New Song!

New song up on iTunes, youtube, amazon, and everywhere else that streams music!

Watch the video here and keep an eye out for a giveaway soon!!!! You might not want to miss this one!

Custom Painted Cajon

Recently I commissioned an incredibly talented artist by the name of Amy Smith to paint one of my cajon drums! Below is a video and a few photos of the process. Amy is a talented artist. I have listed her website below. If you are interested in doing something like this you should definitely reach out to her. Amy will be showcasing her art at the Breath and the Clay Art Conference this March 22-24 in Winston Salem, NC. I will be in attendance and performing with Stephen Roach, Molly Skaggs and many more that Friday March 22 2019. Learn more at http://www.thebreathandtheclay.com

Custom Painted Cajon
The painting and mockup
Getting prepped!

Before
With the Artist Amy Smith

http://www.amysmithart.com

New Song!

New Song The Road

In just a few short days I will be releasing a new song titled The Road. The Road is the first of a stream of songs I will be releasing approximately every month leading up to my album this summer. I have been working on this new song since early fall. This song was originally born out of a dream I had during a tough transitional time in my life. I dream vividly nearly every night and often anytime I close my eyes and fall asleep for that matter… regardless of the length of time. In the last forty years I have had countless dreams. Many have been forgotten, however some stick with me. This is one of the few that remain vivid. Along the way I have had a number of help and collaborators to bring this vision to life. To mention a few are:

Dimitris Sevdalis (Athens, Greece) on keys, Shekinah Rodz (France) on flute, Paul Everett (NC, USA) and Josh Mann (NC, USA) on Guitar

Mixed by Eric Myers for SonicBoost Studio and mastered online at LANDR.

All vocals and percussion was recorded by yours truly. What an adventure. I mentioned the musicians but amongst others instrumental along this particular journey are those who walked beside me during the time of the dream. I will be sharing more about this song shortly after the release in just a few short days. Be sure to visit the site this weekend as I announce the release date!

Here is a little preview.

Behind the Scenes

Hello friends,

Lately I have been doing more “behind the scenes” work. I mean this in the sense of public vs. in the studio work. I recently finished a relatively good stretch of gigs and worship events this past year of 2018 but have been slowly moving towards doing more in my personal studio as well as focusing on some projects I have been putting off for a while. Two of which are my next album and an academic/tutorial book about percussion. I love working for other artists and laying down percussion in the studio but is uniquely special now that I am getting back to my projects and re-branding as an artist. Below is a link to my YouTube page. I have been uploading there somewhat frequently. Also I have tons to share here on the blog so keep an eye out!

Check ou the YouTube Channel @ youtube.com/williamjohnsonmusic

Bring on the Winter

It is December already! I have been in full swing in the “creator” mode as I focus on my Youtube channel, and new music. Here are a just a few glimpses of what I have been up to lately. 

Eryn Jones Fuson recording some amazing harp parts on a new song of mine! I will be releasing one new song a month starting in January-April leading up to my fourth solo album release in the Spring!

This fall I worked with the Pinecrest high school marching band front ensemble. What an amazing experience. This was my first time working with a marching band and the percussion went undefeated the whole season! I initially accepted the position to be a help to the students but in classic story-like fashion it was they (the students) who truly blessed me. What a joy it was to be a part of their journey.

With the Band Director Eugene Cottrell (behind me) drum-line instructor Evan Spivey (far left) and a few of the percussion students.

I have continued to do session work through the fall on some really cool songs like the one I was working on in this photo for The Point Church in Raleigh, NC.

My Youtube page is in full effect! I am posting three videos a week for the month of December. Check it out! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZX0yGZeoSdswZjURPlhrPg?view_as=subscriber

November 10th I participated in the second East Meets West concert. This concert was held in the Charlotte area at Morning Star Church. Josh Baldwin from Bethel Music flew out and opened up the concert with a couple of his beautiful songs. I could go on and on about this whole group of people. I was really excited to be with all of them as they have become friends (I don’t use the term friends in this context lightly). You can learn more about the East Meets West concert and ministry here: https://www.ksministry.org/the-middle-east

Well, there has been much more going on, however I just wanted to let you all know about a few beautiful things that have transpired and will be happening in the near future!

Summer closes…

 

This summer has been full of great musical memories. Below are a few photos from a few highlights over the last couple months.

Virginia Beach, VA

I am not much of a fan of busy beaches however I did get a chance to catch a beautiful sunrise, dolphins (on my last day there), and of course take in some good music. 

Virginia Beach sunrise view from my hotel.

