luke vassella

Much-loved Northern Rivers legend, activist singer-songwriter Luke Vassella, softens our hearts with his sweet melodies and activist anthems that have gained great popularity in the Northern Rivers in recent times.

(For Luke’s website, see

Our song: Change of Heart

Luke and I singing at Bless this Road

As I design the Bless this Road program, I know that I long to sing in public to celebrate my beloved Karl. I want to sing to him about courage (his and mine). That is something that I could not do at his memorial (over two years earlier) because I was too heartbroken to sing then.

Singing is how my heart speaks to the world. It’s poetry for me.

So I choose a song by the iconic American feminist activist singer, Holly Near. Called Change of Heart, it’s about what happens to us when we are trying to build our courage as we witness someone else’s courage. I have loved this song for decades and heard Holly sing it in person a couple of times. Her powerful activist song resonates with my feelings that for a grieving person to undertake road safety activism from a cold start (and with absolutely no experience) requires a lot of courage (from all of us, not just from me).

I spend some time working with a voice coach in Vancouver, building my courage so I can sing our song. This song was originally written for piano, has lots of flats and was hard to transpose for guitar. Luke handled all of that without complaint. We extend our most grateful thanks to Luke for being so supportive of our celebration and so gracious in helping me sing with him!

I am exhausted and nervous when Luke and I finally sing our song, but I am so thrilled to do it and immensely grateful for the generosity and flexibility of such a talented artist.

Here is a link to me singing with Luke at Bless this Road:

(To hear Holly Near sing this song, go to