To Mother from Her Son – Lesson

January 20th, 2007 |

Here is the video I promised. It was suggested that I put out some tablature for this song but I don’t have any programs that can do tab so I just decided to do an instructional video.

The song is ‘To Mother from Her Son’ and you can download it for free from my old blog.

If anyone has any requests for more how-to videos just send me a message through my contact page.

If you would rather download this video so you can have a copy there is an mp4 version here.

Andy Sturmer Likes My Music

January 18th, 2007 |

As I’ve said many times before, Jellyfish‘s album ‘Spilt Milk’ is the greatest album ever made. The main songwriter in Jellyfish was Andy Sturmer. Andy Sturmer is probably my #1 musical hero. Unbelievable songwriter. Unbelievable singer. Just an all around genius.

Last summer I received the ultimate vote of confidence concerning my music. I didn’t say anything about it in my blog at the time because I thought it would be inappropriate to post a message sent to me in private. Who am I kidding? It’s still very inappropriate but I don’t care.

Click the picture to see what I’m talking about.

(This image is huge. If your browser resizes it to fit your browser window you may need to zoom in to read the text.)

Andy Sturmer's Message

On the off chance that you’ve never seen a message on MySpace, his original message is at the bottom, my reply is in the middle, his reply is at the top. So read it bottom to top.

If John Lennon had risen from the dead and knocked on my door just to say he liked my music it wouldn’t have had the impact on me that this did. I realize it was just a little “Ata boy”, but coming from the most influential person in my musical journey it was unbelievably cool.

Dino on MySpace

January 17th, 2007 |

Dino gave me his blessing to post his MySpace address so here it is.

There are a few samples of some of the writing he’s been doing so be sure and check it out. Dino’s been doing a lot of work lately to stretch himself as a musician and it definitely shows.

I bought a CD today that is really blowing my mind. Jonny Lang‘s new record ‘Turn Around’ is so amazing. I haven’t heard this guy since he was a teenager. Good grief! This dude is for real. Do yourself a favor and buy this album. Incredibly soulful stuff.

I put the CD in the player as soon as Riley and I got home today. I cranked it up and was just letting it play while I was casually cleaning the house. When it got to track 8 (‘Only a Man’) it stopped me in my tracks. I stood there with my mouth agape for the entire song. By the time it was over my face was covered in tears. I opened up the CD insert to find out who the girl was that was singing with him on that song. It was Nickel Creek‘s Sarah Watkins. I should have known. The last CD that made me cry at the first listening was Nickel Creek’s ‘Why Should the Fire Die?’. No lie.

So go to Jonny Lang’s site and take a minute to listen. There is an audio player on the main page and it actually sounds OK. ‘Bump in the Road’ and ‘One Person at a Time’ are the first two songs on the record so scroll through the songs and give these two a listen. Great stuff.

I’m going to be doing a bunch of work on the site over the next few days so if you check it and everything is all screwed up you’ll know why. I’ve got a bunch of ideas of things I can do here so hopefully I can roll them out soon. I’ve got some demos for my solo album that I’m going to post and I’m also going to do a little instructional video type of thing for the song To Mother from Her Son. I’ve had a few different people ask me about how that song is played so I’m going to show you. Stay tuned.

Where are they now

January 16th, 2007 |

In the comments on my first post Jeff Lehman asked where he could find Dino’s website. It’s funny that you should ask. Dino just told me this past weekend that he has his own MySpace page with some of his tunes on it. So I thought “Right on! I’ll have to be the first to check it out”. As soon as I got home I logged into MySpace to have a look. As it turns out, Dino has been a member since 8/25/2004. 2004?!? I immediately called Dino to tell him that I think we should see other people.

Dino is one of my all-time favorite people. I tell people that all the time – except Dino of course. I mean…I don’t wanna gay him out or anything. There are just some people that you know you’ll be friends with forever. Dino is one of those people for me. So I’ve said all that to say this: I know Dino well enough to know that he probably wouldn’t want me to tell everyone his MySpace address. So I’ll ask him first. But in the meantime you can check out Nate’s page. I insist that you watch the video of him and his younger brother on his main page. ‘Tis classic Nate.