 

Poseidon at dusk. Virginia Beach

Moravian Falls, NC

What an enchanting place. I had planned on making a separate post for my time with Suzy and Kamran Yarai this past August however here are a few photos from my time there. I had the beautiful privilege of reuniting once again with the “East meets West” team to record a few songs for the television program that is broadcasted in Iran. Suzy and Kamran (and team) took such wonderful care of us that week. They exemplified  the way to make musicians feel comfortable for a week of recording and making music. We stayed at a beautiful lodge with breathtaking views and were treated to homemade lunch and dinner (amazing Persian food!) every day. What a beautiful time of fellowship, music making, and worship. 

 

Part of the view from the lodge. This was just a short distance from where we were recording.

 

Mohammed preparing breakfast. Mohammed is one of the musicians in the band (a couple of the songs we were performing are his original songs. Mohammed was born and raised in Iran and currently based out of Dallas, Texas) and volunteered himself to wake up early every morning to fix breakfast. This dude is a real gem.

 

Patio view at the lodge.

 

Talking with Don Potter. What an incredible musician and encouraging soul. Don is a legend in the music world with decades of experience and wisdom. His fingers truly tell a story when he is playing and he speaks with a gentle yet confident tone.

 

At the recording space… Suzy and Kamran’s home! What an honor.

 

Round table (or round floor) discussion; preparing for the band interviews.

 

Looking at Stephen Roach’s corner.

 

Maestro Luke Skaggs and the Afghanistan rebab. Luke… incredible musician.

 

My corner.

 

Another view… and Cassie Campbell taking a sip of some go juice (coffee y’all).

 

The dinner table at the lodge. There is a song by Jason Upton called “Every table is an altar.” When I hear that song I am transfixed by the Holy Spirit and images/memories of times sitting or standing around a table with friends and family. This table… this table was alive that week. It was surrounded with laughs, tears, prayers, prophecies, silence, songs, great food (of course haha), dancing, and most of all… love. I was a bit overwhelmed with what this week had done for me. I was not expecting it. I was starting to get burned out. Surely I was looking forward to the time with these great people, but honestly I did not expect to have my heart that filled.That week gave me a better understanding of why Jesus broke the bread, and why it is written about the disciples going from house to house and “breaking bread.” A lot of beautiful “bread breaking” or fellowship happened at this table. In my opinion this table was a central piece of that week. The attention to detail and the love that went into it was breathtaking.

 

Michael Pritcher’s place. Great setup and excellently played/executed.

 

Ngoni and a custom drum I made… setting some ambiance.

 

Percussion

 

Another beautiful view. Ahhh.

Below is a link to a small video clip ( taken from my iPhone) of me playing with the team.      

 IMG_0116 2

 

New Instructional Videos

 

On my YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/john5699 I have uploaded several new instructional videos.

 

61st FYC Grammy Submissions

This Grammy season (61st) I have a few submissions. If you are a Grammy voting member or know one it would be my honor for you to listen and consider the music. 

Best Gospel Album: Morris Mingo “The Time of the Minstrel”

 

Best Folk Album: Eryn Jones Fuson “Trail of White”

 

Best R&B song: Desmond Myers, “VHS (Best Life Today)”

 

Best Childrens Music Album: Mister G “Fireflies”

 

A summer full of worship

 

This photo was taken by Katie Lyon at Grace Church in Southern Pines. The last couple months I have been blessed to help lead worship at several different churches in the region.

 

Recording with my friend Mister G.

I know I added this photo previously but here it is again. Mister G is a Latin Grammy winning Childrens music artist. Both he and his wife are also some of the nicest people you will ever meet. Such big hearts.

Here are a couple clips of the session via my Instagram feed.

New Music on the Way

This fall/winter I will be releasing my fourth album! Here is a clip of me working on some ideas for a new song. 

Art Show

last week I participated in an art show exhibiting some of my work and playing a little music with my friend Zach Pessagno.

 

I recently started working with a local high school (Pinecrest Highschool) marching band. I am helping to instruct the Pitt crew. I have already grown attached to them. Marching band is something new to me, however like most things I do, I have thrown myself into it and enjoying the challenge.

 

Yup, lots of great stuff this summer. It has been full of beautiful moments.

William

Recent events: May 5-June 23rd 2018

The last several weeks has been full of unique music & ministry experiences. I started to make this post solely about events that took place in the month of June, however I decided to add a few memorable weekends of May as well. Most of my blog posts are music related hence some of the very special moments that are more personal and not necessarily music related (such as this year’s mother’s day) are left out… just in case anyone was wondering. I have been blessed to experience many intimate moments in worship, music and beautiful conversations with friends old and new. The last month and a half has been full of such beautiful moments.

May 5-6th: Christ Community Church, NC

I love going to Christ Community Church. I usually bring at least one different instrument each time I go (not intentionally however). For this particular Sunday I brought the “Blue Beauty” vintage suitcase kick and my Gretsch contoured wood hoop snare. I decided to play standing up for the three services, so I placed the snare on my bongo stand base to raise it up. It was a great thought and it allowed me a freedom to dance around a bit, however my left leg was getting a serious workout (as it was supporting nearly all my weight). Weekends at CCC are always special. May 5th was no different. 

