A GUITAR FOR CHRISTMAS
If you must
buy only one holiday album of instrumental guitar music, let Robin
Bullock's A Guitar for Christmas be the one. It is
magnificent. First, know that the award-winning Bullock is a genuine
guitar god among mortals, a man who must have at least 25 digits on
each hand to accomplish his feats of magic. Second, this holiday
album is superbly constructed in every respect--song selection,
production values, just everything.
One note of caution: Bullock is excellent, but his sophisticated
presentation here speaks in a gentle voice; if you seek one of those
boisterous, hard-plucked treatments of holiday fare, then A
Guitar for Christmas is just not the guitar for you.
Bullock's technical proficiency enough is astounding, and he pumps
emotive warmth into every moment. His 16 tracks are broken into four
separate segments (Introduction: Daybreak is the first track; Part
One: Christmas Morning covers tracks 2-5; Part Two: Christmas Day
covers tracks 6-11; and Part Three: Christmas Night covers tracks
12-16). The differences among the sections are subtle; in general,
the morning pieces tend to be slower, filled with anticipation; the
day section is more celebratory and has a faster tempo; then
Christmas night is back to a slower, more reverential, tone and
pace. The overall focus is on ancient carols and includes many of my
personal favorites ("Carol of the Bells," "Lo, How a Rose E'er
Blooming"). I especially enjoyed the "O Come O Come Emmanuel/Light
of Love/Sussex Carol" medley, which is deeply textured and also
happens to be the album's longest track.
Robin Bullock's A Guitar for Christmas effortlessly creates a
warm afterglow, assuring the listener that it is very good to be
alive in this world. Come bask in the glow.
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