Practice Makes Peeved

December 2nd, 2009 |

Tonight we were working with Riley on his catechism questions and there was one question with which he was having a particularly hard time. He kept saying it over and over but would miss a couple of words every time. He was getting very frustrated so I thought I’d offer some encouragement.

Drew: Hey buddy, don’t get frustrated. That’s what practice is all about. You know how when daddy is practicing his saxophone he has to play the same thing over and over and over?

Riley: Yeah, it’s really annoying.

The Lost Recordings Found

December 1st, 2009 |

Major score at the Johnson house tonight – I finally found all of my old, old recordings that I thought were lost forever.

I was digging around in the don’t-go-back-there room of our basement looking for a sax mouthpiece that I used to have. I picked up one of the five hundred boxes of random junk and opened it up to see some cassettes labeled “Gadfly” and “Journal of Commons” and “The Influence.” My heart lept. I ran the box of tapes out to my car since that’s the only cassette player I have around here. Sure enough, these were the tapes I’d been looking for for years.

About once every six months I have a panic attack about the fact that I have lost all of the recordings from a seven or eight year period of my life. Then I go tearing the house apart looking for those tapes. I’ve even emailed a few people who I thought might have copies of the stuff but never had any luck, until today when I wasn’t even looking for them.

These recordings range all the way from my very first band’s (The Influence) very first studio demo all the way to the solo stuff I recorded when I first moved back from Nashville, to the first band I formed (Journal of Commons) where I was the front man.

Some of this stuff is alarmingly bad. Some of it is pretty good though wildly misguided. As soon as I get my hands on a cassette player that will allow me to transfer the stuff into my PC I’ll get it posted here so you can check it out.

Thanksgiving 2009

November 29th, 2009 |

We just got back from our annual Thanksgiving trip to Georgia and I thought I’d post a few of the pictures.

Here’s me and Angel at her mom’s house.

This is Angel’s mom Connie giving Riley a reverse facelift.

This is Uncle Matt teaching Riley to hunt.

This is Lilly trying to sleep standing up in the car.

This is Molly trying to sleep while high-fiving in the car.

Formerly Known As Smudge

November 5th, 2009 |

The unidentified creature we added to the family a while back has turned out to be a cat. We thought for a while that it might be a male miniature wookiee but no such luck. Her name is now Molly.

Here is Lilly guarding her while she sleeps.

In our home we have always sought to create a safe haven for video game addiction. To show our commitment to such lofty ideals we encouraged Riley to be Mario for Halloween. A boy after his dad’s own heart.

New mp3 – Album Sampler

November 2nd, 2009 |

One of my readers emailed me today to remind me that I have a website and it’s starting to smell a bit musty.

I’ve been extremely busy recording for the past few months and for whatever reason have failed to give any sort of updates on what’s been going on. So I put together a small sampler of some of the things I’ve been recording.

On this mp3 the first clip you’ll hear is the sax trio from the bridge of “The Temptress”.

The second clip is the piano part (played by Jeff Lehman), guitar part, and Melotron part to “Wait Child Wait”.

The third clip is the Wurlitzer piano and the horn section to the chorus of “Written for You”.

The last clip is some of the strings (with the drums and everything else turned way down) to “The Groom and the Bride”.

Click here to download the mp3.

I hope you like it.

Sweet Hour of Prayer – New mp3 available

September 18th, 2009 |

Since I became one of the song leaders at our church I have learned many phenomenal old hymns that I had never heard before. One that really blows me away is “Sweet Hour of Prayer.” An absolutely beautiful hymn in every way.

I decided on the way home from work today that I wanted to record my own rendition of this classic tune. From the first time I heard it I thought it would sound great played in an old, lamenting folk style so that’s how I approached it on this recording.

I hope you like it.

Download the mp3 here.

Here is a wonderful, traditional version by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Stunning.

Smudge

September 12th, 2009 |

The newest addition to the Johnson family is reportedly a cat but we think it might be some sort of rat or possibly a miniature Wookiee. His/her (sex determinitaion coming soon) name is Smudge.

Smudge is a farm cat/rat/Wookiee that had basically been abandoned by its mother. Apparently she was also unable to determine its species. So we (Angel) decided that we would take it in and do our part to save its life. Then possibly someday return it to its planet of origin.

Presenting Smudge.

Piano Peace

September 6th, 2009 |

Recently Riley and I have been doing some rather interesting experiments with MIDI programming. I have been teaching him to create music using only a visual method. I open up one of my virtual pianos and then let him draw the notes on a MIDI grid. He’s tried things such as drawing a smiley face on the grid and then we play it back to see what a smiley face sounds like. We’ve also spelled out our names and then played them back. It’s been pretty fun. Some of the results were interesting and some were just a complete mess.

One of the short pieces we “wrote” sounded really cool so I decided to develop it into something a bit more coherent. I’ve spent a couple of hours on it the past day or so and it think it came out really nice. Check it out.

Piano Peace

Lenore 1995 – 2009

September 1st, 2009 |

Yesterday was a rough day. I had to take our cat Lenore to be put to sleep. She had gotten extremely sick over the past week and her liver shut down so she was turning yellow. She had stopped eating and couldn’t hardly walk at all.

Lenore was Angel’s and my first pet as a couple. She was probably the only cat I ever liked. She was kind of the perfect cat. Which means she was more like a dog than a cat.

It wasn’t the first time one of my pets has had to be put down but it was the first time that I actually had to take it to be done. Angel was really torn up about the whole thing so she didn’t go with me to the vet. It was so strange walking in with a great cat and then walking out ten minutes later with a dead one.

I brought her home and buried her right behind the fence. The three of us stood over her grave while I said a prayer thanking God for allowing us to have her for so long. Then we cried a lot.

I miss her.

The Day in Arkansas

August 24th, 2009 |

Last Saturday we did a down-and-back trip to Arkansas for me to play in the Satisrocktion music festival. The festival was in Mountain Home Arkansas right near Norfork Lake. Good grief that area was beautiful. Wowie zowie!

We had a great time. My cousin Marc was the organizer for the whole thing and he really did a great job. I usually only get to see Marc once or twice a year so it was nice to hang out for a bit and catch up.

My performance was serviceable at best. I hadn’t played a live show in a few years so I was a bit on the rusty side but Angel said I sounded great so I’ll take her word for it, even though she says that every time I play whether I actually sound great or not.

Angel took a bunch of really nice pictures throughout the day. The best ones were taken out the car window at 65 mph. Some were taken out the passenger window and some were taken out the driver’s side window while leaning over me and blocking my view of the road.

Here are the pictures that were taken from the moving car.

Obviously the next two were not taken from a moving car.

Here’s one from the performance.

This last one was taken that night after we got home. Now that Riley has a loft bed Lilly doesn’t get to sleep with him any more, at least until she learns to climb a ladder. So we let her and Riley fall asleep in our room until Angel and I were ready for bed. Angel came upstairs to check on them and here’s what she found.