May 19th, 2018; Lynchburg, VA

Graduation ceremony! I finished my masters of arts in ethnomusicology this past November however I participated in this Spring’s commencement activities. Graduation on just about any level is emotional; especially when their are moments when you doubt it will ever happen. Ideally I would have completed my degrees prior to marriage and children. Life however, takes twists and turns. Often these transitions turn (no pun intended) out to be the best for us. Completing this program as a father has been more meaningful to me then I could have ever imagined. I have been able to witness the support of my family in such potency that I had no other choice but to be emotional. To participate in the graduation ceremony in the new music concert auditorium was a treat to say the least. Liberty’s new concert auditorium is one of the most state of the art facilities in North America. To read more about it visit here .

The ceremony started off with praise & worship, and a couple moving remarks. It was the final prayer that moved me the most. The music program has made a tradition of having the graduates find their families and pray with them. I had personally never experienced any program do that at a graduation. The dean of the music department gave a disclaimer that it may take a while however the program felt it was an important moment and one that should be done with those closest to the graduates. Although I was blessed to be there with my family, even if I wasn’t, I have to admit that the staff and fellow classmates truly felt like family. 

June 3rd; The Point Church- South Raleigh Campus

On June 3rd I served with the beautiful folks of the South Raleigh Point Church campus. I have been friends with the worship pastor Matt Granger for years now and it has been a wonderful experience to worship with him, his wife, and the entire worship team, staff and congregation. The Point Church has several campuses in the Triangle region of NC and I have had the privilege of serving at a couple of the locations. Such big hearts. I really enjoy my time at the Point. You can find the live broadcast from the service here .

June 8-10, East meets West Worship Concert with Suzy & Kamran Yaraei, Awake Church, Winston Salem NC

The beginning of June held so many beautiful moments. The East Meets West worship concert was surreal. The thing I will take away the most from this weekend was the time of fellowship with friends old and new. I hesitate to even write about it since there was so much to speak about. To have the privilege to minister songs in both English and Farsi (and soon Arabic) in a worship context makes my heart beat for joy. The years I spent in the Middle East were special to me. I have always felt a connection to many of the people and cultures from various nations within the larger region often referred to as the Middle East. Well, honestly I just love people in general… but that being said I have often felt an intimate connection with the music, architecture, landscapes, food (of course the food…and coffee! yum yum goodness), music, and the heart of the many kind people. I would be lying if I said it was all good. Of course, I did experience difficult times as I traveled across the Middle East, however, in this life we don’t have to travel far to experience hardship. All of the people in the photo above have some type of special connection to who I am and who I am becoming. It was great getting to know and connect with such talented musicians and all around good human beings. The photo is only a snippet however; there were so many more beautiful souls with talent oozing from every part of their being. When I minister, or perform somewhere, I like to get out and meet the people amongst the crowd. We all get to take our turns being “someone in the crowd,” and we all have very special stories (yes, you too my friend). This particular weekend did not disappoint. I met so many wonderful new friends and heard some great stories. Below are a few photos from the concert by Garrett Lee Walker. You can view more of his incredible work at https://gwphoto.myportfolio.com/work

Stephen Roach playing the Santoor

John Mark Leading with his wife Sara Mcmillan moments prior to the East meets West Concert

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Me on shakers & congas.

 

Mohammad Gholami singing

Suzy & Kamran Yaraei

      

Shelly Tackett, Molly Williams & Sarah McMillan

Luke Skaggs on the Afghanistan rebab

Luke Skaggs on Saz

Michael Pritchard on the drums

Don Potter on acoustic & Cassie Campbell on fretless bass

 

June 19th, 2018, Thomasville, NC

Mills Home Baptist Church, Thomasville NC

On June 19th or Juneteenth (what I prefer to call it. If you are not familiar with this saying it is the day many celebrate the emancipation of Black slaves in the United States.) I had the privilege to lead a group of boys from the Cameron Boys Camp in an original drum composition in front of all of the Baptist Homes of NC staff and members during their ministry reunion day event. I had been working with the boys for a few weeks on this event and it was a true success. I know the boys will remember this day for the rest of their lives, however they are not the only ones; I will too. I love what I do, and I love when I get the opportunity to pour into the lives of others. About six or seven hundred people poured into the church and the boys totally rocked it! They were so proud of themselves, as well they should be. 

 

June 23rd  at Thagards Lake, Whispering Pines NC

I put together a fantastic trio to provide music for a private event (Meese Property Group Summer Event). How often do you get to play a trio of harp, electric upright bass, and percussion on a beautiful lake? This was a fun day. Thank you Meese Property Group for the invite. If you are looking to buy or sell a home check out Meese Property Group in NC. https://meesepropertygroup.com 

Well, I could go on and on… until next time!

