Faith Song Mission, Isaiah 12 Records & Studios, and Vital Force Publishing is a Christ-centered mission and ministry, developed in two specific areas: First, in production, publishing and release of Scriptural, testimonial, public and/or personal expressions of the Christian faith in each applicable, cross-cultural context, through music, audio, written and visual art forms; and second for support of research, teaching and/or information sources and outreach ministries.
Music & Sound Gallery
Reviews & Press
<< back

March, 2004

For Immediate Release:

Karen Johns Band Records Nashville‚s Top Session Players
by Louise Forrest

Contemporary Christian songwriters/producers, James Johns and Karen Johns have just released two new CD albums by Karen Johns Band, on Isaiah 12 Records, published by Vital Force (ASCAP). As is custom with their studio work, these two new releases render recorded performances by some of Nashville‚s finest session players including harmonica player Mickey Raphael, who has recorded, toured and performed with Willie Nelson for over thirty years; drummer/engineer Mark Niemiec (Grammy Award nominee, 2001); saxophonist/instrumentalist Jim Hoke (Mark Knopfler/Dire Straits, Alan Jackson, Billy Joel, Don Henley, Emmylou Harris, NRBQ and many others); and bass player Luis Espaillat (Lava/Atlantic Records). The new releases are the Karen Johns Band‚s 4th and 5th CD albums entitled Ballad of the Mission (country/folk) and Mercy River (jazz/blues).

Beginning in 1993, Karen Johns and her husband, producer/songwriter/engineer James Johns, recorded several of Nashville‚s top session players on their earliest projects produced on Music Row, including violinist Aubrey Haynie (Clint Black, Dolly Parton, Ricky Skaggs, George Jones, Martina McBride, Porter Wagoner and many others); drummer Chad Cromwell (Mark Knopfler, Neil Young, Peter Frampton, Amy Grant, and others); pianist/composer/conductor Ken Moore (Steve Earle/MCA); and Nashville producer/engineer Scott Baggett.

Prior to their first Christian album release in 1994, Karen Johns, recorded several lead vocals for Stormworks Productions film soundtrack recordings by composer/conductor Stephen Melillo ( One of these ballads, "I Never Had a Love Like You", was featured in the Miramax motion picture, Benefit of the Doubt, starring Donald Sutherland and Amy Irving. In 1998, the Johns couple, along with their two sons, departed for four years to Canada where Karen and James attended and graduated from Seminary (Karen holds an MA Degree in Religion from Canadian Theological Seminary), produced an international band, and began writing, producing and filming a joint Canadian/USA documentary film, Profiles from Womb to War. Since their return to Nashville, Karen has resumed vocal collaborations for Stephen Melillo of Stormworks Productions and recently recorded lead vocals on Stormworks musical haiku #22, "In the Stars", commemorating the survivors of the Bataan Death March of World War II, for Mr. Melillo‚s up-and-coming, 16th recorded Symphony Orchestra, Beyond Courage; opening in concert in Roswell, New Mexico in April.

Karen, a classically trained singer, hits the mark with any vocal style or genre she approaches; she has an unusual talent and a remarkably diverse ability. In the Mercy River and Ballad of the Mission releases, songwriter/vocalist, Karen Johns, ventures through and beyond the English language into Spanish and Hebrew, accentuating Karen‚s extensive vocal training, and the Johns couple‚s work in world missions and intercultural ministries (

Karen Johns (formerly Houle), graduated from Robert Service High School, Anchorage, Alaska in 1983. That summer, prior to her departure to San Francisco State University, Karen performed the lead, "Luisa", in Synergy‚s Dinner Theater production The Fantastiks. Karen, a former voice student of Gloria Marinacci (Bella Donna, Portland Opera and Anchorage Civic Opera), was also the 1983 Alaska State Champion in Solo and Duet Acting, a member of the 1983 All-Northwest Choir, recipient of the Robert Service Memorial Scholarship for Fine Arts, and the Totem Association Scholarship. Together with her family, Karen was an active member of Central Lutheran Church in Anchorage. After her freshman year at SFSU, Karen transferred to University of Oregon in Eugene. Through the Danish International Studies program at the U of O, Karen attended University of Copenhagen, in Denmark, Europe. After her return to the University of Oregon, School of Music, Karen was the recipient of the 1986 Phi Beta Patrons Scholarship for Performing Arts. Karen also competed and was crowned Miss Lane County 1987, and Second Runner-up to Miss Oregon. In both the County and State Pageant levels, Karen won all talent competitions in a clean sweep with her contemporary and classical singing (in English and foreign languages). The Phi Beta Patrons of Eugene sponsored Karen at the Miss Oregon Pageant, in Seaside, Oregon.

All Karen Johns Band CD albums are available for review (site, sound, info, purchase) on-line at:
Karen Johns‚ recorded vocal performance for Stormworks Productions, "In the Stars" from the Stephen Melillo symphony orchestra Beyond Courage, is due for release later this year. -Louise Forrest.