‘Tis the season
Happy Appy Records
As have many other musicians over the first three-quarters of this year, Amy Gallatin has spent this quarantine time turning her attention to a oft-considered but long-unfinished project: recording 20 of the tunes she performs in her Christmas shows with the Christmas in New England ensemble and the Hot Flashes.
Christmas tunes these may be, but Amy is never far from her roots. This collection of familiar (“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” or “Mister Santa”) and not-so-familiar tunes (like Wil Maring’s “Bucky’s Present” about a cowboy at Christmas) is masterfully arranged by Amy and Roger and JD Williams (stalwart members of the Stillwaters band, who also cover their traditional Stillwaters musical roles). A lot of clever arranging is required to seamlessly reframe a Frank Sinatra signature tune – and most of the other tunes on this project – into the bluegrass format, but it works and works very well. Add to that instrumental mixture Amy’s voice and a variety of great backup singers, and ‘Tis the Season becomes a delightful surprise.
REVIEWED BY Chris Thiessen