Celebrate Christmas Macon Style!
By Joey Stuckey
As you know by now, I love all things Macon! But I am not alone. In fact, I recently got a chance to study with Ross Hogarth, the producer/engineer that has brought you amazing records by Van Halen, Melissa Etheridge, John Mellencamp and many more. Guess what? He is a Macon fan too! Ross is a big fan of the Allman Brothers, Wet Willie and all the other greats from Macon—Otis and Richard… But he also has his own unique tie to Macon as he produced one of the best R.E.M. albums, Life’s Rich Pageant, and even toured as a tech for the Dixie Dregs. All that to say, we have some amazing music here that is known all around the world and by people in the music industry that have done important work.
Okay, okay-- you have heard me say all this before, so what is the point I am trying to drive home? Just this--it is Christmas time in the south and you might not be aware that some of your favorite Middle Georgia artists/bands have some outstanding Christmas music to make your holiday season brighter!
Here are some of my favorites in no particular order.
This first record “It Should Be Called CHRISTmas” is by one of the greatest piano/keyboard wizards in the state! He also has the misfortune, I mean, distinction of being a good friend and the keyboard player in my band for more years than either of us want to remember. Of course, it’s Tom Rule!
This recording of holiday music is powerful in a way that most recordings now-a-days aren’t.
Besides some of the best solo piano arrangements I have ever heard, Tom also brings you great duets with piano and cello and even some full band songs sure to put the swing in your festivities.
The thing I like best about this album is how much emotion and dynamic range Tom gets out of the Grand piano at my studio, truly remarkable! The entire record is great, however, stand out favorites for me include “Good Night But Not Goodbye” and “While Shepherds Watch Their Flocks by Night”.
While Tom’s recording will be available on iTunes, Amazon, etc, this version direct from his website comes with a 20 page PDF booklet that has lots of pics and stories behind the songs that the other digital versions don’t. Also, Tom is offering this recording as a CD from his website as well, good news for you audiophiles.
Check it out here:
You can also see Tom perform “We Gather Together” here:
The next full length Christmas album “Silent Revelry” comes from TATB aka The Alex Tjoland Band.
While most of the record is truly outstanding original Christmas music, there are also some new interpretations of classics like “Silent Night” and two songs that aren’t really Christmas at all but they are great tracks. And really, after a Christmas filled with your family, who doesn’t want to head down to New Orleans and drink a little or a lot?
Standout tracks for me include, “Precious Things” and “Mercy”.
This band is really something with some of the best lyrics I have ever heard from song writer Bo Samoans and vocals by the incomparable Rachel Elkins--you got to own this one for your collection!
You can buy the album here:
You can check out their performance of Silent Night here:
One of the best Christmas singles this year comes from two of the “Macon Music CD Volume One” winners, Joshua Neal and Kim Meeks.
If you aren’t aware, I partnered with NewTown Macon to bring recordings of the best musicians Middle Georgia has to offer together to record their work and shine a light on the one-of-a-kind talent we have here in Macon. These recordings are free to anyone that wants them at www.newtownmacon.com
One of the things I really wanted was to have the artists that call Macon home be a family and support one another. This is something that can’t be forced, it just has to happen when you bring like minded people together and I was hoping that is what would happen. I am so blessed to say that indeed, that is what happened and two of the artist that formed a great bond are Joshua and Kim.
Joshua decided to do a Christmas song, “Oh Come, Oh Come Emanuel” and asked Kim to play piano. It is a simple recording of Kim’s piano and Joshua singing three part harmony. It is truly beautiful and something you are going to want to hear again and again throughout the holidays.
Here is the link to buy it now and get your Christmas started!
Another great Holiday song where I actually got to play sleigh bells on the recording, is from one of my favorite female vocalist in the Middle Georgia area.
Of course, it’s Louise Warren with her wonderful cheeky song “Christmas Memories”.
What’s the holiday season without a little heart break? Elvis had “Blue Christmas” and we have “Christmas Memories”.
Seriously, this is a fun song with a good beat and the perfect way to say goodbye to that person in your life who is getting a lump of coal in their stocking and get ready for a better new year.
By it here and play it for that un-special someone:
Check out Louis performing this song live:
To round up our Christmas singles, here’s one from a great bass player and even better song writer, Rob Fenimore.
Rob captures that sense of longing we all feel at some point during the holidays when someone we love isn’t with us for our celebrations of the season.
I think this is a stellar performance and a great song especially for anyone that is in the armed forces or has family serving. It’s called “Home for Christmas” .
And while we’re on the subject of those that serve, thanks from the bottom of my heart for those that give up their holiday every year to make sure the rest of us can have a healthy, happy holiday season. I send this wish of a blessed Christmas to the armed forces, but, also to those that man the hospitals and other essential services like the Police and Fire fighters during the Holidays.
Check out Rob’s song here:
See his live performance of this song with his son, Noah, playing drums:
Still want more Christmas music?
Well, here are some great youtube links to some more middle Georgia artists doing their Christmas thing:
First, one of my students, Katherine Daniel doing my arrangement of Jingle Bells.
Next, Husband and Wife Duo, the Doves Doing Little Drumerboy.
Finally, if you need to get your Christmas Groove on, come out to see the Joey Stuckey Jazz Quartet at the December Corner Concert on 12/12, more info below:
So until next year, Merry Christmas to all and to all a goodnight!
Joey Stuckey is a chart topping producer and recording artist that makes his home in Macon Georgia. He and his studio (www.shadowsoundstudio.com) are Atlanta Country Music Hall Of Fame Inductees.
He is the official music ambassador for Macon Georgia and serves as professor of music technology at Mercer University.
posted 05/01/2017 in