Drum and World Percussion Clinic

Drum & World Percussion Clinic with Dale Baker and William Johnson

Hello everyone! I am very excited about this upcoming drum clinic with my friend Dale Baker (Six Pence None the Richer, and many other notable producers, artists, and bands). The clinic is free, however there is an optional registration which includes educational resources, promotional material, and one free online lesson. To register online click the following “Add to Cart button. You may also register on the day of the clinic. 


 

Classes on

-improvisation 
-Hybrid drum techniques and setup
-cajon 
-singer songwriter techniques/setups
-history and information on various percussion instruments and rhythms from around the world. 
-acoustic setups
-percussion and auxiliary percussion in worship
-Various percussion techniques on congas, frame drums, shakers, darbuka, tabla and more.
-Percussion in the studio
-tuning
 
More information on the clinic will be added in this post soon!

Indie Harp Concert December 15

Trail of White album by indie harpist Eryn Jones Fuson

This Friday evening December 15th I will be accompanying indie harpist Eryn Jones Fuson during her CD release concert. Over the last several months Eryn has been visiting my studio to record her second album (first with original songs) Trail of White. Eryn’s album is an intimately  crafted compilation of delicate songs that showcase a raw form of musical vulnerability. From the loving affirmation of Someone’s Love, to the unashamedly candid expression of desire for marital bliss in Trail of White, Eryn holds no bashfulness in her presentation of songs each with their own unique genius touch of intentional individuality. The lyrics are honest and the instrumentation is given space to breathe plenty of personality. During the recording process Eryn’s parents traveled from Tennessee to my studio in central North Carolina to record vocals for the song West Winds. Eryn’s father wrote West Winds over thirty years ago and used to sing it to his daughters when they were children. The song speaks of grace and gratitude through the hardness of suffering as the songwriter discovers there are many others who have it much worse. What a joy it was to be a part of the experience of this family’s special moment. I felt tremendously blessed to witness it. These are the stories you often hear at dinner tables and I was grateful to be a part of yet another uniquely beautiful one. 

There are eight songs total on the album; all originals with the exception of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah. There is also one instrumental track included. Eryn played all the instruments on the album including harmonica, acoustic guitar, cello, hammered dulcimer, keyboard, and harp. I played all the percussion including some vintage drums/percussion from the 1930s and 1950s. All the instruments and vocals with the exception of a couple piano, cello, and background vocals were tracked in my studio, mixed at Sonicboost Studio by Eric Myers (Raleigh, NC http://www.sonicbooststudio.com) and mastered at GAT3 Studio in Charlotte, NC by Wade Stearns. http://www.gat3productions.com/Home.html

Mastering Trail of White at GAT3 Studio in Charlotte, NC

Eric Myers- Head Recording & Mixing Engineer at Sonicboost Studio in Raleigh, NC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It has been a joy to help produce Eryn’s latest project Trail of White. If you are in the area it would be an honor to have you join us as we play the songs from the album live at Christ Community Church in Pinehurst, NC this Friday December 15th at 7pm. 

 
220 Campground Rd, West End, North Carolina 27376

 

A year steady coming and going…

The Autumn season has come and winter is upon us. It has been a busy year for me as I have spent it writing and defending my masters thesis. I am excited to announce that I have successfully passed my thesis defense this past summer and finished the ethnomusicology graduate program at Liberty University. That being said, while my music pursuits focused upon my research writing, I was able to participate in several exciting recording projects, live performances, volunteer in school events, and serve on a few different worship teams. Below are a few highlights from the end of spring/beginning of summer including a video I participated in at the end of last year. I am not sure if I published a blog about it so I will do so here. Later this month I plan to publish a post about a few performances I participated in this Fall/Winter.  

Last December Vahagn Stepanyan released a video song production titled “So Good” on Youtube. I tracked percussion on this song and it can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W9SPzwiJFhI

So Good features Vahagn Stepanyan (Armenia) on keyboards, Eric Moore on drums, Melvin Lee Davis on bass, Feodor Dosumov (Russia) on guitar, and myself on percussion. It was mixed by Alen Konakoglu at The Kulube Istanbul, Turkey and mastered by Randy Merrill at Sterling Sound, NYC. The amount of talent on this production is astounding. From the incredible musicians to the premier video production, So Good indeed lives up to it’s namesake. Each one of the musicians on this track have amassed a hugely impressive resume performing and recording for artists such as Chaka Kan, Adele, Suicidal Tendencies, Sly & the family Stone, Don Moen and more. The cool thing about this video is all the audio parts were video recorded as the session was happening and mixed later, hence what you are seeing from each individual musician is the actual parts that were recorded giving a “live” feel. Vahagn Stepanyan has recently released another video titled Without Limits featuring some incredible musicians including one of my favorite percussionists Richie Gajate Garcia. Check it out!

