The Memory Tree

by Jeff Johnson

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Exploring themes of loss, grief and memory, The Memory Tree, is an inspired musical journey through life's profound contrasts of darkness and light.

Featuring –
Jeff Johnson: Keys & voice
Tim Ellis: Acoustic & electric guitars
Gregg Williams: Drums & percussion
Phil Baker: Bass
Brian Dunning: Flute & whistle
John Fitzpatrick: Violin
Jozef Lupták: Cello
Janet Chvatal: Voice
Jami Seiber: Electric cello
David Hagelganz: Saxophone
Derri Daugherty: Electric guitar


Introduction by Jeff Johnson –

"Still Dangling In This Wind & Rain"

The sunset of a Summer of grief saw six of us standing round the evergreen yew which we'd planted along with small tokens of remembrance of our friend who had died a few months earlier. It was planted as a 'memory tree' and still stands growing in my yard reminding me of things past: assurances that life - while not without pain, frustration and struggle - is a catalyst for learning what is really valuable and true.

Although, not only about grief, these songs are an extension of all the memory tree symbolizes. I offer them with humble conviction that all things are purposeful. A conviction that joy can emerge from great sadness; that light is most pronounced when one has stood in the dark; that faith and hope can rise from the ashes of longing and despair.

As I write this, a storm rages outside...

The wind blows from the southeast rustling the branches of the memory tree and rattling our windows. It is the same wind out of which God sometimes spoke to His prophets; the same wind that, in the heat of the day, withers the flower of the field; the same wind that blows on us all at some point; and, like God's Spirit, blows where it wishes.

The rain falls from the sky and runs down the hillside beyond the memory tree eventually finding its way into the passage of ocean that flows past this shore towards greater waters in the west. It is the same water in which God placed the continents; the same water with which he once swept away civilization; the same water that falls on every soul of this earth; the same water Jesus turned into wine; and the same water on which he once walked.

In the morning I expect the memory tree will still be standing. And so will I, by God's good grace and tender mercies.

Lord, Thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations,
Before the mountains were born,
Or Thou didst give birth to the earth and the world,
Even from everlasting to everlasting,
Thou art God. – Psalm 90:1-2 (NAV)


Music Reviews –

As a young boy I used to dream of what it would be like to live in the clouds, not the dark stormy rain clouds but the big white fluffy ones that dot the sky on a warm summer day. It always gave me feelings of comfort, tranquility, peace and contentment. No matter how hectic my surroundings, I could always count on my imaginary home in the clouds to shelter me. As an adult I know living in the clouds is just a young boy's fantasy. Yet, when I need to relive those feelings they are just a moment away. For over twenty years now I have found that solace in the music of a very gifted and talented musician named Jeff Johnson.

In The Memory Tree, Johnson once again weaves a magical spell of music that is sure to enchant anyone who will take the time to listen. Exploring the emotions we face in dealing with the death of a close friend, Jeff expertly takes us on a musical journey through the varying shades of darkness and light. Not since Terry Scott Taylor's A Briefing For the Ascent has the subject of death been handled so gracefully and with such dignity. Amidst the darkness of loss and pain there is a "Place Of Mercy", "Not far from here there is a place, where I can go and talk to you. And there I sit and watch the water, flowing by this place of mercy."

Accompanying Jeff on this musical odyssey is a very talented group of players and vocalists including Brian Dunning, Janet Chvatal, John Fitzpatrick and Derri Daugherty among others. To say that Jeff Johnson is a talented player and writer is a complete understatement. In my humble opinion the man is a genius who periodically invites us into his world of music and wonder. Taking a trip on the Ark is always a delight and a pleasure.
– Chris MacIntosh / The Phantom Tollbooth

credits

released May 1, 2002

Produced, engineered & mixed by Jeff Johnson
String arrangements by John Fitzpatrick

Recorded & mixed at:
The Ark / Camano Island, Washington

Additional recording at:
The Ark / Tigard, Oregon;
The Trench / Portland, Oregon
The Kung Fu Bakery Annex / Portland, Oregon
Chvatals / Cedar Hills, Oregon
Technical support: David Moore

