MP3 Gary McCallister (One Man Mormon Blues Band) - Mary Christmas
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12 MP3 Songs
FOLK: Folk Blues, FOLK: Folk Pop
ABOUT THE CD
The Birth of Jesus Christ was a miraculous event. Throughout history, many talented artists and musicians have depicted scenes surrounding the well-known story. These depictions are serious, elegant, and worshipful befitting an event that marks the cornerstone of all history.
But along with the miraculous conception and angel singing, the story is also personally endearing because it begins in a common way. Most uncommon stories begin with that most common of events, the birth of a child. How many millions of mothers have born babies and been full of dreams and hopes for their child? Then how many times have those births occurred under the difficult circumstances of oppression and poverty? Perhaps the majority of them have been so.
In my songs I try to celebrate the birth of Jesus in words and music of the common man. Ironically, or not, the common man is the very one Jesus sought out to teach while in his earthly ministry. For these reasons the lyrics that follow are set to ancient, traditional tunes and arranged in a style reminiscent of folk music. Traditional instruments help tell the old story one more time.
My version of the story not only pays homage to Mary, mother of Jesus, but to all mothers everywhere. Mothers, who through time have shown great faith and eternal hope as they risked their lives to bring forth children in times of turmoil, oppression, and poverty.
HOW THE PROJECT WAS BORN
It was my wife's birthday in 2005 is why I recall the exact date. I was driving and listening to the radio. The DJ was playing all songs about women named Mary; in honor of Christmas 9though some of the Mary's referenced weren't all that righteous). It struck me that it would be a cool idea to write a set of songs telling the nativity story from Mary's point of view. My first impression was that it should be beautiful, classical-style music; perhaps orchestral and choral in nature. Of course, someone else would have to do that, and all I could do was wish that I had the talent and skill to undertake such a task.
To my surprise, the idea wouldn't go away. And as I thought more and more about it, I began to think that perhaps such a project ought to be more directed at the common man, the simple fishermen and laborers that Christ approached first. After all, Christ's own earthly father was a carpenter and his mother a simple Jewish girl. That kind of story ought to be told with traditional acoustic instruments, in a folk music style. Being a child of the 60's and the folk music craze that went on, that was something that maybe I could do.
Now, 14 months later, "Mary Christmas" is being released. It has been a surprisingly emotional project for me. There are 12 original songs telling the story of the nativity, somewhat from Mary's point of view. All the melodies (except two) are old folk songs from the 1700's and 1800's. All the lyrics are new. One song is an old Negro spiritual. I have included the lyrics, a variety of vignettes, art work, and the background of the original folk songs, as much as I know them.
The CD comes with a 20 page booklet that contains all of the above. I hope this CD touches people's hearts and strengthens testimonies of Jesus Christ. That sounds kind of serious and ponderous, but I hope the music is unique and happy, befitting the good news that the event symbolizes.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
The One Man Mormon Blues Band has been known more for his tongue-in-cheek approach to the blues than for serious statements. However, with the release of "Mary Christmas: a folk cantata" I am making a new statement.
Music has been an avocation most of my life. However, I didn't begin to write songs until I was over forty years old. I first wrote songs for my family members, then to commemorate special events in the family, or funny things that happened to family members. Some of these songs appear on my first two albums; a collection of tongue-in-cheek songs (along with a few serious pieces) about being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons).
I make a living as a Biologist, teaching and doing research at a small liberal arts college in Colorado. I am married to a woman so beautiful that everyone thinks I am rich and we have four grown children, all of whom have somehow managed to marry attractive and talented mates. This has resulted in 14 grand children . . . so far. I'm the crotchety grandpa and my wife is the adored grandmother, sort of the good cop/bad cop thing. It works pretty well.
I sincerely wish you a "Mary Christmas".
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