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