Stars In The Morning East – A Christmas Meditation

by Jeff Johnson & Brian Dunning

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From the opening title cut featuring Barry McGovern's reading of Patrick Kavanagh's "A Christmas Childhood" to the final instrumental reprise, here is a wonder-filled Christmas offering from Jeff Johnson and Brian Dunning. This compilation of eleven instrumentals comes on the heels of the popular, A Quiet Knowing Christmas, and features contributions by Irish fiddlers, John Fitzpatrick and Máire Breatnach (Riverdance), along with Slovakian cellist, Jozef Lupták.

Featuring –
Jeff Johnson: Keys & percussion
Brian Dunning: Flutes, whistles & accordion
John Fitzpatrick: Violin
Máire Breatnach: Viola & violin
Jozef Lupták: Cello
Tim Ellis: Acoustic guitars
Phil Baker: Bass


released September 20, 2005

Produced and engineered by Jeff Johnson
Recorded and mixed at The Ark / Camano Island, WA

Additional location recording at:
The Kung Fu Bakery Annex / Portland, OR
Bakeman Studios / Portland, OR
Coolatore House / County Westmeath, Ireland

Additional sounds by Spectrasonics

Mastered by John Golden Mastering / Ventura, CA

℗ 2005 Ark Records, Inc. / ArkMusic
Music & arrangements © 2005 Sola Scriptura Songs (BMI)
Administered by
(see individual tracks for detailed information)
“A Christmas Childhood” by Patrick Kavanagh. Used with permission.

Cover art by Kathy Hastings entitled “January”
Design by Court Patton (

Thanks to Paddy, Claire, Pip & Tracy at Grouse Lodge, Susie, Fiona & our kids.

For May, Dale, Des & Kate


"Stars In The Morning East" is also available on iTunes and Amazon.


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Jeff Johnson

ArkMusic recording artist, composer, producer, and Selah worship leader has released numerous solo recordings along with collaborations with Irish flutist, Brian Dunning inspired by Stephen Lawhead's novels and guitarist, Phil Keaggy. View Jeff's complete discography here: ... more

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Track Name: A Christmas Childhood / Stars In The Morning East
A Christmas Childhood / Stars In The Morning East (5:18)
Words by Patrick Kavanagh (1904 - 1967) from “A Christmas Childhood” (Reading by Barry McGovern)

My father played the melodeon
Outside at our gate;
There were stars in the morning east
And they danced to his music.

Across the wild bogs his melodeon called
To Lennons and Callans.
As I pulled on my trousers in a hurry
I knew some strange thing had happened.

Outside in the cow-house my mother
Made the music of milking;
The light of her stable-lamp was a star
And the frost of Bethlehem made it twinkle.

A water-hen screeched in the bog,
Mass-going feet
Crunched the wafer-ice on the pot-holes,
Somebody wistfully twisted the bellows wheel.

My child poet picked out the letters
On the grey stone,
In silver the wonder of a Christmas townland,
The winking glitter of a frosty dawn.

Cassiopeia was over
Cassidy's hanging hill,
I looked and three whin bushes rode across
The horizon - the Three Wise Kings.

An old man passing said:
‘Can't he make it talk’ -
The melodeon. I hid in the doorway
And tightened the belt of my box-pleated coat.

I nicked six nicks on the door-post
With my penknife's big blade -
There was a little one for cutting tobacco.
And I was six Christmases of age.

My father played the melodeon,
My mother milked the cows,
And I had a prayer like a white rose pinned
On the Virgin Mary's blouse.

Music by Jeff Johnson
© 2005 Sola Scriptura Songs (BMI)
Administered by