With Stephen Lee Price in Winston Salem, NC.

In May I had the opportunity to glean some recording advice from the incredibly talented Stephen Lee Price. Stephen is an amazing recording engineer who has recently opened up a new recording space that is absolutely stunning. Stephen has been involved in several great projects including John Mark Mcmillan’s Live at the Knight album, Chad Lawson’s Chopin Variations, Aradhna Live in Concert, and many more. He has also contributed his engineering talent to the new Lore series airing on Amazon. My visit with Stephen was exciting for me since I was looking forward to meeting one of the integral pieces to so many beautiful projects I have been a fan of over the years. Stephen Lee Price has a way of helping instruments and vocals sound so big yet intimate. I particularly love his work on percussion and strings. Listen to the Songs of Water selections on his website (in the discography section) and you will hear precisely what I mean. Interactions such as those like my time with Stephen Lee Price is what my life has been about more and more these days. I have found over the years that technical know how, trade secrets, and networking are all important to the development of a professional in any industry, however for me just as important is getting to know the person and hence the personality behind genius. Listening, and genuine conversation through honest curiosity of discovering someone else’s story often reveals answers to questions you didn’t know to ask. I am not sure how much technical specifics I learned with my consultation with Stephen, however I sure did learn a ton about making a solid recording. For me the learning adventure never ends. Thanks Stephen!

 

Performing with Dan Rush & 7North at the Pinehurst Resort Country Club Pool in Pinehurst, NC.

Moving into this past summer; the photo above captures me playing a hybrid drum kit (yes that is a vintage suitcase I am playing as the kick drum. I currently have about a dozen of them I will be repurposing as kick/bass drums for sale) with Dan Rush and 7North. 7North is a band I play percussion for. Dan Rush fronts this incredible and energetic band based out of Pinehurst, NC. In the photo above we were performing at the Pinehurst Resort Country Club Pool cabana. It was a lively two hour set full of blues rock and pop. I look forward to playing with Dan Rush and 7North again soon! Local events (in the town I live in) have been rare for me over the last couple years however I am looking forward to hopefully changing that. If you are looking for an energy filled, family friendly live blues rock, country, and pop band with positive energy then Dan Rush & 7North is your band! 

Recording with harpist Eryn Jones Fuson.

This summer I have been working with Eryn Jones Fuson on her upcoming indie folk album in my studio here in North Carolina. There have been some beautiful and amazing moments that I have been privileged to experience. On one particular song, Eryn’s parents traveled from Tennessee in order for her father to track vocals on a song that he wrote many years ago that will be included on the album. What an honor to be a part of such a beautiful and landmark moment for this family and all who will be blessed by the song. Eryn’s project Trail of White will be released this December. I will post more about it in an upcoming blog. In the meantime you can learn more about Eryn at her website www.erynjones.com

The Ethnos Project is a compilation of worship songs in different languages from around the world including different music styles influenced by their cultural and geographical locations. I had the privilege of tracking percussion on several of the songs for the third volume. I truly enjoyed being a part of the second volume a couple years ago and this time around was no different. All of the songs are beautifully arranged and produced by executive producer Eric Lige (out of San Diego, California). Of course, a project worthy of any substantial accolade does not exist without the efforts of a support system and those adding their efforts/skills. The Ethnos Project has just that; an effective and amazing team. Actually it is more fitting to say that the Ethnos Project (Volumes) is a team. In fact, although I mentioned Eric Lige, he himself refers to “we” when speaking of the Ethnos Project. Anytime I can be a part of a project that employs a team of like minded worshippers, and talented musicians with individual sensibilities all from diverse backgrounds is a bonus in my book. All of this being said The Ethnos Project Volume 3 was additionally produced by music director Vahagn Stepanyan (Armenia 🇦🇲  ), Andy De Los Santos (USA 🇺🇸 ), and mixed by Alen Konakoglu (Turkey 🇹🇷 ). The Ethnos Project Volume 3 is truly an international project including artists and songs from five continents. The album will be released this January and available for can be preorder for the next week or so at https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-ethnos-project-volume-3-music-diversity#/  

I will write more about the Ethnos Project in detail in an upcoming blog. 

