Holiday Fare

About 3 years ago my wife asked me to record holiday tunes and traditional Christmas carols on my classical guitar.  
So I did ... and I'm making available what's done - and adding to the recordings each year.

They are available below for listening, downloading, burning-to-CDs, and generally playing for your enjoyment (i.e. they are all free). 

I would love to hear back from you, on whether or not you liked them, or any suggestion you have for improvements... and enjoy!

Jon Sayles:

Click the name of the song below...

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The 2011 submission - a sort of indie/country version of a traditional carol - in three sections, with the final section that quotes from other carols.  Enjoy.
Up-tempo - a hall in a hurry :-)
While sitting in my office, all comfy and warm and safe, I got a note from a marine stationed in Iraq last week, wondering if I'd ever thought to record Silent Night. So - I don't have a lot to offer a guy who's putting his life on the line for me - and us, except to say - Yes Geoff, I did. This one goes out to you - and to all your friends and the men and women in arms who keep us safe and comfy and warm in our offices. Thanks man - this is the least I can do. And for anyone out there who'd like to drop Geoff a line, here's his eMail: Geoffrey Gilbert - Semper Fidelis.
So, here it is 2009 - a year later and well - what a year it's been, huh?  Lucky for all of us guys like Geoff are still out there - and we can only thank them ('though it's not nearly enough for the sacrifices they make).  Geoff thought the Holiday Site could use a nice rendition of "Away in a Manger".  Hope this works for you, Geoff. Merry Christmas. Stay safe - and I'm looking forward to you the 2010 carol request.  Deal? 
Slow and somber.  In fact, I was amazed as I sifted through the Christmas carol literature at how MANY carols are slow ... and... somber.  A friend of mine reminded me that a lot these pieces were written for, and played in church... during the not-so-roaring 1800's.  Good point!
Stately and serene.  It's amazing how much classical guitar ensemble reminds you of choral sounds.
One of my kid-favorites.  I was always a sucker for counter-point.
Not one of my kid-favorites, but much more fun to play - and listen to on guitar(s) than to sing.  But maybe it's just that I sing so out of tune children have been known to cry when hearing me! 
This is a pretty arrangement - sort of nostalgic sounding.
A jazzy intro leads to a creative mix of this traditional Saxon tune with an Early Music melody named: My Lady Carey...
A folk-guitar accompaniment for this pretty lullaby.
This stately and grand tune came out much better than I would have thought.  Sounds almost like a Bach Chorale.
This traditional lute song (lutes were the grandfather of guitars) receives a contemporary chordal accompaniment, then
Finally - a quick and uplifting, dance-like carol.  Nice stuff - French in origin (maybe it's the wine which takes the edge off, but French Renaissance music doesn't seem to tend to the overly dark and moody).
A gorgeous solo voice arrangement from a piano book.
Kind of pops oriented.  But fun to play!
I used an old Flamenco guitar technique to simulate an ancient drum sound on this one (got a little carried away at the end, too)!
This beautiful 12th century melody is one of my favorites.
A gorgeous and romantic oldie.
No holiday set is complete without this one.
One of my dad's favorites... I can hear him singing now, with a clear (and in-tune) baritone.....
This old English tune is given new life inside this neat guitar-choral arrangement.
As humble as it is magnificent, this old tune is transcribed for 3-parts (possibly to be added on), and guitar accompaniment.
A kind of Christmas-polka version of this cool old 50's carol
This started off as a tribute to James Taylor/style arrangement but got out of hand.  I will also add a few supporting vocal tracks in a bit.

This selection is dedicated to the memory of my mom, Joann Wood Sayles - who loved Christmas, and songs like this.  I know she's in a happier place now - see you someday, mom. J

A fabulous oldie - 8 separate guitar parts makes this one of the "big production #s" of the group.
Cool 50's jazzy arrangement ... sort of an ode to Fred Waring's Xmas arrangements I used to listen to and love growing up.
Hopefully Bing's not rolling over in his grave over this one.  It actually was pretty easy to record.
Sentimental (romantic?) - just the stuff of Christmas made specially for lovers (and soul-mates!)
A bit like Brian May meets Kris Kringle - but fun, bouncy and appropriately rhythmic.
Starts off with a passionate tenor aria, and then intersperses solos with the guitar chorus.
Lovely carol - popular in WWII (thanks Bob) - 4 tracks, with an attempt at an island-sounding ending (with an emphasis on attempt)   :-)
A contemporary take on the classic. Sorry about the lengthy jam at the end (can you say, "indulgent"?).  But it was fun to play.
Another Geoff Gilbert suggestion (see above.... as usual great pick, man!).  And thanks again Geoff - for your service in the cause of our freedom and security. Looking forward to next year's request.

To hear more classical guitar music that sounds a lot like the holidays, visit the Early Music page!