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Music Review: Songs from Along the Way

Bethany’s CD has been out for a little over a week and its been in steady rotation in the Johnson household since it arrived at our doorstep.  And so here is my attempt at a “music review”.

Bethany has many accomplishments along her musical journey.  She has played her own bridesmaid entrance processional (i.e. playing while walking).  She has played in a faux backup band for Kellie Pickler and Taylor Swift (i.e. playing while acting).  She has played the Rankin County Barnyard Opry (i.e. playing while keeping a straight face).  But this CD – ‘Songs from Along the Way’… this is my favorite yet.


First, the album packaging and photography are lovely.  Having grown up with her, hotglueing faux fur to house slippers and whatnot, my first reaction opening the package was along the lines of ‘oh wow this is really a legitimate product.’  It was even shrink-wrapped.  But I mean really, I would expect no less. The music though – Guys, it is killer.  I’m not just saying that because the artist is one of my closest friends on the entire planet.  Seriously.

The whole CD is enjoyable from start to finish.  Bethany is rocking it on the violin, and the guitar and piano players are no slouches. The guitar provides a steady driving undertone, harmonic complements come from the piano, all the while Bethany’s violin soars fast and free, up and down, in and out.  Little bits of added percussion here and there tie it all together.

The more upbeat tracks leave you with no choice but to tap your foot and nod your head, at a minimum.  Those less inhibited (3 year olds especially) will break into an all-out jig.  The lively party tracks are balanced out by several slower, more introspective passages.  Among my favorites of these is #4 Ashokan Farewell – so much emotion wrapped in there like only a violin can deliver.

This is perfect music to have playing in the background during a dinner party.  Your guests will think you’re smart for listening to instrumental music.  Other recommended uses:  Saturday morning cleaning, airplane takeoffs and landings, and while reviewing endless Excel spreadsheets.  Basically I haven’t found an inappropriate venue yet.

So there you have it.  I’m giving Bethany’s freshman album ‘Songs from Along the Way’ a big 5 stars for excellence all around.  Buy one and see for yourself.

Today’s Big Cover Story: Album Art Reveal

Sometimes when I blog it’s last minute.  It’s something that comes to mind and I sit down and type it out and post.  But sometimes that blog has been brewing for a long while.  These blogs are usually about some big event that I’m looking forward to, and then there’s extra delight in knowing that I can bring it to you all after it happens.  Like when I ran my first half marathon.  Or lost ten pounds.  Today’s blog is one of those blogs.  Today, I bring you the cover art of my album.  I feel like a proud Mama, even though the real Mama in this story is Alexis (Goodman) Ward of The Visual Republic.

Check out Alexis' work here!

Check out Alexis’ work here!

Alexis was originally a “Friend-In-Law” (as I like to call them); one of a fantastic group of long-time friends of Keith’s that I “inherited” when we started dating and then got married.  I loved so much getting to know all of my husband’s friends and the process of them becoming MY friends.  They are dear, dear friendships.  Keith and Alexis had been friends for years, and we hit it off early on (Lex is one of those folks that instantly makes you feel comfortable, valuable and well-liked from the second you meet her.)  Since then we’ve traveled and had many adventures together including camping in Yosemite together just a month or so ago.  Anyhow, Alexis is amazing on a professional level as well…in fact most recently, a CD cover of hers was up for a Dove Award which is pretty awesome.  All that being said, when doing my own album became a reality, I knew that she was the girl to make it look pretty and she did just that.  So without further adieu, I give you the album cover!

"Songs From Along The Way: A Live Recording" album. Cover Art Design by Alexis Ward of The Visual Republic.

“Songs From Along The Way: A Live Recording” album. Cover Art Design by Alexis Ward of The Visual Republic.

Remember…if you would like to pre-order a copy of the CD, you can do so by clicking on the graphic link below.  PreOrder sales are our way of funding the album so every CD purchased goes a long way!  Thank you so much for your support!  And if you ever need some mad graphic design skills….be sure to get in touch with Alexis @ The Visual Republic!

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Songs From Along The Way

Today is a red-letter day for me (as my Mom would say)….the day that I announce the secret project that I’ve been working on.  It’s one that’s been a long time coming…my first CD!  It’s been a dream for such a long time and it’s never worked out either due to timing, finances, logistics, or even fear.  But as I write this to you, the mixes are about 50% done, the album art is being designed and it’s a done deal.  And I couldn’t be more excited!

Some of you may remember when I played a show in Greensboro, North Carolina back in August.  Well, from that has come a live-recorded album of ten songs that I can’t wait to share with you.  It feels weird to describe one’s own style of playing, but I’d say it’s a little bit bluegrass, a little bit celtic, and a little bit pretty.  And anyone who has already heard snippets of the tunes all seem to say it’s the sort of thing they’d want playing on the stereo while they cook dinner or something.  Although I’m certainly no Sarah Watkins, think Nickle Creek without the vocals and all the extra instruments and that’ll give you sort of a good idea of what I’m going for.

The album has been titled “Songs From Along The Way: A Live Recording” and was recorded/engineered  in one take at Hope Chapel in Greensboro by Matt McKay and Griffin Kale.  It’s a collection of songs that have become favorites of mine over the 29 years I’ve been playing violin.  It’s all good stuff from different seasons of life and I hope you all love the songs as much as I do.

My dear friend Adam Moritz (Launch Studio, SpringHill, TN) not only played guitar but is mixing and producing the whole shebang as well and is doing an amazing job.  I’m so blessed to have such a community of talented and kind friends willing to lend their genius my way.  Genius and enthusiasm.  It’s been a blast working with Adam on this and this weekend I got the following video from him.  Seriously.  So fun.  (And, you can hear a clip of one of the songs, so…bonus!)

If you like what you hear, then the good news is that we’re giving you an opportunity to pre-order the album!  Just click on this link right here to go to my online store and then you have several ordering options from 1 CD, to a multi-pack of 25 in case you want to use them for stocking stuffers.  There’s also a way for you to make a small donation to the process to help offset production costs if you’d like.  The album will be ready the first week of December, and we’re throwing shipping in for free…but ordering now helps us in lots of ways, including figuring out how many CDs to order, but more importantly, it provides the funding for the project that bigger artists with record label backing wouldn’t have to worry about.  Since I’m an independent artist, your pre-order money stands in the gap in place of a record label bank roll.

Also, there are some new places on the interwebs for you to check out!  I’d love it if you went to my new Facebook Page and “liked” it

and, you can check out my new website

This whole process is moving so lightning fast that I can hardly believe it.  But I’m so grateful for this whole opportunity and can’t wait to share a little piece of me with all of you.  Thank you for all the kind words, tweets, facebook love, texts and phone calls I’ve already gotten from so many of you (I may be “officially” announcing today, but I’ll admit, I’ve “leaked” the info a little bit already!)  I can’t wait to continue this journey and bring you all along.

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