Morris Mingo is an accomplished musician out of Cincinnati, Ohio that has toured with award winning artists and recorded on Grammy nominated albums. A few months back Morris reached out to me about recording congas and various other percussion on a couple songs for his Gospel project The Time of the Minstrel. Morris’s album includes some of the finest musicians in the Gospel arena and beyond. Such artists include Gospel recording artist Darwin Hobbs, Drummer and producer Aaron Spears (Usher, Israel Houghton and many more), and many more. The list is quite extensive and overall the album is a beautiful compilation of purposeful songs. I will also write more about Morris Mingo’s album in an upcoming album very soon.

It has been a full year. I am overwhelmingly blessed and excited for more beautiful things to come; not just events or accolades but the journey of life and the relationships that I am honored to be a part of.

William

 

 

Easter Weekend & New Projects

Hello all! I am excited about new projects coming up that I have been working on! On the academic route I am still plugging away at my thesis and will be finished with my ethnomusicology M.A. this summer! I am hoping and believing this will be the year that all of the plans for a drum and percussion academy in Downtown Southern Pines will be completed and I will be able to move forward in seeing this longtime dream manifest. I am still giving lessons online via Skype and also Whatsapp. Email me at williamjohnsonmusic@gmail.com for more information about music and percussion lessons. Whether you are desiring to learn more about percussion, or even taking some lessons on improvisation and building your musical theory ability, I am happy and available to assist you on your musical journey.

I have released a new song a few months back titled Your Presence and it is available here on itunes or on the following links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Your-Presence-William-Johnson/dp/B01MY5KNZ1

CD Baby: https://www.cdbaby.com/cd/williamjohnson5

This May I will be launching a new Youtube video performance series I am titling “Three Minute Studio Sessions.” These sessions will be filmed and recorded mainly from my personal recording studio featuring various artists performing with me live including additional overdubs. The first episode is of a song called Dancing Trees and features harpist Eryn Jones-Fuson. Dancing Trees is a indie fusion song with a cinematic approach. I look forward to sharing it!

Until then my friends here is a small video clip captured from my iphone of a praise and worship song (Bless the Lord by Jermaine Rodriguez) I played percussion on at Christ Community Church in Pinehurst, NC. It was a beautiful time of worship unto the Lord!

 

If you are wanting to know more about this amazing song you can find it here!

Busy Days

DSC_3521

Last week was a beautifully busy week of music. On Saturday I was in Greensboro, NC for a rehearsal with Stephen Roach and Michael Pritchard of the band Songs of Water. The rehearsal was for a percussion trio that will be accompanying three very talented dancers during the second night of The Breath and the Clay Conference in Winston Salem. The conference features talented artists, authors, luthiers, musicians and dancers from around the country including John Mark Mcmillan, and Cindertalk. For more information visit thebreathandtheclay.com

On Sunday afternoon I performed on the djembe for the Moore County Black History Annual Celebration at the Fair Barn in Pinehurst, NC. The event was held at the Fair Barn on the Pinehurst Horse Race Track. The sun was shining and faces were smiling as the sound of the drum resonated throughout the building.

I also squeezed in a recording session and filmed a percussion performance video that I am very excited about. I will be uploading new videos soon to include music performance videos. The studio is live and kicking so if you are a singer songwriter, or have a band and interested in adding some percussion sounds and textures contact me at williamjohnsonmusic@gmail.com. I have a large collection of instruments from around the world and can record directly from my personal studio here in North Carolina.

 

Events

This past weekend I loaded up a small percussion rig in the “man-van” and headed to Southport, NC to perform for a fundraiser event. The event was held at the Southport community building which is right on the banks of the Cape Fear River where the Atlantic Ocean and the Intercostal Waterway join. I was blessed to perform with my Uncle Ciprian Garcia who was on acoustic guitar. My uncle Ciprian, or “Cip” as he is called by friends and family, moved to North Carolina from Chicago a few months back. We have since started a duo performing acoustic music styles ranging from indie singer songwriter, pop, blues, and latin. The following is a short video clip I captured on my iPhone and posted on my Instagram account. http://iconosquare.com/p/1177993689520579170_210590423 

It was a great time and the event was well attended. We were received graciously and will be playing in the Southport area again in April at Uncorked by the Sea. I will also be performing with a couple amazing percussionists including Stephen Roach of Songs of Water at the Breath & The Clay conference on Saturday March 5 in Greensboro, NC.

So far I am still pounding away on finishing my M.A. in ethnomusicology so it has been more of an academic/research season for me as opposed to constant live gigs. I am still able to practice on a regular basis (which is a part of my research an academic pursuits as well) however these days my focus has been more on instruction and research than anything else. I still play at my church and various local and regional ministries as well as studio recording sessions however. Currently I am playing at Grace church in Southern Pines. I have posted a couple photos below of me playing bongos during an acoustic set (from several months back) at the church. I love ministering with the team at Grace Church. If you are ever in the area and looking to visit a great church with friendly people then Grace Church would be a wonderful place to check out. Until next time friends!

