March 18, 2010

Jeff Johnson -- new video

It's no secret that I love Jeff Johnson's music. As far as I'm concerned, his is the best background music for writing I have ever heard. My iTunes library's play count confirms this. In college, Dave Zimmerman and I wore out our cassette tape of Songs from Albion and drove our other roommate Brad Reimer crazy with it (among other things), but it fueled our creative nature and allowed me to write some drivel that became the foundation of my current career.

In the years that have passed, Jeff Johnson has been one of the few artists whose output I have watched for consistently (U2 is the only other I can think of that has lasted until now). If you want to know who to blame for my work, he's one of the people. His music has pushed and pulled me through some serious writer's block; it has allowed me some serious contemplation when in both good and bad times in my life; it has transcended entertainment, with a beauty and a spirit that points to God and edifies the soul. It's uplifting, transporting, and transforming. It's Art.

Oh, and often it just sounds cool. He surrounds himself with talented musicians who perfectly compliment the mood needed for the music he wants to present.

Here's a music video he put together recently. From his e-mail about the video:

Inspired by an experience Jeff had in Rocamadour, France one early Spring morning while watching swallows swoop in and out of an old church through an open door, the production features the song from JOURNEY PRAYERSwith an opening reading in french by Jeff’s daughter, Hailey Burgess.

Here is the poem in both French and English:

Hirondelles délicates, votre vol rassemble une prière:
Au côté —
Tout autour.

Little swallows, your flight is a prayer:
Above me,
Below me,
Before me,
Behind me,
Beside me –
All around me…
It's a great video, and a great album:

~ Ben


Eric Merced said...

I think I am going to have to invest on getting that album from iTunes. That song was.... Amazing!

n0t0fth1s34rth said...

Amazing, and thank you.

Bentlee21 said...

Lets see I'm only two months late in responding to your blog but as they say, "better late..."

Thanks for reminding me of Jeff Johnson's music which I first came across in 1987 with his "Through the Door" album. If you don't have a copy try and get one. The opening track is a classic meld of sound effects and an opening monologue by an intriguing Gandalf type character that pulls you immediately into the theme of the album. I was hooked at first hearing. It was one of the albums that has since subconsciously inspired my own musical style of composing.

You are right that Jeff’s music and other “contemplative” music like his can lead one out of the valley of despair, up over the cliffs of insanity and through the door of wonder, pressing ever deeper, farther up and further in the land of creativity. I will certainly need to get reacquainted with Johnson and his music.