MP3 George Sawyn - Christmas Moods, Vol. 2
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9 MP3 Songs in this album (43:02) !
Related styles: FOLK: Fingerstyle, FOLK: Folk-Jazz
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The simplicity of the first Christmas begs for simple songs when itâs celebrated today. It sometimes begs for originality, too, as one familiar carol after another floats through our worlds from shopping malls and radio stations. In Christmas Moods Vol. II, George Sawyn has given us deceptively simple songs, all but one with new arrangements by George himself. Even the exception is an improvisation done with fellow musician Jon Novi.
Whether the delightfully reflective Coventry Carol, the sweet purity of Silent Night, the rollicking Deck the Halls or the almost rakish Up On the Housetop, George has taken familiar tunes and put his own stamp upon them, allowing the melodies to float in and out between their expected territories and a parallel universe of melody and harmony. Listeners will experience the âaha!â of recognition, followed quickly by the âwow!â of Sawynâs creative meanderings.
In this album, George has combined his experience as a seasoned Chicago musician, with the comfortable, laid-back sounds heâs always loved and that have been encouraged by his recently-begun love affair with Door County, Wis., the âhometownâ he says heâs always been looking for. In Christmas Moods Vol. II, George plays guitar his way, letting it take the spotlight as the enchanting solo instrument it can be when strings are more than strummed, theyâre coaxed individually to sing.
The following comes from George's own CD liner notes:
1) Angels We Have Heard On High - an improvisation on this song, recorded step by step, a little at a time, using 3 different guitars: acoustic classical, acoustic steel string, and electric jazz guitar.
2) The Coventry Carol - improvisations and reharmonizations of this beautiful old holiday song.
3) Deck The Halls - originally included on the first âChristmas Moodsâ CD; this alternate version uses the same computer looped percussion track made up entirely with sounds produced on guitars, but two completely different guitar tracks.
4) On The River Jordan - originally included on the âHappy Holidaysâ CD of Ukrainian holiday music. This version uses the same âstring trioâ synthesizer tracks, but has newly recorded guitar parts.
5) Angels We Have Heard On High - this is a completely unrehearsed improvisation on the song by me on guitar, and Jon Novi on piano. This recording was done by Jon in his home studio, and is included on this CD with his permission.
6) We Three Kings - this is the version originally included on the first âChristmas Moodsâ CD. Remixed, and slightly extended at the end.
7) O Tannenbaum - I had experimented with several recordings of this song, and was originally going to do a long version with several reharmonizations, improvisations, and variations on the themes of this song. I then decided to keep this one simple, and used only two of the variations I came up with in my explorations.
8) Up On The Housetop - very similar to the version on the first âChristmas Moodsâ CD, but completely re-recorded. As I have said on several other CDs, my playing generally favors the soft and mellow, but occasionally, something rowdy comes out. I also used a Garage Band drum loop, originally only for a metronome, but decided to leave it in the final version.
9) Silent Night - one acoustic classical guitar, accompanied by wind chimes, which change chords with the song. The wind chimes were generated by a computer program called âMind Chimes,â written by guitarist Andrew York.
George Sawyn comes from a family in which music was just taken for granted. Everyone played an instrument or sangâmelody or harmonyâwith the kind of talent that looks effortless. Nevertheless, George spent five years taking piano lessons and then, motivated by peer pressure and rock ânâ roll, he switched to guitar. There he found his forte, and a love for a whole universe of musical styles, including jazz, country, folk, ethnic and classical. He began working professionally in 1972, combining his talents with that of some of the Chicago areaâs finest musicians, working with large bands and small groups. Most recently, he has added regular performances in Door County, Wis., where heâs had more scope for experimenting with his improvisational piecesâmusic not just BY George, but also FROM George, from that musical core thatâs his alone.
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