Wow! What a surprise!
Sharon Smith | Stillwater, Maine United States | 11/24/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I bought this CD in error; I wanted a Smoky Mountain Christmas with dulcimer music. This CD sat on my desk a couple of weeks before I decided to open it. I figured it was just typical twangy bango music; that it would all sound the same and bore me. This music is smooth and original! I was going to give away the CD but it's a keeper. I will probably play it all year round. I highly recommend it to anyone that wants a Christmas CD that is different."
Fairchild's like Santa for bringing us this heart-warming Bl
J. Ross | Roseburg, OR USA | 12/15/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Playing Time - 30:34 -- Raymond Fairchild has a long and successful affiliation with the Rural Rhythm record label originally formed by Uncle Jim O'Neal in 1955 in Arcadia, Ca. Fairchild's "King of the Smokey Mountain Banjo" landmark album had 31 tunes on it and was cut at a South Carolina radio station in one long evening. Since then, there have been many other Raymond Fairchild albums on the label, and they all are full of boundless energy and determination as his varied banjo techniques propel plain ol' country picking, fiddle tunes, standard bluegrass, old country and gospel. Striving for an even greater market, one of Raymond's albums ("Honkey Tonkin' Country Blues") featured blues numbers and except for his banjo could not really be called bluegrass. Some other records were a long ways from his mountain music background or even bluegrass. Including drums, saxophone and steel guitar, Raymond seemed willing to experiment with sounds and styles that few others had ever attempted on the banjo.
It makes perfect sense that the "King of the 5-String Banjo" would have a Christmas album too. This tastefully done project features all-instrumental collection of many seasonal favorites. Raymond could've really gone to town with some of his more innovative licks and tricks, but he keeps his picking fairly conservative with this holiday fare. That's probably a wise approach with these 14 carols and songs that also include Cody Shuler (mandolin), Arvil Freeman (fiddle), Wayne Crowe (bass, guitar), and Bruce Moody (guitar). Thankfully they don't play with Nashville-styled slickness. They just seem to have fun and play with spirit (sometimes with a little harmony thrown in) that would make Jolly Ol' St, Nick proud.
When family and friends come over for a holiday gathering, put this CD on to liven things up a bit. There are plenty of easy listening Christmas albums out there, and "yule" surely get a kick from banjo-centric renditions of "Frosty the Snowman" and "Here Comes Santa Claus." In a certain way, Fairchild is like Santa too for bringing us this heart-warming gift for a Bluegrassy Christmas. (Joe Ross, staff writer, Bluegrass Now)