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Neal Morse - Last Minute Christmas Album

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Description

Track Listing:

  1. Caroling, Caroling!
  2. All You Need Is Love On Christmas
  3. Worldwide Sleigh Ride
  4. It’s Christmas Time At Last
  5. Silver Bells And Promises
  6. On This Most Holy Night
  7. Mrs. Claus
  8. Everything I Want For Christmas
  9. ‘Tis The Season To Be Blue
  10. Lo How A Rose E’er Blooming
  11. O Come, All Ye Faithful

Produced by Neal Morse

Mixed and mastered by Jerry Guidroz and Neal Morse

Cover art by Levi Pippin

 

All songs written by Neal Morse except:

“Caroling, Caroling!” written by Alfred Burt

“Lo How A Rose E’er Blooming” written by Michael Praetorious

“O Come, All Ye Faithful” written by John Francis Wade

“Hark The Herald Angels Sing” written by Felix Mendelssohn

 

All instruments and vocals performed by Neal Morse except:

Philip Martin - Drums on “Mrs. Clause” and “O Come, All Ye Faithful”, and percussion on “Everything I Want For Christmas”

Ally Smith  - Lead vocal on “Silver Bells And Promises”

Julie Harrison – Background vocals on “All You Need Is Love On Christmas”, “Silver Bells And Promises”, lead vocals on “O Come, All Ye Faithful” and whistling on “Mrs. Claus”

Wil Morse – Lead Vocals on “O Come, All Ye Faithful”

Reva Farmer – Rap on “Worldwide Sleigh Ride”

Gideon Klein – Strings on “On This Most Holy Night”

Amy Pippin - Background vocals on “Silver Bells And Promises”

Choir on “On This Most Holy Night” - Wil Morse, Amy Pippin, Joey Pippin, Julie Harrison, Debbie Bresee, April Zachary, Neal Morse and Aaron Webb

 

  1. Caroling, Caroling!

My father was a choir director and loved the composer Alfred Burt. Apparently, he wrote a choral Christmas song every year for his friends and my father loved to tell me about him and we always enjoyed singing his carols at Christmas time.

I have to give credit to Geoff Bailie on this one because I thought I was done with all the songs and ready to mix this record, when he texted me and said, “Hey, you need a fast song.” Actually you need one that “rocks” is what he said. Realizing he was right, I woke up early Wednesday morning (the album was releasing on Saturday!) and started to think about a Christmas song that I could speed up. I read through lists of Christmas songs and when I saw “Caroling, Caroling!” I thought, “what could one do with that?“

I thought about doing it in a fast shuffle and went in and tracked the whole thing and was done by about noon I think. Recorded only 3 days ago, this is fresh bread indeed!

 

  1. All You Need Is LOVE On Christmas

Written in November of 2020, this is my Covid-19 Christmas 2020 song. We were supposed to play it at our Christmas concert December 5th, but of course it was canceled like so many things this year. The thought is simple, even though things get shut down and we can’t be where we would like to be, or where we’ve been in the past at Christmas time, if we love each other, we can still have a good Christmas. We will be missing Jayda and Brandon this year for sure… but this song is a reminder of all that we have to be thankful for, even during the pandemic.

 

  1. Worldwide Sleigh Ride

Where do these things come from?  Several years ago, I was riding up a ski lift in Colorado and I heard the chorus of this song. I got off the ski lift and as I was singing it into my phone, I was joined by Jayda’s then future husband Brandon Haley, who thought I was possibly the most peculiar father-in-law anyone could ever have! It was super fun for me to complete this one but there was something missing. When Reva added his rap I thought, finally, it is complete! It's the cherry on top of a very amusing but catchy song!

 

  1. It’s Christmas Time At Last

I have this problem… I can only get into writing and recording Christmas songs at Christmas time! You’re definitely not supposed to do that… people record their Christmas albums all year long in Nashville to be released on November 1. But I just can’t get into it! So, this is one of my favorite holiday songs that I’ve written and it was written 2 years ago when I wrote a whole batch of songs right around December 25.

My absolute favorite thing about the song is I was able to employ what I call the Mel Torme “Chestnuts” chord. It’s the chord that plays at the end of the line “Santa’s coming soon so hold on fast." It’s a D7 with the left hand and a B major chord with your right hand. I’m not even sure what kind of sense that makes but it’s a beautiful chord and I’ve wanted to use it for 30 years. It finally found its perfect home in this song. I hope you enjoy it.

