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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O Come All Ye Faithful

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November 21:

I am a context person. I want the history. I want the who, what, when, where, and ESPECIALLY  the why. Could this be why my 9yr-old and I can  sometimes go back and forth ? We are so much alike!

If you try to tell me a story or explain something that happened to you, its very likely I’m gonna butt right in and start asking questions. Ask anyone who knows me. I want the whole picture painted. I want more information than is ever needed or necessary. If I don’t get those pieces, I have a terrible time tracking and you will lose me before you ever had me….

Let that be the segue to the songs I chose for this record.

The night we began tracking this particular song I began to ask myself: where did this song come from? Who wrote it? What is it supposed to mean for us today?

As I began the research I became a little confused and disheartened when I found that this song seemed to have very little to do with the birth of Jesus.

The latin version of this carol: Adeste Fideles, was written by John Francis Wade in 1760.It was later translated in the 1800’s by, catholic priest, Frederick Oakeley. Most of the history on this song points to it being a coded battle cry for a Jacobite Rebellion. Sounds biblical but it’s not. Having to do with a war between England and France; one group faithful to the crown of King Louis XV, another faithful to ……my voice is trailing off now…are you bored yet?

In my early church experience, taking things out of context and making them fit a particular theme or point was a common occurrence. As my belief system has had quite a paradigm shift over the years, I find that there are many biblical things we think have certain meaning for us today when we really don’t have the whole historical or cultural perspective. Before we go down the philosophical rabbit hole, let’s consider taking a moment to not be so uptight over did it really happen?  Or is it just a myth? is a virgin birth really even possible?  Let’s let the story of Christmas be exactly what it is: fascinating, mystifying, special.

Let’s let the song be sung to the beauty and mystery of who Jesus is: O Come all Ye Faithful. Joyful and triumphant…..O Come let us adore Him… Christ the Lord.

BTW: We decided to go pop, dancy , 4-on-the-floor with this one… I predict you’ll be rockin’ in the car while you’re doin’ some shopping!!

Welcome

E.P. : An extended play (EP) is a musical recording that contains more music than a single, but is usually too short to qualify as a full studio album or LP.

HI. I’m Kim Johnson.

Welcome.

It has begun. The creation of my first Christmas E.P. We’ve titled it “All is Bright”. What has been a faint thought in the back of my mind for over 2 years, is somehow now taking shape. The funnest, so far, has been seeing all of the brains come together to collaborate on  one little project that they deem worthy enough to spend their time and energy. In the planning stages of this project I had a close friend ask me: So what are you wanting to point people towards with this? A little annoyed by his directness, I had to stop and consider his words. What am I pointing you towards, besides some great Christmas music?

Well, imagine God was a teacher you really respected in school but were still very intimidated by, even scared of. Imagine that He pulled you aside in the hallway, with no warning, because he had something very important you needed to know. You are extremely nervous. You assume you are in trouble. To your surprise He says with a firm, prophetic, and gentle voice: “I know your heart is broken. I know you are confused. I know you don’t believe I can, but lets heal that heart of yours so that you can begin to stand in solidarity with others who feel what you have felt for so long. You are not alone. I have given the gift of music to share. Now go share it”….

I believe God put me on this planet to do something specific. To “ship” on this project represents significant ways in which I have had to begin to stop believing in the lies of my brokenness: To step out of my daydreams, drag myself off the couch, stop being jealous of what I wasn’t willing to work for, prioritize what is important to me, stop feeling guilty about asking for help,…the list goes on…Can I get an AMEN???

The scaredy-cat, crazy thoughts are continuing to loom even as I write this. I.E.Who in the world is gonna care about this anyway? What the heck am I gonna say? ETC.

I cant wait to begin sharing pics, giving lots of background info, and finally releasing something great that people can drive around in the Christmas craziness while listening in the car!!!!

Here goes nothin…;)

KJ