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Christmas Treasures, A McPherson Guitars Instrumental Collection
Artist: Various
Label: Autumn Records 
Time: 17 tracks/65:22 min 

Christmas Treasures is, as you have no doubt guessed, an album of guitar instrumental versions of many classic Christmas songs.  But is it a classic album? 

I have to admit up-front that I love Christmas music in many various forms.  There, however, is something special about an album that sounds like it should be played while decorating the Christmas Tree, snuggling next to a warm fire drinking hot chocolate or eggnog, and wrapping presents.  This music presents a pleasant sound that can be enjoyed with a careful listen or as festive background music.

Don Boyer, president of Autumn Records, declared that "Our goal was to create a Christmas album that would lighten hearts and lift spirits," and this disc definitely succeeds.  Guitarists such as Phil Keaggy, Dave Cleveland, and Tom Hemby provide joyful, rich playing behind arrangements that have a classic Christmas sound, with touches of jazz and folk influences.

The recording is remarkably consistent in tone & recording levels, resulting in a pleasurable listen from beginning to end.  Most players have a remarkable balance between playing the melody and adding acoustic flourishes to the songs.

While the disc will not appeal to those that want a rock-n-roll Christmas, but all others should enjoy this CD, which is both a Christmas classic and a Christmas Treasure.

Jonathan Nelson 

The new Christmas album from Autumn Records features eight Christian guitarists. The project, Christmas Treasures, A McPherson Guitars Instrumental Collection, features guitarists such as legendary player Phil Keaggy, Matt McPherson (Founder/designer of McPherson Guitars), Bruce Gaitsch (Michael W. Smith), Dave Cleveland (Steven Curtis Chapman), Mark Baldwin (Kirk Franklin), Michael Hodge (4Him), Michael Ripoll (CeCe Winans) and Tom Hemby (BeBe Winans) .

All of the songs are performed on McPherson acoustic guitars, along with piano, drums, bass, synthesizers, organ, electric guitars, tin whistle, harmonica, percussion and live string ensembles.

Some people listen to Christmas music all year round. After hearing this CD, I could become one of those people. This CD is full of excellent guitar playing, and great accompaniments. This project brings Christmas classics to life. With the wide variety of players on the CD, you don't have to worry about redundancy setting in. Each song has a flavor and feel all it's own. 

Songs include:
    * Away in a Manger (Gaitsch)
    * Christmas Time is Here (Hemby)
    * Coventry Carol (Keaggy)
    * Deck the Halls (Cleveland)
    * Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (Baldwin)
    * I'll Be Home for Christmas (Hemby)
    * In the Bleak Midwinter (Keaggy)
    * It Came Upon a Midnight Clear (Gaitsch)
    * Little Drummer Boy (Ripoll)
    * O Come, All Ye Faithful (Hodge)
    * O Come, O Come Emmanuel (Baldwin)
    * O Holy Night (Gaitsch)
    * Silent Night (McPherson)
    * The Christmas Song (Ripoll)
    * We Three Kings (Hodge)
    * We Wish You a Merry Christmas (Cleveland)
    * What Child is This (McPherson)

Justin Wright



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