People have been telling Jerry Barlow for years that he should record a Christmas album. Well, he finally has, and it was worth the wait. Just released, Jerry Barlow's "Twas the Night" should become one of your favorites for years to come.
The songs on this CD are classic Christmas songs, familiar to most everyone. But Jerry, as always, adds his own special touch. Just a man and his guitar, but Jerry's fingerstyle talent enables him to develop layer upon layer of intricate melody and counter point. You'd swear there's more than one musician playing, but if you've ever seen Jerry in concert, you know he has the ability to weave in bass lines, counter-melody and harmony, along with marvelous interpretations of the tune.
This is nowhere more apparent than on a track called The Seven Rejoices of Mary, which is based on a traditional Irish tune, The Star of the County Down, but becoming more popular at Christmas since Loreena McKennitt recorded a vocal version on her 2008 Christmas album, A Midwinter Night's Dream. Jerry, of course, brings his own unique take to the tune, making it all his own.
There's a technique fiddlers and mandolin players use, called double stops, where they play more than one note at a time to add harmony. I don't know if that's what Jerry calls it, but he is a master of plucking multiple strings to advance the music along several lines at a time. His beautiful rendition of What Child is This? and the dramatic Angels We Have Heard on High are marvelous examples.
Jerry Barlow has all the virtuosity of a classical guitarist, combined with the Celtic soul that makes his music accessible to everyone. This CD is an excellent showpiece for his incredible talent.
This is an album that should be playing in everyone's home on Christmas Eve and every Christmas season for years to come. A great stocking stuffer, or gift for that special friend, it's sure to be treasured by any lover of Celtic music. Twas the Night joins three other CDs Jerry Barlow has recorded, his 1998 initial offering Keepsake, the groundbreaking 2006 Bring Down the Storm, and the more recent Fields and Fences, in which Jerry explored new territory once again. Stop by Jerry's website today and order your copy.
Jerry will also be performing at the Platteville Public Library on Saturday, December 21st as part of the Smithsonian's Journey Stories Exhibit. This performance will focus on the immigration of the Irish and Scottish to America and the difficulties they faced both on their journey and on their arrival. The program is at 2:00 p.m. 970.785.2231 for more information.