The First Noel...4:22
Carol of the Bells...2:45
Do You Hear What I Hear...4:33
Away in a Manger...4:48
Away in a Manger (the other one)...2:51
What Child is This...4:30
Little Drummer Boy...4:00
O Holy Night...3:59
O Come, O Come Emmanuel...3:30
Good Christian Men Rejoice...4:40
Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring...3:49
"I have always loved and still love Christmas as much as anyone on earth. The food, decorations, present giving and good cheer that fill the season are as lovely as life gets. But since I was a tiny child, it is the music of Christmas that brings me into its spirit faster and deeper than any other Christmas thing. My mom always made sure that Mathis, Andy Williams, Robert Shaw Choral were playing on the phonograph near Christmas time and as soon as they came out of storage, life was perfect.
I also love the Jesus story and believe that most of the good things that humans, in the western world, have done, and bad ones they avoided doing to each other have a lot to do with that story. I decided to record only Christmas songs that have to do with Jesus and Mary, for this album. I tried to arrange them in an order that would take us through the story."
"If you love great guitar, then you will swoon for Michael Chapdelaine's Guitar for Christmas. Speaking of swooning, Chapdelaine is quite the good-looking fellow; on his album cover, he has the look of a roguish Renaissance man wearing very long hair and the slightest suggestion of a grin. Think Fabio, but not so exaggerated, and with considerably more substance. Ah, I digress!
Chapdelaine is a multiple award winner for various guitar styles (classical, fingerstyle), and was a student of the world-famous master of classical guitar, Andrés Segovia. As far as I can tell, Chapdelaine excels at everything that has strings attached, and his excellent Guitar for Christmas further proves the point. His acoustic guitar playing is exquisite on all 14 pieces, which track the story of Christ's birth.
Guitar for Christmas is about more than just a man and his acoustic guitar. Chapdelaine provides all of the instrumentation, and some numbers reflect synthesized orchestration (e.g., "The First Noel," "Do You Hear What I Hear") and/or multiple tracks ("Carol of the Bells"). Still, the album's essence relies upon Chapdelaine's incredible guitar prowess, and he is superb throughout. His fingerplucking is staggeringly fast, and he pumps emotion into every hand movement. Just gorgeous.
Although this is a marvelous album throughout, I tend to prefer the pieces with less orchestration. My favorites include the intricately arranged and multi-layered "Coventry Carol" and the wonderful closing cut, "Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring."
Guitar for Christmas is a terrific instrumental guitar album for the holidays. Invite Michael Chapdelaine to your big Christmas affair; his musicianship will make the event even more rewarding."
--Carol Swanson Christmasreviews.com