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MP3 Amy Faris - Hot Chocolate Songs

Ten unique arrangements of Christmas classics & two original songs featuring solo piano, piano & voice, & small pop ensemble. This gem of a CD sparkles with warmth, intimacy, and the sheer joy and mystery of the holidays. By pianist & composer Amy Faris.

12 MP3 Songs in this album (44:43) !
Related styles: Holiday: Classical, Holiday: Jazz, Mood: Christmas

People who are interested in Doug Smith Nora Jones Over the Rhine should consider this download.

About pianist/composer/arranger Amy Goode Faris
Amy has loved Christmas ever since Santa brought the dollhouse in ’73.
Actually, the year he brought the organ was even cooler to this Lubbock, Texas-based pianist/composer. When she found out hot chocolate was connected to the season, it was a done deal; she would be a Christmas fanatic for life!

Writing her first songs as a toddler and starting piano lessons at age 6, Amy has spent most of her life making music. In keeping with her passion for Christmas, she wrote a slew of holiday songs during her semi-turbulent adolescent years (one of them was even performed by the Lubbock High School Choir, to which she belonged).

Following a hunch at age 8 that she was to be a musician, Amy went ahead and got a Bachelor’s degree in Music Composition from Texas Tech University. After graduating, Amy toured as the keyboardist for numerous regional rock bands including Rapunzel, 100 Love Sonnets, Meltdown Morning, The Hi-Fi Collective, and the Reagan Administration. Amy has also played at Lubbock’s famed Cactus Theater as a part of the Texas Rhythm Machine, performed alongside keyboardist Todd Caldwell (Crosby, Stills and Nash), and played keys for such luminaries as Mac Davis, Joe Ely, Richie McDonald, Tom Braxton and Terry Allen. She also stayed busy as a church pianist, where unsuspecting audiences were regularly subjected to arrangements of her favorite hymns and carols.

These days, Amy is instilling a love for music (and Christmas!) in her daughter, Rachel. She and her husband, guitarist and record producer Scott Faris, can be found creating original rock-and-roll in their newest band Strawberry Crush.

Our Recipe: How we Made Hot Chocolate Songs (by Scott Faris)
Hot Chocolate Songs was recorded in Hemmle Recital Hall on the campus of Texas Tech University (our alma mater) in three weekend sessions during September and October of 1997. A mentor of ours was a professor there and allowed us to sneak in and record between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. Friday through Sunday. It was grueling... We’d carry the gear in after each night’s recital, set it all up, and record all night long. Then we’d pack up and have all the equipment out before people arrived early the next morning. Amy would go home to care for our infant daughter while I would teach all day at Brandon Guitar Studio (I feel so sorry for the students I had during those weekends... I was delirious due to sleep deprivation!). But the pain was worth it to get to record on an amazing Steinway grand piano that sounded like absolute magic!

We didn’t have any money and barely had any gear, so I studied how records were made in the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s when they didn’t have the unlimited possibilities of digital recording software. We tracked everything very old-school... good microphones (a pair of 414’s and a hodgepodge of Audix mics) into our preamps (believe it our not, we used 2 channels of Manley and had 2 Mackie 1202 mixers for everything else!), and then straight to analog tape on my Fostex E16. No EQ or compression was used during the tracking sessions. We just moved the mics until we got what we heard in our hearts.

I recorded several takes of each piece then edited everything with a razor blade and splicing block. We tracked overdubs and vocals at our home. We even recorded “Sweet Little Jesus Boy” on a battered old Fender Rhodes (I traded a student lessons for it) right in our living room. That Rhodes eventually became Amy’s main keyboard during the 100 Love Sonnets years.

I mixed the album in our spare bedroom on a Mackie 8-buss console. I borrowed a buddy’s live house rack for compression (mostly inexpensive Behringer stuff) and recorded my mixes to DAT.

When it was time to master the CD, I discovered that Ty Tabor of King’s X fame owned a mastering studio in Houston. Amy and I were huge fans of King’s X, and I decided to see if Ty would master it for us. We had met him after shows on several occasions, so I called him up. He remembered us and agreed to do the job. He told Amy recently that he loves the album and still listens to it every Christmas. Pretty dang cool.

Here’s the low-down on who did what:

Produced by Scott and Amy Faris

All songs arranged by Amy Goode Faris

“Hot Chocolate” and “Mama Says Now Go To Sleep” written by Amy

Engineered by Scott, Gary Kent and Matt Quick

Mixed by Scott at the Amusement Park Recording Studio*

Mastered by Ty Tabor at Alien Beans Studio

Photography by Russell Hall and Scott

Art by Scott, FarisWheel Productions

Recorded at Hemmle Recital Hall, Texas Tech University

Additional recording at the Amusement Park Recording Studio*, Lubbock, TX

Who Are the Other Musicians on the Album?!?
This CD boasts a bevy of talented musicians who put the
"HOT" in Hot Chocolate Songs!

Dallas Stevens

Worship leader at The Springs Church in Lubbock, Texas, and leader of The Dallas Stevens Band, Dallas delivers both expressive carols ("Away in a Manger," "I Wonder As I Wander") and zippy jazz ("Christmas Song") with a genuine, earthy style that goes straight to the heart of the matter.

Wayne Bonner

Wayne’s soulful voice adds sheer magic to Amy''s song about the nativity, "Mama Says Now Go To Sleep."

Scott Faris

Of course, what would an album be without some tasty guitar? Former guitarist for 100 Love Sonnets, Scott serves up many a spicy lick on "Hot Chocolate," and his violin-like tones soar through "Mama Says." Scott produced, engineered, mixed and designed the cover artwork for Hot Chocolate Songs under the auspices of his recording studio, The Amusement Park (not to mention being Amy''s full-time husband)!

Matt Quick

Former drummer for Laredo and now the live sound reinforcement instructor at South Plains College, Matt gives just the right amount of kick to the project. His in-the-pocket vibe graces "Christmas Song" and "Mama Says."

Sean Frankhouser

Currently on the road with Bugs Henderson, bassist Sean Frankhouser takes a little walk on the groovin’ "Christmas Song."

* At the time we recorded Hot Chocolate Songs, the Amusement Park Recording Studio was just a hodgepodge of old gear Scott would pull out of the garage and set up in our home. Nowadays, it''s a full-fledged recording studio. Take a look! We’ve come a long way... Scott’s now a full-time record producer and web designer. To learn more, check out https://www.tradebit.com.

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