Ancient myths tell of the phoenix, a sacred bird that self-ignites at the end of its lifespan only to rise again from the ashes. As the mythical creature rises from its ashes, so does a soul, recreating a beautiful masterpiece from mere rubble left behind by life’s bleakest moments.
Twenty-eight-year-old DeAnna Wendolyn Joyner, formerly of Glen Rose, is one of those souls.
After the loss of her father in 2003, Joyner lost faith. In 2004, on the anniversary of his death, she traveled to St. Croix and spread her father’s ashes over the ocean. Her faith would not be renewed for more than five years.
At the end of the five years, Joyner finally decided to do what she does best - sing. After taking ink to paper as a gathering place for her emotions, Joyner composed songs and compiled 12 of them into an album titled “From the Ashes.”
“Writing to me is an art, and so is music,” Joyner said. “I guess by writing my own lyriscs and melodies it’s like painting an emotion for someone to hear and possibly relate to. That’s why I write and sing my own songs. It’s a way to escape for me - and hopefully whomever is listening.”
Joyner recorded the project after a friend gifted her a full recording session at Patrick McGuire Recording, Inc. in Arlington. She recorded the album in just two days last October.
The album was released Dec. 11, 2009.
The 12-track folk-inspired album discusses various trying times of Joyner’s life, from spreading her father’s ashes in “Ashes of Your Memory” to love in “Tangled Up.”
“I just write about life experiences and stuff I have emotionally been through,” Joyner said.
Each song on the album was written, composed and performed by Joyner. The lyrics, dancing in sync with the twang of an acoustic guitar, offers listeners an opportunity to escape to a dreamy world.
Joyner sings of father-figures often in her songs, honoring the man who inspired her to pick up an instrument and sing. According to her biography, Joyner often heard her father playing the piano or an old guitar. In 1998, when she was only 17, Joyner’s father suffered a debilitating stroke.
It was after that tragedy that Joyner began playing her father’s guitar, eventually teaching herself to play.
After graduating from Glen Rose High School in 1999, Joyner made regular appearances at the Jonnie High Show in Arlington, the Fort Worth Stockyards Opry and Billy Bob’s Texas in Fort Worth.
A performance at the opry opened the hearts of many, including a fellow musician. After borrowing the musician’s guitar for her rendition of “Leaving on a Jet Plane,” the man was moved. He returned two weeks later gifting her a guitar.
“She has played that black Charvel acoustic/electric ever since,” the bio states.
With the release of “From the Ashes” Joyner’s music has come full circle, but she believes it is only the beginning.
“The reception of the CD to my fans, it’s been great,” she said.
Joyner has also garnered local support from members of the Alpha Delta Beta Sorority in Glen Rose. The women appeared at the release party and have been promoting the album by word of mouth.
“From the Ashes” can be purchased on Joyner’s Facebook or MySpace Web sites at www.facebook.com/DeAnnaWendolynMusic or www.myspace.com/wendolynlive. The album is $10, with a $5 shipping and handling fee.