TREY JOHNSON wants you to listen to music — it would be nice if you chose his music — but just buy a decent record, will you? Then, have a seat, relax and really listen to it. You would certainly be doing yourself a favor by trying this out with Johnson’s latest album “Mount Pelée”, a sophisticated piano-driven, alt country-spiked synthesis of Johnson’s expansive talent that, from the intro, lifts and carries the listener to lofty melodic places. Johnson played for 10 years with the Dallas-based band Sorta, and he now belongs to the instrumental act Shibboleth. “Mount Pelée” — on which he is backed by Don Cento, Rich Martin, James Driscoll and Matt Kellum — is his first solo record.
First, tell us what the Johnson family life looks like these days.
I’ve lived in Lake Highlands 12 or 13 years, and I recently moved to a house on Broken Bow with my two children — Dylan Carol Johnson, my 5-year-old daughter, and William Harlin Johnson, my 2-year-old son — and my wife Jennifer.
Has becoming a father altered your rock star lifestyle?
It hasn’t changed much. I’m not as much of a barfly now, though I do still hang out. It’s just different now. See, the thing I most like to do is make up and write songs and make records. That is kind of how I entertain myself. The balance and structure I have as I’ve gotten older is a wonderful thing, and I get to make more music now than I ever have.
So, your family inspires your music?
A bulk of the “Mount Pelée” record took shape as I played music for my children. We all play instruments and a variety of music is constantly playing around our house.
A couple years ago, your bandmate, Carter Albrecht, was killed. It was a blow to the music community and even worse for his close friends. Did emotions following that incident push you in your creative endeavors?
Certainly, Carter and the terrible way it all happened contributed. But I had a lot of mixed emotions going on around that time. Around the time of Carter’s death, I also had a new child — my only son was 6 months old, so I had all these different things going on that I am sure contributed to the music, but I can’t say the speed of my writing ever increased or decreased. I consider myself very fortunate that I’ve never had much trouble coming up with things to write about.
Any other outside source of inspriation?
Aside from songs based on real events — Sorta’s “85 Feet”, for example, is based on a local news story [about a woman thrown from an overpass] — I don’t really need to look far for inspiration. It’s just all around me, in the forefront of my life all the time. I am always writing. A record is simply the product of compiling those songs and melodies I think might be worth sharing.
What do you want people to know about the new album?
You know, it’s nearly impossible to get people to listen to a record these days. It takes two minutes to go to iTunes and go download a song. I think this album is well done and dense, and I hope people will take the time to listen to it, and then I think they will realize what a good album it is.
What song do you recommend?
“Unfavorable Way” seems to be the one that a lot of people like.