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Silent Night – CD

Silent Night – Liner Notes from Steven’s Perspective

SilentNightCoverFront SilentNightCoverBack

Remember having these on record albums?   Well here they are for our Christmas CD, Silent Night.  Who’s doing what and a little about each tune.

Silent Night

  • Catalina – lead vocals and bass
  • Steven – lead/harmony vocals and 12-string guitar
  • Brandon Burns – harmony vocals

This is our favorite song on the CD.  So we named the CD after it and kicked off by leading with it.  I am so proud to have my daughter, Brandon, singing on this.  She came down one weekend and recorded her tracks on this as well as three other songs.  Her’s was  the tough work,  weaving in a second harmony.  I’ve never heard an arrangement like this.  Silent Night is one of those songs you should never mess with.  But this arrangement just came to me.  It was worth the risk of violating my rule not to touch.

Go Tell it on the Mountain

  • Catalina – bass
  • Steven – vocals and guitar

I never liked this song.  But I was always being asked to play it.  As frequently happens when I don’t like something I started messing with it.  I hit on this arrangement in minor.  Now I enjoy playing it.  As a side note, a year before the CD came out, I sent the song to a local NPR station where it got played and heard by friends.  Me, I didn’t find out it was played until later.  Quite a kick.

Joy to the World

  • Catalina – bass
  • Steven – vocals and guitar

This is not your father’s Handel (unless you are one of my daughters).  This is another Christmas song that isn’t much fun to play on guitar.  So naturally I had to change it.  The guitar is in minor.  But the melody remains firmly in the relative major.  That makes for an interesting arrangement.  When we first did it Cata thought it was too fast.  She didn’t know what to do with the bass.  As always, she nailed it.  Now it is one of her bass favorites on the CD.

What Child is This

  • Catalina – lead vocals, bass
  • Steven – harmony and guitar

Catalina pretty much came up with this arrangement.  She knew exactly what she wanted.  I merely had to make it happen.  Of course I had to make it happen exactly to her specifications.

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

  • Catalina – bass
  • Steven – vocals and guitar

One evening we were turned to this song, but weren’t playing with it yet.  So I started messing with an alternate chord progression, applying a new bass line guitar theme to it.  I liked it so much that I nearly wrote a song.  Instead I just used it and modified this song.  I really like this arrangement.  And you can hear that guitar bass line throughout.

We Three Kings

  • Catalina – lead vocals and bass
  • Steven – lead/harmony vocals and  guitar
  • Brandon Burns – harmony vocals

This song is made more wonderful by having Brandon’s harmonies.  It has always been one of Catalina’s favorite Christmas songs.  I once made her a CD of nothing but different artist arrangements of We Three Kings.  As with several songs on this CD, you can hear that the arrangement centers around a motif on the guitar.  Even after all the vocals, it is that motif that ends the song.

Jingle Bells

  • Catalina – bass
  • Steven – vocals and guitar

This is just an easy arrangement.  It stands out on this CD as one of the few tunes in major.  I really enjoyed singing on this; a good combination of rock and jazz.  I really love the ascending guitar bass line in the chorus.

Away in a Manger

  • Catalina – lead vocals and bass
  • Steven – lead and harmony vocals and guitar

This is a mash up of both versions of the song.  The one that is in three four had to be moved into four four, which made for some interesting rhythms.  It is the only song where Cata sings lead but doesn’t start the song.  We enjoy the simplicity and innocense.

The First Noel

  • Catalina – bass
  • Steven – vocals and guitar

A kinda-sorta reggae version.  It was the last tune that was selected for the CD.  Again, it is one of those songs that just begged to be modified.  It is actually simpler than the standard versions.  But the rhythms are infectious.  I was a delighted little kid when I came up with it.  I knew we had our last song.

 Holly Jolly Christmas

  • Catalina – bass
  • Steven – vocals and guitar

This is one of those songs that whenever I heard it, I had to cringe.  One day I kind of meanly started playing it in minor, just to protest.  Wow, I liked it.  That was so much better.  Why didn’t they do it that way originally?  Just plain fun.

O Come, O Come Emmanuel 

  • Catalina – lead vocals and bass
  • Steven – lead/harmony vocals and guitar

This is the perfect song to end the CD.  Cata’s voice is crystal.  The harmonies are sparingly used even though I sing two parts.  It has always been one of Cata’s favorite Christmas songs.