IMG_2882 IMG_2885

 

A blessed New Years to all of you

Hello everyone! A new year is upon us and I have been busy working on new projects. Below is a photo of part of my studio. I have been working on it all year and have had the privilege of recording percussion for at least two different projects. I will post some more photos in the near future as well as updating the website with information for those interested in hiring me to record on their project. I have a vast array of traditional and custom made percussion instruments that i have been collecting and making over the last twenty years available to professionally record for your next project. I love having the ability to record right from my own space.

photo

A couple of the projects I recorded on in 2015 were “Bright” by Scott Coats and “The Ethnos Project Volume 2” produced by Eric Lige, Andy Delos Santos and Vahagn Stepanyan. I will be writing a separate review for these two projects as well as others I participated on in 2015. The last few months have been an exercise of playing catch up for me. I do feel inspired however and am excited about things to come. I am nearly finished with the first two songs from my new album! Lord willing it will be released this spring!

Well, until next time friends…

Happy New Year and may you have a blessed 2016!

Reviews & Latest Cajon Development

New Music:

Spring has arrived and here in the southeastern region of the US the flowers are beginning to bloom. With spring comes new growth  in the environment and so it seems to be the same with my music endeavors. I have been busy preparing my personal studio in order to be ready to begin recording for a couple new projects including my fourth album. I am hoping to release my next album late summer. I am also currently working on another project I am helping to produce. I am very excited about it and look forward to sharing it with the world.

Cajon:

Billy Bonham of Bonham Cajons visited my studio last month to shoot a new video for the Heartbeat for Worship Cajon. The heartbeat for Worship Cajon has continued to impress with it’s crisp highs and a powerful clean bass. The video will be released later this Spring in time for the 2015 Merl Fest (which Bonham Cajons will be represented for the second year as a vendor). To discover more about the Heartbeat For Worship Cajon visit www.bonhamcajon.com and https://youtu.be/L6xhkHKRpHY

Reviews:

Here are a couple reviews written this winter of my latest album Sacred Roots

http://www.solarlatinclub.com/william-johnson-sacred-roots/

http://www.salsa.it/recensioni_william_Johnson_sacred_roots.aspx

Lessons:

I am still currently accepting percussion students via Skype online. I teach congas, bongos, djembe, and more. For more details please feel free to contact me at williamjohnsonmusic@gmail.com

 

Travels and Music

Hello everyone! It has once again been way too long for a post update! I have a new resolution to do this much more often! I know I have said that before so let’s see how I do this year…

I have been super busy, and that has so far been a good thing. I recently traveled to California to visit family and friends. Of course I always try and do something musical when away from home, even when I am not traveling for some musical business. I was blessed to be able to visit a friend and musical colleague Alex Anders. I would have been happy enough just to have lunch with Alex and catch up, but I surely was not going to turn down a visit to one of his work spaces for the television show Glee! Below is a photo of me, my wife, one of my children, and Alex in Studio A at Capitol Records in Hollywood, CA.

My latest album Sacred Roots has been receiving great reviews so far. The project is also on the grammy ballot this year as a Contemporary Instrumental album. We find out very soon whether or not it will be officially nominated for a Grammy. To read an excellent review of Sacred Roots check out Michael Fors blog about it at http://insideworldmusic.blogspot.com/2014/08/cd-review-william-johnsons-sacred-roots.html

This past weekend I played a hybrid percussion kit for an acoustic worship set at Christ Community Church in Pinehurst, NC. Three services of truly memorable conversations, music, and worship. Below are a couple photos of the kit I played on.

photo 3

At Capitol Records in Hollywood, CA (In Studio A) with my wife, one of my children, and Alex Anders

photo 1

Hybrid kit setup at Christ Community Church

photo 2

Hybrid kit setup at Christ Community Church

 

Updates

Hello friends!
I have been quite busy lately with music and life in general. My new CD “Sacred Roots” (Raices Sagrado) will be released August 12th!
Sacred Roots
You can also watch a music video of the song “Como el Viento” from the album.

Also I still give percussion (congas, cajon, djembe, etc.) lessons online. Below is a recent video teaching series for learning the cajon in a contemporary setting. So if you would like to learn the congas, cajon, and more contact me at williamjohnsonmusic@gmail.com. I look forward to hearing from you!

William



Warning: Illegal string offset 'background' in /home/wjmadmin/public_html/wp-content/plugins/ilc-allground/ilc-cpt.php on line 316