Will

The latest

It is a beautiful Monday morning here in central North Carolina as I sit at my desk writing this blog post. Currently the sun is shining brilliantly outside and the spring blossom of flowers outside my studio window is as welcoming as it gets. I have had the blessed privilege of participating in some really nice events over the last several weeks and just wanted to post an update  since there is more soon to come! In the photo above I am accompanying the Sandhills Classical Christian School choir for their Spring concert. I truly enjoy working with young people. I continue to have the opportunity to volunteer and work with students  of all ages and it is highly rewarding for me to say the least. I consider it a calling. One of the greatest rewards for me is when I become a part of another family’s life by sharing in their special moments. In these times I get the precious opportunity to become a part of their life as a fond memory and for the student, hopefully a landmark of some sort that promotes/evokes passion, continued pursuit of education, creative freedom in expression, etc. Some even go on to be inspired to play an instrument and that is truly humbling to me. The following day after this event I participated in an after school program anniversary fundraiser dinner and accompanied a young man who is an aspiring musician himself. What a joy and a blessing for me to have these opportunities. I feel blessed that they come often. Sometimes I have to pause to recognize the significance of the moment. My life is busy with being a full time musician, a husband, and father. It is quite easy for me to look at it as just another event. Each event however, is intimately attached to people, and therefore more important than often possible to recognize. I try not to take it for granted and stay spiritually and emotionally engaged (present). 

A couple weeks ago I also played at the Pinehurst Resort Country Club in the ballroom. What a beautiful evening of music making and socializing. I put together a trio of world percussion, harp, and violin. It was an amazing time. There were several technical difficulties concerning my PA system but we managed to make our way through it and received positive feedback and more importantly created new beautiful memories. The music was described by some as an entertaining relaxing warm hug. I can’t complain with that!

This past weekend I ministered on percussion at Christ Community Church here in the Pinehurst area. I am blessed to minister at CCC on occasion throughout the year. Outside of where I regularly worship and serve, Christ Community has become like a second ministry home. Of course I mean this in no disrespect to the other amazing and beautiful ministries that I also serve at. I mainly speak in terms of frequency, locality, and the many new friends made over the last couple of years. I truly love it there and always feel welcomed. I was at CCC this past Easter and it was nice to return again this past weekend. I decided to use a slightly different setup than I normally do. I even switched roles as I was playing with a percussionist. I am usually the one on auxiliary percussion or additional percussion (not the drum set role). This time I was filling the “drum set” roll. It was a beautiful weekend. I pray I never get over looking out over a congregation and seeing people sing, raise their hands, dance, cry, laugh with full joy, etc. There are moments as I am playing that I barely feel the work of my own limbs making music and I am just praising God and witnessing the moment as through a window. It is a gift that I do not feel worthy of. 

For the rest of May I will be focusing on practicing, my YouTube channel and preparing for a ministry event with Suzy and Kamran Yaraei on June 9th, 2018 in Winston Salem, NC. It is a concert/fundraiser event. I will be on percussion with my friends Stephen Roach, Luke Skaggs, and Michael Pritchard from the Songs of Water Band. Below is a link to the event. This will be an amazing time. If you are able to attend I highly recommend it!

http://www.suzyyaraei.com/itinerary/

 

Here is a link to my latest YouTube video. It is part of my Three Minute Studio Session Series. It features Eryn Jones Fuson on harp, Crystal Scott on background vocals, and David Johnson on strings. The song “Dancing Trees” was mixed by Neil Brown and mastered by GAT3 studio in Charlotte, NC. 

Live After Five

Last Friday I had the privilege of backing up indie harpist Eryn Jones Fuson at the Live After Five Concert Series in the village of Pinehurst, NC. The sun was shining and the crowd full! We opened up for the band Night Years (I have added a link to their website below). Here is a couple shots from the show including an article from The Pilot newspaper.

http://www.thepilot.com/gallery/season-kickoff-for-concert-series-draws-crowd-in-pinehurst/collection_2a80269a-419b-11e8-ac8d-ef2bd86d1a44.html#2

 

Night Years Band website below:

Home

YouTube Videos

Hello everyone! This is just a quick blog post to let you know that I am back on YouTube in full swing! For the last five weeks I have been uploading a new video every Saturday morning. Currently the regularly scheduled videos published every Saturday are cajon lessons however I will also be uploading other percussion tutorials and performance videos like the one below!

Also I uploaded my first product review last week! I will be doing product reviews regularly!

Below is a video of a review for the Soundbrenner Pulse Metronome.

 

If you have any suggestions for videos feel free to shoot me an email at williamjohnsonmusic@gmail.com

Thanks for reading and watching!