There’s no question that the Holiday season is really warmed in our hearts by the great music that has always shown up right around the holidays year after year. Increasingly, solo guitarists have been creating instrumental Christmas music albums as an almost essential part of their catalogs! I haven’t quite taken that step yet, but over the years have created some guitar music with this season in mind. I guess I’ve been trying to “stick to my guns” when it comes to creating my own Holiday songs, without feeling like I have to cover the already well-worn classics.
Still, it’s a good time to reflect on the music of this time of year. First of all, mainly because it’s basically unavoidable, and also since so much of it is in instrumental form, it simply has to evoke and awake the guitarist in us. Many of the songs of Christmas bring to mind open and altered tunings, since we really want to create as full a sound on the guitar as we can. This is always helped by open tunings, unless the song of course, is really aided by using standard tuning. Drop D is very good when you want a kind of “bass drone” for hypnotic tunes such as “Little Drummer Boy” and “Silent Night”, and really might be fun to try, either on your own, or when playing for a special Holiday gathering!
My new, upcoming album will have some solo acoustic pieces peppered throughout mostly electric “band” tunes, and one in particular has a definite “Holiday Season” kind of vibe to it that I’ve wanted to record for years that if released properly, I believe could even become a new Holiday classic! Of course, all of us who write music would love to hit that Christmas “jackpot” with a great Holiday song, but we must be realists and understand that it’s very much up to “chance”, as literally thousands of probably very good Christmas songs have been written that have never even been heard!
As far as covering Holiday songs, there have been some truly masterful versions done over the years, both purely instrumental, as well as vocal, and I would certainly recommend you check out as much of this wonderful music this Holiday season. It’s good for the spirit, while at the same time being very inspiring for us as players. Give it a listen, and even try to play some…it’ll be a good thing for you and others all season long! Enjoy your Holidays, and your Holiday music!