For my first album, “A Guitar on Christmas Day,” I chose a variety of traditional holiday songs and rearranged them in what I thought would be different and unique styles. (Listen to Deck the Halls and Jingle Bells as good examples.) The Austrian and German medleys were inspired by the years I lived in both countries, where the celebration of Christmas was always very special.
On the follow-up album, "Another Guitar on Christmas Day," I again used traditional, classic, and international Christmas favorites, and tried to rearrange them creatively with a light jazz influence.
I also released a digital single based on, "March of the Toys," written by Victor Herbert for his operetta and movie, "Babes in Toyland." I have always been a huge fan and admirer of the great Django Reinhardt, and thus the musical genre he created, Gypsy Jazz or Swing. Django was a member of the Manouche clan and, over time, his style of music became known in France as Jazz Manouche. So I took this great song and began it with a snare drum and guitar in the traditional fashion. However, the tempo then quickly changes to a Manouche style, with its driving rhythm and staccato rhythm guitar. The only other addition is a stand-up bass often heard in this music, hence the revised name, "March of the Manouche Toys." It was a great deal of fun to record as was designing the album art. As a model, I used a Nutcracker doll I purchased in Germany when I lived there, then changed the long hair and beard to groomed sideburns and pencil mustache reminiscent of the Gypsy Jazz players in the 1930's and through the years. This single has done surprisingly well in a very short period of time and it will lead to my next full album in tribute to this fabulous music!
Streaming is available on Apple Music, YouTube, Spotify, Deezer, Amazon, and many other platforms worldwide. Digital purchase is also available on these sites as well as on iTunes. Finally, hard CD's may be purchased on Amazon. To anyone listening to these albums and single on streaming, I hope you enjoy them. To those who have already downloaded or purchased them, my sincerest thanks.
TO LISTEN TO SAMPLES OR PURCHASE CLICK ON THE ALBUM COVER BELOW:
This album is dedicated to my late uncle, Michael Ksenic, who painstakingly took the time way back in March 1960 to teach a seven-year old how to play guitar and accordion. He also gave me my first two guitars. Without his guidance, patience, and generosity, I would never have begun my personal guitar journey.
For his early and ongoing influence and inspiration to me, this album is respectfully dedicated to Chet Atkins.
All Songs on both albums are in the Public Domain, and Arranged and Performed by Robert Allena