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CD Title: A Vision of the Season (Cat# 884502243710)
Genres: (Christmas/Holiday) Instrumental / World / Easy-Listening
Release dates: October 26, 2009 (Digital) / November 23, 2009 (Physical)
James Specialty Co.
P.O. Box 656
Paradise, CA 95967 USA
1 (530) 877-9682
News Release (Click here
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Brockton James Bio (Click here
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Interview (Or click here
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How did this particular project come about?
Well, for years I've wanted to record a collection of traditional
Christmas songs, all with a non-traditional "reimagining"
if you will. I wanted to have some fun and experiment with different
combinations of orchestral, folk and ethnic instruments, and create
a unique presentation of textures and rhythms for each song. This
project really became a wonderful creative journey, and the best
way I can describe the end result is: easy-listening with a folksy/world
They're all instrumental pieces?
Yes, although I do "hum" at the beginning of "O Come
All Ye, Faithful." (Laughs.) But this is one reason why I selected
these particular songs--they all have great melodic value and are
timeless! I wanted to focus on this aspect of each song without
regard to the lyrics. I think anyone who has heard my work over
the last decade, will assume this to be an instrumental project.
In addition to the traditional songs, you
have a couple of originals...
Yeah, I composed two songs
for this CD, "A New Tradition" in 2007 and "The Bells
of December" this year. "A New Tradition" is a classical
piece very much in the tradition of the Holiday classics of yesteryear.
"The Bells of December" is more of a modern, upbeat experimental
piece with orchestral elements, along with electric guitars, piano,
sax, bass and ethnic percussion. Like I said, the song was largely
an experiment, but I've gotten a great response from it so far!
You wrote "A New Tradition" in 2007--you've
been working on this project for a while!
I certainly have! In fact, the entire project took a little over
two years to complete! I did have some other projects going at the
same time, but I managed to work on this project whenever I could.
I didn't keep track of time, but I'm sure I have well over 2000
hours of work invested in this endeavor! I always like to take my
time with a project, anyway, but in this case, I had a deadline.
So I spent most of this last summer and into the fall working practically
day and night to get it completed. The Holidays sure approach quickly!
You mentioned your two originals. What are
your favorites from amongst the other songs?
Short answer? I like them all! (Laughs.) But I especially like how
"Angels We Have Heard On High" turned out. I used it as
a pre-release promotional single, in fact. It's largely orchestral,
but has ethnic hand percussion, which adds a "world" edge
to the orchestra. It features a very different arrangement from
what people are used to hearing! I also like "The First Noel,"
which is kind of a folk/world blend of acoustic guitars, mandolin,
harmonicas, concertina, organ and again, ethnic percussion. I think
it's a very unique sound for that particular song. But my all-time
favorite is, "O Holy Night." This is a well-written song--a
timeless melody. I kept this fairly traditional though. I play an
alto sax lead, with a full orchestra accompaniment. I think people
will enjoy it--I think people will enjoy the entire album for that
You've produced an interesting version of "The
Twelve Days of Christmas" too...
Well there are a lot of versions that have been done over the years,
and I think there have been more comedy versions of this song than
any other Christmas song! But I wanted to produce an instrumental
version that was interesting and light-hearted, without being too
whimsical. I've taken the most commonly-known lyrics, and have represented
each "item" with a musical, or rhythmic passage. For example,
French horns represent "French hens," a bass clarinet
for the "turtle doves," wood blocks for the "ladies
dancing," and so forth. I put a lot of time and thought into
this one, but it was a tremendous amount of fun to record!
How many songs are there?
There's fourteen total--twelve traditional pieces and the two new
Where is the CD available?
It's currently available from CDBaby.com and Amazon.com. It can
be downloaded from popcuts.com, and it will be coming soon to all
the popular download sites, like iTunes, Napster, Rhapsody, etc.
Most "brick and mortar" record stores should be able to
order it as well! People are welcome to visit the website, avisionoftheseason.com
for updated availability details and to hear song samples. And for
this year, anyone who orders directly through my company will get
Obviously, releasing a CD requires a tremendous
amount of promotional work too, and I understand you do most of
I do. And these days 90% of it is done online. It's vital for artists
to establish a strong online presence nowadays, utilizing their
own website, social networking sites, download sites, etc. I'm also
a website designer and have done promo work for clients, so I feel
I have a "leg up" in this area. Still, it's very time-consuming,
and can take a few weeks of work for a new CD release. In fact,
it can take a few years for an artist, or any business for that
matter, to become established online! As an example, I've had CDs
available on Amazon since 2001, and just this year they set up an
official "Brockton James store." (Laughs.)
So are you "Christmased" out? Any
plans for future Holiday-related projects?
You know, even though I've been immersed in Holiday music for two
years, I never tire of it! I can listen to these songs year-round!
(Laughs.) In fact, many of these traditional melodies started as
other seasonal folk songs centuries ago, but later evolved and became
associated with the Christmas season. And in answer to your other
question, yes! Absolutely--I am planning a second Holiday CD. I
already have a list of songs, in fact! But I'm currently focusing
on other projects, so we're probably looking at around three years
down the road.
Further questions--please email to address