After a summer hiatus and a busy beginning to fall, the Arts Connection blog is back with a look at Winnipeg singer/songwriter Jaylene Johnson’s new CD Potter & Clay.
While Johnson’s name may not be recognized by some, she’s been writing and recording music since 1999, received five GMA Covenant Award nominations and a Western Canadian Music Award Nomination.
But, since 2004 she’s faced a number of challenges including a head-on accident on the TransCanada Highway and the near-loss of her voice. Potter & Clay puts into song the lessons she’s learned through those trials and tribulations.
Potter & Clay is probably one of the most introspective CDs I’ve heard in recent days.
It’s probably one of the most introspective CDs I’ve heard in recent days, leading off with lyrics like “There are things I’ve done I never should’ve done/Things I’ve said I never should have said” from the lead track “Fallin’.
The introspection continues with songs like “How Long” (“Who led me to this desert/Was it me or was it You/Am I being punished/For what I did or didn’t do”), “Find Us” (“Find us in our failures/Where we’ve been thrown back to the start/Find us as we question/All the things we used to know”) and “Pray, Pray Again” (“Pray when you’re troubled/Pray when you’re tired/Pray when you’re empty/Sad or uninspired”).
But…underlying this introspection, which I suggest will resonate with most, if not all, of the CD’s listeners, Johnson portrays an overarching sense of hope and trust in God: “Fallin’ into the arms of mercy” (“Fallin'”), “I believe that You are faithful/All-knowing and all-wise/I’ve seen Your mercy moving/Through the corners of my life” (“How Long”), “Find us in the shadows/Find us in the dark/Find us in the corners/Where we don’t think You’d ever go” (“Find Us”) and “We don’t know when/But God’s gonna answer/ Pray, pray again” (“Pray, Pray Again”).
Adding to the beauty of Johnson’s lyrics are production values second to none. Johnson co-produced Potter & Clay with Murray Pulver and created a soundscape that varies from the dulcet tones of “One Tiny Prayer,” “Let the Silence Speak” and “Potter & Clay” to the bluegrass tones of “Pray, Pray Again” and the folk/country of “Fallin'” “How Long” and “This Little Light.”
It’s hard to peg Johnson with any one particular musical style. She has a voice that’s easy on the ears, music that will have you tapping your toes one time and reaching for the tissue the next and lyrics that will touch your soul. Potter & Clay is a CD that will resonate with anyone who has, at any point, looked at their life and asked God “why?”
For more information on Jaylene Johnson and the Potter & Clay CD go to http://www.jaylenejohnson.com/
To listen to the Arts Connection interview with Jaylene Johnson go to http://artsconnection.ca/content/arts-connection-monday-july-11-2016-jaylene-johnson-potter-clay-cd