Sunday, December 5, 2010

December Music Rec Post

I wasn't sure I was going to start posting here at Fandombouquet until the New Year. In fact, this may be my only post in December. I can happily say that I completed this year's NaNoWrimo successfully. (I stopped counting words at around 55k, but there are more than that. Significantly more.) However, I am currently stuck in the exact middle of the novel, and I've determined that the only way to solve this problem is to keep going and make December's goal "finish the damn draft." So, that's what I'm going to do, and I'll warn readers now, I get testy and distracted when I'm this focused on the finish line. That's especially true when there's a deadline involved, even if it's a self-imposed deadline.

I had to post this week, though, because I discovered an absolutely gorgeous new Christmas album, and it would have been criminal to keep it to myself.

Artist: Sean Smith
Title: Christmas

01. The First Noel
02. Good King Winceslas
03. Little Drummer Boy
04. Joy To The World
05. Silent Night, Holy Night
06. We Three Kings
07. Hark ! The Herald Angels Sing
08. Christmas Morning (Improvisation I)
09. Christmas Morning (Improvisation II)
10. Christmas Time Is Here, A Meditation
11. O Tannenbaum
12. O Come All Ye Faithful
13. Deck The Halls
14. It Came Upon A Midnight Clear
15. Twelve Days Of Christmas
16. Auld Lang Syne

Genre: Instrumental; Acoustic Guitar (is that a genre?)
Similar Artists: Technically, I could list any number of guitar players here, but none of them are actually similar. Just buy the album.

There is a lot of really boring instrumental Christmas music out there. A large portion of it is acoustic guitar, and for some reason no one in the recording industry cares that by it's by turns syrupy and sleep-inducing. That's probably because they figure that enough people will buy the boring music that it's worth making the albums anyway. Sean Smith proves that there is still magic in "traditional" Christmas music.

I discovered the album after downloading Deck The Halls, which was (probably still is) available free right now on Amazon. Deck The Halls is one of my least favorite Christmas songs, but I was blown away by Mr. Smith's version. I don't think I can describe the tracks adequately to give readers a breakdown. There is true beauty here. I sat with my open during most of it on my first listen. My reaction was, "This is what Christmas was when I was six. And this is acoustic guitar as it was meant to be played." Granted, I was weird six-year-old. I liked presents as much as every other kid I knew, but for me Christmas was a time of deep and powerful magic. It was mystical in ways that were only vaguely related to lights and presents and Santa Claus. Those things were merely the outgrowth of something bigger. It's still like that, when I let it be, but I'm a grown-up now, and most of the time it's cluttered with grown-up things. The magic gets pushed into the corners and I don't pay attention to it until something like this stops me in my tracks. When I listened to this album, I had mental images of Smith's fingers drawing music out of the guitar the way a magical virtuoso in a fantasy novel might coax magic from a place that no one else could reach.

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