An Acoustic Country Christmas

An Acoustic Country Christmas represents two brand new areas for Paul-recording traditional music, and doing so with only acoustic instruments. In other words, there is no original material or vocals on this album.

During January 2014, the team was assembled in the ryantunes studio. The purpose of the session was to test out some new recording equipment purchased for recording Paul’s music. With no specific material being tested, and with the holidays a recent memory, Paul began to “noodle” some traditional Christmas music so that various microphone and preamplifier placements and combinations could be tested and compared. Microphone after microphone, and instrument after instrument combinations were tested to get the optimal recording sounds. After listening to the results, Paul wondered whether-aside from the purpose of the session, whether certain Christmas music might lend itself to acoustic country instrumentation on a more formal basis. Would banjo be appropriate for a beautiful hymn like Angels We Have Heard On High, or be too harsh and pitchy? Would a slow hymn, played on dobro sound nice, or be too twangy? Additional sessions were scheduled, and the result is An Acoustic Country Christmas.

This album includes a mix of upbeat Christmas songs, solemn religious hymns and carols. In all, ten selections are included and due to the historic nature of the music, little in the way of improvising or fancy arrangements are added. To honor this beautiful music, the history of each piece is included on the hard copy CD literature, and the stories of how some of this music came to be, is amazing. From a desperate Christmas Eve in 1818 when an Austrian choirmaster spent the day creating music for a local priest’s lyrics so the church choir would have material to sing at evening mass (“Silent Night”); to a cowboy who remembered a child’s excited scream during a 1946 Santa Claus Parade (“Here Comes Santa Claus”), the background and history of the ten selections in An Acoustic Country Christmas is as rich as the music itself.

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