You, me, the music, and me.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

JOHN FAHEY The New Possibility: John Fahey's Guitar Soli Christmas Album

Takoma SF-72720 (1974)

I don't own a lot of Christmas-themed albums. It's not that I don't like Christmas music; on the contrary, I can lead my vocal students through carols all day and never get tired of the seasonal sounds of "Silent Night" and "Good King Wenceslas". It's just that when I put on music to relax to during the holidays, I usually prefer to hear something different than what I hear all day in the malls and on the radio.

Most people who think the way I do will more often than not put on The New Possibility, an album of folksy Yuletide arrangements for steel-string acoustic guitar by fingerstyle legend John Fahey. Fahey's settings are simple and straightforward yet full-sounding, with the melodies always front and center. The ambient reverberations of "What Child Is This" feel like they were recorded in a snow-covered forest on Christmas Eve. Fahey sprinkles harmonics over "The Bells of St. Mary's" and breaks out the slide to lend a bluesy feel to "Go I Will Send Thee" and "Silent Night, Holy Night". The centerpiece of the album is a ten-minute original composition titled "Christ's Saints of God Fantasy" that is so vivid in its imagery it's like a "John Fahey Christmas" TV special for the ears.

If you know a person who usually turns a deaf ear to holiday music (or if you are that person), get them a copy of The New Possibility; it's the perfect gift for the music-lover on your list (especially if that music-lover is you).


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