For those of us still susceptible to warm fuzzy feelings (perhaps even hints of…Joy? shall we say) Christmas music can stir those at this time of year, take it or leave it. I finally released a Christmas album this year and briefly describe that project and share thoughts and examples of “sincere” Christmas songs.
The idea for an Edmund Welles Christmas album was an idea born in the chilly Chicago winter of 1999. The name Edmund Welles has links to Charles Dickens (in ways better covered in another entry) and this probably planted the seed for this project idea. The form it has taken is 12 tracks of Christmas hymns arranged from the United Methodist Church Hymnal. I wrote all about this “reverent and celebratory offering” on the bandcamp and CD Baby sites where you can listen to, download and buy it (although, it is ideal for you to buy it from me right here and get special deals too!). Check out two great video slideshows featuring real photos from real people that I know here and here.
Of course, much of the inspiration came from a desire to hear Christmas songs (engendering those warm fuzzy feelings…) in a texture that I deeply crave: lots of low reeds. Of course, I also crave low flute sounds, but that might be a project for next year… In other words: filling a gap in my existing holiday music selection. What, besides a warm fuzzy feeling, am I looking for in holiday music? In turns out to be Sincerity and what we might call “heart-ness.” Heart-ness is not an idea, it is an experience and a subtle body phenomenon that those who are in tune with their subtle bodies (or chakras [yoga], or dantiens [Taoism, qi gong or tai chi'chuan]) feel just as much as you feel things with your more “common” sense of touch. In easy terms: performers that really MEAN it, and/or really FEEL it as they perform or record it. I did my best to do this for “Hymns” and would like to present you with some of my top Christmas songs from singers that, I feel, really meant it as they sang. We progress, with sincerity, from the reverent to the irreverent…to me, they each really mean it in these performances. Post links to sincere holiday performances in the comments…
O Holy Night by Johnny Mathis from 1958
Little Drummer Boy by Ray Charles from 1986
Slick Nick, You Devil You by Fishbone from 1987