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Winnipeg-born Jaylene Johnson explores spiritual roots in new album

The Winnipeg-born singer-songwriter is launching her tour for Potter & Clay on Sept. 29.

The 12 songs on Jaylene Johnson's new album, Potter & Clay, are like prayers and testimonials, detailing what has been a difficult decade for the Winnipeg musician.

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The 12 songs on Jaylene Johnson's new album, Potter & Clay, are like prayers and testimonials, detailing what has been a difficult decade for the Winnipeg musician.

You could say it has been a year of two miraculous births for Jaylene Johnson.

For one, the Winnipeg-born singer-songwriter created her first album, Potter & Clay, after regaining her voice from severe vocal damage.

The other is a literal birth – she delivered a baby girl after learning her and her husband would unlikely ever bear children.

“I realize how privileged I am to do another record,” she said, speaking on the phone days before she’s set to tour her 12-song record across western Canada, with baby and husband in tow.

Potter & Clay, available Oct. 7, is part-painful country, part-hopeful gospel, with a twinge of jaunty piano and haunting steel guitar.

“How long will I stay here in the shadows?” Johnson croons in “How Long.”

“When will the pain be gone?”

She likens the songs to prayers, testimonials and confessions, detailing what has been a difficult decade for the musician.

In 2004, after wrapping up a tour in Thunder Bay, Johnson was involved in a head-on collision that kept her off the road for a few years. A routine surgery in 2012 damaged her vocal chords, leaving her depressed and struggling to sing for the next year and a half.

“I would not say my challenges are any greater than anyone else’s, but I went through some pretty dark times,” she said.

A Toronto specialist later treated her for a hairline scar on one of her vocal chords. And Johnson found her voice again.

After a conversation with acclaimed artist Steve Bell, Johnson decided to dig into her spiritual song-writing roots.

She rented a cabin and set the ambitious goal to write two songs a day for one week.

“The songs poured out,” she said.

A Christian, Johnson said Potter & Clay marks her most overtly spiritual undertaking, to date.

“It sounds cliché, but God is my strength,” she said.

The record release party for Potter & Clay will be Sept. 29 at the St. Margaret’s Anglican Church at 160 Ethelbert St. Tickets cost $15 and are available at www.jaylenejohnson.com, Hull’s Family Bookstore, Into the Music, Music Trader, St. Margaret’s or saint benedict’s table. 

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