Jim Cornwell | 12 Christmas Picks

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12 Christmas Picks

by Jim Cornwell

An acoustic, instrumental collection of 12 traditional Christmas Carols that have been tastefully arranged for acoustic steel string guitar and mandolin.
Genre: Country: Bluegrass
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Joy To The World
2:46 $0.99
2. O Holy Night
3:43 $0.99
3. Angels We Have Heard On High
3:34 $0.99
4. What Child Is This?
3:25 $0.99
5. Silent Night
3:47 $0.99
6. Deck the Halls
2:43 $0.99
7. O Little Town of Bethlehem
2:43 $0.99
8. Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus
2:28 $0.99
9. Hark the Herald Angels Sing
3:36 $0.99
10. O Come All Ye Faithful
3:42 $0.99
11. Carol of the Bells
3:18 $0.99
12. Bring a Torch, Jeanette Isabella
2:30 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
This is an acoustic, instrumental collection of 12 traditional Christmas Carols that have been tastefully arranged for acoustic steel string guitar and mandolin. These internationally well known melodies have survived since the 14th Century and continue to bring the original joy and true meaning of Christmas to a modern day world that so desperately needs “peace on earth and good will toward men.”

As advertised in the 2008 October, November, and December issues of Bluegrass Unlimited magazine, this is Jim Cornwell's fourth CD release and again is an instrumental compilation of tunes featuring steel string acoustic guitar and mandolin. Jim is primarily a bluegrass guitar flatpicker, but wanted this CD to have a “traditional feel” with the taste and respect of Classical or Baroque music with a Renaissance twist! Jim fingerpicks many of these tunes, but still provides lots of flatpicking. Those familiar with Jim’s other CD’s will remember how he used this technique in recording Pachebel’s Canon in D, Bach’s Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring, and Minuet in G. This Christmas CD stemmed from Jim’s frustration with not being able to find an acoustic instrumental Christmas album that had arrangements where the melody was easily recognized by the "common" listener. Frequently, instrumental arrangements are so complicated, artistic or “jazzy”, they often succeed in only manifesting the virtuoso capabilities of the musician, and sacrifice the crucial melody in the interpretation. This can cause the loss of a connection between familiar music and the non musician or "common audience." Jim’s arrangements are “simple” in terms of retaining the melody, but “complex” enough to remain pleasing to the ear and interesting even after repeated listening. Anyone can sing along to their favorite tunes without getting lost. “12 Christmas Picks” provides great background music for decorating the Christmas tree, Christmas shopping, traveling to visit family and friends, and of course opening Christmas presents, but it could also be used in the foreground whenever and for whatever the listener deems necessary!

Jim likes to play his two Collings guitars against each other on most tracks. A D-1A mahogany for the high and mid ranges, and a D-2HBaaaA Brazilian rosewood for the mid and low ranges. This is especially striking on track #5 “Silent Night” and track #10 “O Come All Ye Faithful.” Jim’s favorite, track #8, “Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus” incorporates the use of rounds and blending melodic lines against each other using his Collings MF-5 mandolin. The familiar “Carol of the Bells”, track #11, plays nicely as guitars and mandolins echo each other in harmony. To bring things full circle, Jim starts and ends track #12, “Bring a Torch, Jeanette Isabella”, with the simplicity of a solo guitar. Jim also uses his 1942 Martin D-18 and his 1921 Gibson A-4 to give the listener an authentic vintage tone. All tracks were digitally recorded "clean" with no effects, in the uncompressed linear 16-bit mode, and were closely miked, using a Neumann KM-184 condenser microphone, in an attempt to capture the true acoustic "live" sound of the instruments.

These beautiful “Christmas” melodies are worth hearing year round and shouldn’t be restricted to just the month of December!



to write a review

J. Lathan

Mandolin fan
I have listened to this new release from Jim Cornwell three times after having received it just two days ago. All I can say is this collection exceeds Jim's earlier work. Not in talent but in giving timeless tradition a new face. Usually, Christmas songs done by many a Nashville Guru tend to put me in a "I have heard it all before mood". Not so with what I heard here! If you like Grisman and Thile ya gotta pick this one up. O Holy night will send a shiver down your back as that old pre war Gibson A-4 delivers what it was intended to, a gut felt level of satisfaction. You all know when you here that stop in your tracks back stage festival sound. Old Bill would have loved this! This song will bring back a memory of the best Merlot or Zin you have ever enjoyed. Woody, depth of flavor and only the best of taste....... Carols of the Bells brings a new dimension of creativity to a timeless classic. I wonder if Chris Thile will hear this? Bring a torch, Jeanette Isabella is the topping of the Cake and sets you up to listen to the C/d all over again. I am glad you labored in bringing this C/d to us Jim. It was no problem giving you a five star rating on this project! Merry Christmas to all and to all, my advice is give this one a listen. One last thing, the song samplers you listen to do not deliver the complete package. I played them on my Pc while writing this and many of the best parts of the songs could not be heard. I guess it is a how much you can put up to listen to thing.
Joe Lathan

Tim Kilcrease

Truly Evocative
Mr. Cornwell has again managed to achieve the seemingly impossible. Already a consummate guitarist and mandolinist, Jim has polished a glass-smooth delivery further still. Being an alleged guitarist with a pretty good ear, I can, at once, be thrilled and envious. These are exceptionally rendered interpretations of tunes that celebrate Christ's birth, evocations of the true meaning of Christmas, by a master musician. Kudos Jim!

Chester-Way Up In The Woods

Instrumental, to say the least
This is one perfect Christmas album! I bet these won't last. If you're into CDBABY, then ya know what I mean! Jim Cornwell rivals Doc, Dawg, Mike, Bill and the boys. Man, I'd love to hear him live. What a phenomenal guitar & mandolin picker. Listen to the samples for only a small taste. Jim obviously put some time in picking and arranging this instrumental collection. This is a superb CD!! The best I've heard, and I've been way up in the woods for a long time now. I bought a handful of 'em and am set for Christmas. $9.07 each-total-with the 30% discount. They look already wrapped up!! Inside the cover is a paragraph of info for each song. You sure can tell that Jim is singing Merry CHRISTmas on this instrumental outing. Thanks Jim for your dedication and excellence. This CD was 'instrumental' for my son pickin' up a mandolin, handmade by the mandolin fan. God Bless you Jim Cornwell. Chester