Thank You!

Well Friends…just in time for Christmas. The All Is Bright EP is live on iTunes!!

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The last song on the record: Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

It’s the way I wanted to say MERRY CHRISTMAS to every person who would listen to the EP.

I felt strongly about having one track that was just me. No instrumentation, no fancy arrangement. I wanted the weight of the work to be all on me and I wanted it to feel spontaneous. Up until recording this song, the project weighed SO heavily on other people to make the concepts of these songs come to life. I hated that there was not a whole lot I could do until it was time to sing. So Josh (my vocal producer) put a little note in me ear and said, “Ok, let’s try one whole pass.”

Most important, I want this post to be about all the AMAZING brains that brought this project together.

Ryan Johnson: My soul mate and strong voice that is always pushing for more music to come out of me. Thank you for buying into this and POURING your time into the concepts, the recordings, the mixing…ALL of it. I love you.

Jerad Atherton and Josh Auer (Avner Studios): I have to mention these 2 together. They were the master minds of this whole thing. They were the perfectionists who worked tirelessly to make the final product COMPLETELY exceed my expectations. The chemistry between us all was completely organic (which is the best!!!!). I have found “my people” and can’t wait for future projects:)

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Producer: Jerad Atherton

Vocal Production, Mixing/Mastering: Josh Auer (recorded at Avner Studios in Santa Ana)

Arrangements: Jerad Atherton, Kim Johnson, Ryan Johnson, Josh Auer

____Musicians:

Jerad Atherton: Guitars, keys, programming

Ryan Johnson: Rhodes piano

Paul Doyle: Drummer extraordinare

Andy Toy: Keys, programming, and all kinds of other cool tasty stuff

Blaine Starke: buttery guitars

Daniel Rhine: Stand-up Bass

Silent Night Live Crew:

Stan Endicott: Vocals and my most favorite arrangement of Silent Night ever!

Jared Rich: engineer (http://treehouse-productions.com/)

Thank you also to Kevin and Heather Ross. Thank you for sitting with me for hours working to get the album artwork right and getting it on a stinkin sticker for the stinkin CD cover…grrrr. That was not fun for me. I owe you two BIG TIME!!! Thank you mom, dad, and Kelly for being such great cheerleaders and for everything you’ve done to help get more CDs sold!!!

Thank you to The Bakers, The Barnetts, and The Dewitts for their financial support!!

There!…Now go enjoy:)

Love,

KJ

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Do You Hear What I Hear?

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I don’t know about anybody else, but this year I feel like the “Christmas spirit” has not quite yet reached me. Amongst normal life, I have been extremely focused on getting this project done. It’s December 14th. I don’t have a single gift, no tree has been purchased, and all the decoration boxes are still on lock-down. For some very odd reason, it does not bother me like it would have in year’s past. Normally I would be pent-up with anxiety letting myself spin out over:  How much should we really spend this year? My decorations are so NOT as cool as Janet’s decorations. Am I damaging my kids psyche by letting her think there is still a Santa Claus?  60 bucks for a real tree? really?….I could keep goin’ people. When you see it on paper it really is all things that are just not that significant.

This brings me to the track  on this christmas EP that not only COMPLETELY exceeded my expectations but has the most interesting story behind it:  Do You Hear What I Hear. 

This song does not date back as far as I had originally thought. In the 1950’s, french classical composer, Noel Regney, came to Beverly Hills,CA and stayed at what is now the Beverly Hotel. There he met his future wife, Gloria Shane, who was a piano player in the hotel lobby. They fell in love quickly and wrote this song in 1962. After both living through World War 2, the Cuban missile crisis was now at hand and there was a great deal of fear that war could break out again. The two composers had no intention of this being a Christmas song. It was a cry for peace….”Pray for peace people everywhere, Listen to what I say”…

When I think about my current “December state-of-mind”, I hear the message of this song making sense to me. Am I listening to the story that Jesus intended for me to celebrate? Can I  slow down and hear the beauty and down-right mystery of how he came to this earth? Can I recognize that the gifts are simple representations of His birth as a gift to me? Can I stop worrying about the fact that I may only be able to afford new slippers for everyone this year? The answer is simply: YES.

The Child, the child,

sleeping in the night

will bring us goodness and light

He will bring us goodness and light!!!!!!!!!

See more of the story here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y4ibmcEJdIU

Silent Night…Holy Night

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So grateful to have crossed paths in life with THIS MAN. Stan Endicott: GREAT storyteller,husband, father, grandfather, worship leader, song writer/arranger, THE guy at maranatha music back in the day, and what I believe to be his greatest gift, MENTOR. The first few times we worked together he would ask me: “So you teach school do ya? Well, we should talk more about that.”

This was his friendly way of saying: “You might be in the wrong line of work honey!”

He has been instrumental in helping me find what it is that I am really about. Never pushy or demanding. Always gentle and encouraging, but with a steadfast firmness. The last time I met with him, the last thing he said to me was: “You know that place inside you that feels like it knows what it’s supposed to do? You need to turn that up a few notches.”

Instead of letting those words marinate and help change the shape of my thinking, I would take it personally and withdraw. As with many pieces of guidance I have been given over the years. Dwelling on a false pretense that I had somehow failed once again and I was never going to get it right. This is a place I have often gone (in my head that is).  Sitting in a place of frustration, confusion, anger, and last but not least, FEAR.  As I started to take more baby steps in a new direction, I gave Stan a call:)

When I decided to record this Christmas record I knew I wanted to sing a duet with Stan. I also knew I wanted to try to record the song live in the beautiful, A-frame, chapel that we both lead worship in at Mariners Church in Irvine,CA. With the help of my friend Jerad Rich (http://treehouse-productions.com/) we were able to pull it off. It was definitely one of the MAJOR highlights of this recording process.

I hope that you love it as much as I love his Joe Cocker meets Bruce Hornsby, raspy voice!!

PS…The bracelet I’m wearing in the first row of photos is handmade,by ugandan women, in honor of an amazing organization that I am SO excited to be involved with: Align Ministries- http://www.alignministries.org/. They are saving orphaned children one child at a time. Please check them out!

KJ

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