The night before musician Jaylene Johnson began writing the songs for her new record, she received news that was music to her ears.
She had previously been told that her chances of having a baby were less than one per cent. Yet she found out she was pregnant right before she left for a remote cabin to work on her album.
Adding to the joy, she had recently recovered her singing voice after an injury that occurred during a routine day surgery. A specialist in Toronto discovered a hairline scar on her left vocal cord and she underwent another surgery to help with the problem.
"Now here I am with a record and a baby — two miracles," said Johnson, who lives in the Earl Grey area.
To celebrate her new album, entitled Potter & Clay, she will perform a CD release concert on Sept. 29 at St. Margaret’s Anglican Church (160 Ethelbert St.). A full band will join her including Murray Pulver, Ryan Voth, Kimberly Oost, Julian Bradford, Davis Plett and Steve Bell.
Professing her love for songwriting, Johnson describes her 12 new songs as confessions and prayers.
"They tell the story of coming through what many Christians call ‘desert time’ to a place of surrender to God, and, ultimately, hope. I was pretty strategic about the song order, wanting to convey a journey," she said.
"When Murray Pulver and I started working together, we both felt the music itself needed to be as honest and as vulnerable as the lyrics, so the production is acoustic, warm, intimate and, I hope, inviting."
The album is the most personal she’s ever written, she added.
"It tells my faith-story and, hopefully, will connect with other people’s stories, too," said Johnson, who expressed gratitude for the support of her husband and many others. "My prayer is that this album will be an encouragement to those who need it to be."
No newcomer to music, Johnson released her first studio album in 2000. Potter & Clay is her fourth.
"Apparently, I was a toddler with my legs dangling through the balcony railing, singing songs to Jesus. I don’t remember ever choosing music; it was just always a part of me," she said.
"I learned to harmonize from listening to my mother sing in church and was privileged to have music lessons and a great school music program in high school. Some things can’t be taught, though, like a burning passion to connect with other people through song. That passion has never let me go."
A retail release of Potter & Clay is scheduled for Oct. 7. In addition, the album will be available on Johnson’s website (www.jaylenejohnson.com), iTunes, Bandcamp, Amazon and at Signpost Music (1578 Erin St.).
Johnson will also embark on a fall tour throughout Western Canada with her husband and her baby Macey.
"Touring with a baby is daunting, but I’ve done my best to not have too many really long drives and to plan lots of stops along the way," she said.
"It’s scary taking her out, so far from home. Prayers for our safety and her peace are appreciated."
More concerts are in the works, and people can sign up for updates at www.jaylenejohnson.com