 

  1. Silver Bells And Promises

I really have no idea where these things come from. Of that batch of Christmas songs that I wrote 2 years ago, I believe this was the first one. I just woke up with it in my head and couldn’t get it out.

It’s been bothering me for quite a while that I never finished it. So, it’s a wonderful thing for me to finally have a proper version of this song which I think has great pop merit and it’s also about something that I can’t remember a Christmas song being about before. Which, by the way is quite an unusual thing. There’s been a Christmas song about just about everything you could possibly say, but I’ve never heard one about a girl that wants to get married at Christmas. So, if you ever wanted to hear what Neal Morse sounded like writing a pop Christmas song that might be done by Colbie Caillat or something, here you go! Great vocal by Ally Smith!

 

  1. On This Most Holy Night

Josh Groban, where are you? I have a confession to make, I know my voice is not the perfect voice for some of these songs. I try to sound smooth… but I’m just not. My voice has an edge to it that I just can’t seem to get away from… But this song should really be sung by someone like Mr. Groban, but, bear with me. I love the strings and the choir and I think this one is very moving and I felt the movement of it when we performed it at one of our Christmas concerts. Definitely the best serious song of the batch. Thanks to all the lovely people that helped to make this one happen. Nice mix from Jerry as well.

 

  1. Mrs. Claus

We had our grandkids over last weekend and we watched the original “Rudolph the Red-Nosed reindeer“ TV special. Very nostalgic.

Tuesday morning I woke up with the chorus melody for Mrs. Claus in my head. It seemed rather familiar, but I’ve been wanting to give a gift to my wife for Christmas and I thought writing her a song would be appropriate, so I took this melody and wrote a song for her in the wee hours of the morning.

It wasn’t till later that I realized that the chorus melody is a slow variation of the “we are Santa’s elves“ song from the Rudolph show. However, I don’t think it’s close enough that anyone would ever notice… But I thought I’d tell you here!

Obviously, this is a tribute to my wonderful wife who plans and works on Christmas all year long. I tease her a lot about how much food she makes and how many presents she buys, but our granddaughter Zella said to her recently “Grammy, it’s just not Christmas till we come to your house“. Mission accomplished.

 

  1. Everything I Want For Christmas

One of my favorites of the more recent Christmas songs is “This Christmas” by Donnie Hathaway. The chords are so cool and we had been practicing it for Wil to sing at one of our Christmas concerts when it definitely inspired me to write this song. Not the most original lyric in the world but I really like the way the tune and the melody sits. Philip did some nice percussion that makes this track bounce and groove in a really nice way. Oh, yeah and the drummer grooves a little bit too…

 

  1. ‘Tis The Season To Be Blue

This is the only really old song of mine that’s on this record. This song made an appearance on my first Christmas album back in 2000, or whenever it was, but I always felt that it deserved a more proper treatment. I actually think it deserves a big band arrangement at some point in my life, but for now, we have a kind of jazz/pop combo sounding version. I think I wrote this song somewhere around 1988 after a girlfriend broke up with me that I was missing a lot at the holidays. I actually asked my wife if she minded if I recorded it again being that was about someone else, she looked at me like I’d lost my mind. Apparantly she’s secure in our relationship.

 

  1. Lo How A Rose E’er Blooming

This was another one of my father’s favorite songs and my family loved to sing this with all of our friends when we would go Christmas caroling every year in California. The choral arrangement is just beautiful and I’ve been singing it every year of my life since I’ve been alive. Last Saturday morning I had the inspiration to do it as an acoustic guitar/vocal. I hope the beginning thing doesn’t sound too much like Blackbird by the Beatles. That’s also one of my favorite songs.. so this is kind of a combination of Lo How A Rose E’er Blooming, Blackbird, with a little of The Boxer by Simon and Garfunkel thrown in.

 

  1. O Come, All Ye Faithful

This is the Hillsong arrangement of the classic Christmas Carol and we have played it at our Holiday concerts on several occasions. It has a really powerful worship feeling and I thought it would be a nice way to round out the album. Julie, Wil, and Philip came by the house on Tuesday night and we tracked this one in about 15 minutes. He alone is worthy… a nice place to land.

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