Mastered by John Golden Mastering
www.goldenmastering.com

℗ 2002 Ark Records, Inc. / ArkMusic
Music & lyrics by Jeff Johnson except “Telegraph” music by David Hagelganz, Jami Seiber & Jeff Johnson
© 2003 Sola Scriptura Songs (BMI)
Administered by musicservices.org)
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

A special thanks to the musicians featured on this recording, Susie & Hailey, Kathy, Steve & Alice, Court & Tiffany, Dave & Jacquie and our many friends & family.

“The Memory Tree” is for all who have lost and hope to find again. It is dedicated to Brian - thank you for your music and friendship.

AKD-1512

"The Memory Tree" is also available on iTunes and Amazon.

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about

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: www.selahservice.com/2015/05/jeff-johnsons-arkmusic-discography/ ... more

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Track Name: Beautiful Sky
BEAUTIFUL SKY 2:31
Beautiful sky,
Beautiful stars,
Beautiful fire tonight.

Lights in the dark,
They burn in my heart,
Keeping my hope alive.

It was a beautiful sky,
They were beautiful stars,
A beautiful fire that night.

Like beautiful grace,
Wonderful grace,
Keeping my faith alive,
Keeping my faith alive,
It was keeping our faith alive.
Track Name: West
WEST 5:05
As far as I can see,
So vast compared to me,
So large, this world beyond,
I put my trust in Thee.

And ask the Maker of,
The earth and all above,
To keep my faith secure,
And make my motive pure.

Please make my motive pure,
And let Thy Spirit blow on me.

As far as I can see,
So vast compared to me,
So large, this world beyond,
I put my trust in thee.

And sail out on the sea,
I sail out on the sea and head into the West.

O Lord of Heaven hold,
Your strong hand over me,
Please steer my journey West,
And take my spirit home.
Track Name: I'll Look For You
I’LL LOOK FOR YOU 6:11
I look through this doorway,
Perhaps for the last time,
Out at these places I’ve known all my life.

Into my vision,
A child walks through fields,
Calling to someone that he cannot see.

I’ll look for you,
It’s all I can do.
I’ll look for you...

Now he is running,
Through trees in an orchard,
Calling to someone that he still can’t see.

I turn away,
But I’ll never forget,
All of the moments of grace I have known here...

I close this door,
And walk away.
Track Name: Place Of Mercy
PLACE OF MERCY 4:43
Not far from here,
There is a place,
Where I can go,
And talk to you.
And there I sit,
And watch the water,
Flowing by this place of mercy.

There’s nothing more,
That I could give you,
But this hope that I,
Will someday love,
And revel here,
And watch the water,
Flowing by this place of —mercy.

And someday when I come to my end,
I’ll remember my years were like days in your eyes.
But until I die,
I’ll watch the water,
Flowing by this place of mercy.
Track Name: The Memory Tree
THE MEMORY TREE 6:30
Tree of grieving, tree of tears,
All that fortifies our fears.
Tree of memory, tree of love,
All that comes down from above:
Heal.

Standing at this tree,
Thinking all about the many moments of my life,
That I have shared with you.

Looking at this tree,
Never did we ever dream that we would all stand here,
In memory of you.

Yet someday,
When hearts are finally free,
We’ll join each other’s hands,
And gather ‘round the tree.

And we’ll sing,
Of hopes now realized.
Of journeys now fulfilled,
Of stories finally told,
Someday...

Dona nobis pacem,
Pacem, Domine.
Track Name: Under Thy Wings
UNDER THY WINGS 6:03
Here,
Under Thy wings,
My soul seeks Your love.

I cry to Thee, God:
“Be gracious to me.”

Deep,
Deep in this sleep,
I dream of the dawn -
Where truth falls down like rain,
And glory fills the earth.

Here,
Under Thy wings,
Deep,
Deep in this sleep.

My heart is steadfast,
My soul seeks your love...