The Greatest Gift

Released: November 2009


I originally wrote the trilogy of songs that appear on this album for performance at  Trinity Presbyterian Church’s  annual “A Westchester Christmas” concerts. Each of the three songs was written in the voice of  someone who may have witnessed the birth and life of Jesus.

In “Come This Night,” it may be a faithful shepherd who, on that fateful night, sits a hill overlooking  Bethlehem.

GG_CDFrontSmlThe protagonist in “The Greatest Gift,”  possibly is an angel speaking to Israel, foretelling what the future holds.

In “Strange Boy, ” the voice could be of a contemporary of Jesus. Perhaps someone who, having lived in Nazareth, watched him grow from boyhood to man.

Some notes on the other songs:

“Oh Come, Oh Come Emmanuel”- Singing harmony has been one of my favorite things since I was a kid. I’ll do it with other people, or by myself (thank you Les Paul, for the technology.)

“Mary’s Boy Child”- One of my favorite Christmas songs. Harry Belafonte had a hit with it. Composed by Jester Hairston, songwriter and actor. Hairston , also a renowned choral director, composed over 300 spirituals. He acted in many famous movies and wrote the song “Amen” that Sidney Poitier sang in “Lillies Of The Field.”

Greatest_Gift_flyer2“Silent Night”- My all time favorite Christmas carol and, I believe, one of the most beautiful melodies ever. Family lore says that one of the composers is an ancestor of my wife Maureen.

“Go, Tell It On The Mountain”- Great African-American spiritual. We had a lot of fun recording  the choruses (the gang really got into it!)

“My Anchor Holds”- Lyrics, by W.C. Martin, from an old hymn. I was inspired and wrote a new musical backing for them. Not actually a Christmas song, but great words for rough times.  A Christmas song for sailors, perhaps?

“The Greatest Gift”  was recorded and mixed at Waters Edge Studio in Rye, NY , between July and November 2009. I sang all the lead vocals and played many of the instruments (including 6 and 12 string acoustic guitars, piano, drums and percussion.)

Some of my friends came in and did a great job helping me record the album.. As a Beach Boys song once stated, “You need a mess of help to stand alone.” Truly!

John Patitucci       Bass on all instrumental tracks.

Dave Hirschman Electric guitar on “Come This Night,” and “Strange Boy.”

Pete Kennedy       Electric guitar on  “ Go, Tell It On The Mountain,”

Mandolin on “The Greatest Gift.”

John Walsh          Fingerstyle guitar on “Silent Night.”

David August       Piano on “Go, Tell It On The Mountain.”

The Trinity Strings:

Richard Rood      1st Violin
Denise Rood        2nd Violin
Rachel Petite        Viola
Sachi Patitucci     Cello

The Chorus on “Go, Tell It On The Mountain.”

Mindy Sax    Maureen Adamson    Rene Redmond     John Redmond

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