Glory of Love

January 15th, 2007 |

A couple of weeks ago I posted on The Formula Kid blog that I had been working on my fingerpicking technique. I’m getting better. Here’s a video of me playing Glory of Love today. It’s starting to swing more and I’m getting the tempo closer to where it should be but there are a few flubbed notes and it’s still quite a long way from right. I’ll get there though.

Drew Johnson Online

Ecclesiastes 12:1-7

January 14th, 2007 |

I’ve been trying to talk my wife into doing a tag-team blog but she’s not really going for it yet. She used to do a blog at MySpace and her writing was so funny it made me furious. How dare she out wit me! So I’ll keep working on her and see if she’ll agree to dumb it down a smidge and dust off ye old Innerwebz and make us all jealous again.

I read a passage of the Bible the other day that left me completely stunned. I don’t think I’d ever noticed this passage before. This particular style of imagery is not something I’ve come across, at least not in the Bible. Check it out.

Ecclesiastes 12:1-7 (NASB)

1 Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near when you will say, “I have no delight in them”;

2 before the sun and the light, the moon and the stars are darkened, and clouds return after the rain;

3 in the day that the watchmen of the house tremble, and mighty men stoop, the grinding ones stand idle because they are few, and those who look through windows grow dim;

4 and the doors on the street are shut as the sound of the grinding mill is low, and one will arise at the sound of the bird, and all the daughters of song will sing softly.

5 Furthermore, men are afraid of a high place and of terrors on the road; the almond tree blossoms, the grasshopper drags himself along, and the caperberry is ineffective. For man goes to his eternal home while mourners go about in the street.

6 Remember Him before the silver cord is broken and the golden bowl is crushed, the pitcher by the well is shattered and the wheel at the cistern is crushed;

7 then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.

So if you see that show up in a song on my next album, don’t tell God I stole it.

In verse three Solomon starts describing the withered body of an elderly man. (yeah like I totally knew that) The watchmen are the arms, the mighty men are the legs, and on and on. You get the idea. Wow. Color me impressed.

Today I was asked to play and speak at a church event next month. I was told I could play a couple of songs and then tell my story. My story?!? You mean like how I was a gang-banger from the age of three? Or how I smuggled Cuban cigars “the old fashioned way” with a Chinese boy named Hector until we were jailed for 41 years in a Turkish prison where I came across a Bible while playing poker with the cook? I guess I’d better come up with something fast. I guarantee these folks do NOT want to know the truth. Nor shall they get it.

I came across this old picture of Riley and it made me laugh.

Riley Johnson

That new blog smell

January 13th, 2007 |

It looks like this new site actually works. So this will be my new blogging hangout. This blog will probably be a lot more personal than one I did at The Formula Kid site. There will still be a lot of talk about music and stuff like that of course but this will be more of a diary than a what’s-going-on-with-the-band thing.

This site is going to function a little different from the last. This will only be a blog so if you want to find music you’ll click the “Mp3 Downloads” link under the Categories over there at the left. Then all the blog posts with music will be shown. If your looking for pictures, you’ll click the “Pictures” link. You see the pattern developing here? Or if you’re interested in more pictures you can get to our Flickr page over there at the right.

I’m going to do the blog comments just like The Formula Kid blog for now. You won’t have to register or anything like that. But if I start to get a bunch of spam I may have to re-think that. I certainly hope that doesn’t happen.

I got together with Dino last night to hang out and talk about the music he’s been writing. He played me a bunch of recordings that were really cool. A lot of it was loop-based (with live drums of course), moody, groovy tunes. We’re going to be working together on some more of this same type of stuff.

We also talked about my solo album and when we could get started recording it. I’ve got a bunch of new songs but most of it is only about half way written so I’ve committed to finishing up the lyrics and arrangements before jumping into any real recording.

I don’t have any new music to post right now but I do have this mp3 of my son Riley singing. Pretty funny stuff. The first song he does is one that Angel sings to him every morning to wake him up but after that he just starts riffing and it’s hilarious.

Check it out.

Here are the two songs that were on the old site.

All I’m Living For

Fall Fights

Here are the original, full-band versions of these songs.

Fall Fights

(from the album Invention of the Wheel – Drew Johnson Band)

All I’m Living For

(from the album Without Benefit of Clergy – Koffterweid)

Since this is my first post I have to tag it in every category to get the categories to all show up under the categories header. Just letting you know why.