gathering;

AwakeningSoul feeds me and makes me hungry at the same time; it both calms and troubles the waters of my soul. I have experienced the presence of God at AwakeningSoul in such a way as to be reminded that I am deeply loved by my creator, and reminded that God is calling me to join him in the work of healing this world.
~ Michael P. MN

Awakening Soul is an oasis for the soul --- a place for centering and spiritual growth.  I come away from my time there energized by challenging ideas, enriched by beautiful music, and filled with a renewed sense of spiritual possibilities.
~ Pat H.

AwakeningSoul Ensemble from We Media on Vimeo.




I'll be at the Dayspring Conference Center in Parrish, FL April 26-28 for the second annual Food for the Journey gathering.  The keynote speaker is John Bell, from the Iona Community in Scotland, one of the foremost composers of new music of a deeply spiritual nature.  I'll be joined by my friend and AwakeningSoul colleague, River Guerguerian.  Come join us!

May 21-23 ~ I'll be doing some music for the annual Homiletics Festival in Washington, DC.  I am so excited to be a part of this event - some of the most challenging and profound teachers/writers/preachers in the world today, like my friends Walter Brueggemann and Diana Butler Bass, will be there for this week-long event, held at various venues around the city.  I'll be joined by my friend and AwakeningSoul colleague, River Guerguerian, for a concert on Tuesday the 22nd, 6:30p at the Metropolitan AME Church.


Sawyerville Day Camp

I'm always looking for ways to spread the word about the amazing Sawyerville Day Camp (I'll be there again this summer), and to support their work. To that end, I've made a recording available to download - find it in the 'the shop is open' section a little further along on this page;

'Come By Here' with Allison King Tullos and Duncan Wickel.  All proceeds will go to the Sawyerville Day Camp.


McKendree Spring News...

We lost our dear brother Michael Dreyfuss and his sweet love, Elisabeth, this past year. They were both tender, passionate and beautiful souls and we miss them.  Michael was a genius and a wildly creative spirit, always on the cutting edge! We are so grateful that we were able to be with both of them in their last year and that we were able to pull off one last gig!  The DVD/CD release 'Times Like These' ~ the McKendree Spring 'one night only tour ~ final show ever' turned out great and is available at, iTunes, etc. It was filmed/recorded live at the legendary Douglas Corner in Nashville.  Folks are loving the DVD, especially.

Live... at Douglas Corner - Michael Dreyfuss, viola ~Paul Hollowell, keys ~ Fran McKendree, vocals, acoustic guitar ~ Alan Stoker, drums,vocals ~ Chris Bishop,bass, vocals ~ Martin Slutsky, electric and acoustic guitar


 Fran and Chris helping Casey through a particularly tough edit...




The shop is open!

Awake ~ a companion for morning/evening meditation

Watch, O Watch, Awake, Sing A New Church, The Storm is Passing Over 

Rise ~ recorded mostly 'live' in the chapel at Kanuga. Charles Milling, producer. 

Come and Find the Quiet Center, Waiting For Lightning, Ring Them Bells, The Skin and Bones of Grace, Blackbird

Come By Here ~ with the beautiful voice of Allison King Tullos and Duncan Wickel on violin.  All proceeds go to the Sawyerville Day Camp.

McKendree Spring ~ Times Like These - Live at Douglas Corner. CD or DVD. Their final show, and the only video recording of the band 'live.'


The AwakeningSoul Ensemble 'Live at Tending the Fire' ~ the ASE performs at the annual AwakeningSoul events in Asheville, NC.  An amazingly soulful and versatile group featuring the incredibly beautiful voice of Lindsey Blount. This 2015 lineup of the ASE is; Lindsey Blount, vocals ~ River Guerguerian, percussion ~ Lily Henley, violin and vocals ~ Fran McKendree, vocals, acoustic guitar ~ Charles Milling, bass,vocals.

Fran and Ana Hernandez!

'Sending You Light' Fran and Ana with;

Billy Cardine, Paul Friesen-Carper, River Guerguerian, Ike Sturm, and Duncan Wickel
Here's a pic - recording at Teerivane Studios ~ percussionist, River Guerguerian, joined us for a session. 



I produced a recording for the immensely gifted Ginny Wilder a little while back. She is wonderful!









FROM THE ARCHIVES ~ 2011 AwakeningSoul gathering - here are a few video clips;

Fran with Charles Milling, Duncan Wickel, Lindsey Blount and River Guerguerian doing 'Painting in the Skies'


 And two fun videos of Lindsey Blount, River Guerguerian,  Charles Milling and Duncan Wickel



I do hope you'll take a few minutes to visit the 'news' page for updates and click the 'links' to find some other very creative and hardworking groups that are carrying on some important work.  And please visit the music, friends and photo pages, too. 

All the best, Fran

small photo of Fran's Larrivee guitar at top of homepage  by: Ellen Coleman

below by Susan Logan   


screenshot from the McKendree Spring 'Times Like These' DVD

Fran web