A Mandolin Christmas

by Karen Mal & Will Taylor

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about

A jazz musician, a folk artist, 20 fingers pulling 14 strings & 19 ancient melodies that time has polished.

A Mandolin Christmas

Deep in the throes of the hottest summer on record in Austin, TX, Karen Mal and Will Taylor decided to make a Christmas album. It was a 112-degree "Silent Night" in their un-airconditioned recording studio in August. Even the cat was sweating. The couple had collaborated on many musical projects; his, hers, and their ensemble's, but a "Mandolin Christmas" is purely a duet in every sense of the word. It's a dance between two partners: the mandolin and the classical guitar. And that's it. Karen and Will are perhaps better-known as vocalist and violinist, respectively, but as the tracks blossomed, the two instruments just didn't seem to want any company. There's a simple elegance in the combination that makes for a classic record. "A Mandolin Christmas" is also a duet between traditional folk music and jazz. The music includes pristine old-style classical arrangements, and also subtle and playful jazz harmonizations, weaving around familiar melodies that sound like home. You can practically smell the sugar cookies coming out of the oven, see the kitchen windows steaming up. Even the packaging is a duet. Karen staged the shots in their vegetable garden. That's a real Calabacita squash with the bow on it. (we ate it for Thanksgiving) Will took the photos and fit everything into the artwork templates. If you like Christmas music even a little, you're going to love this album. You're going to love it again when you dig it out next year, and again and again, every holiday season.

credits

released December 1, 2011

Will Taylor: Guitars
Karen Mal: Mandolins

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Will Taylor & Strings Attached Austin, Texas

For the past decade, Will Taylor’s group has made a name for itself by reworking iconic music like the Beatles ‘White album’, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and Rubber Soul as well as the hits of Led Zeppelin, Joni Mitchell, Pink Floyd, Paul Simon, Peter Gabriel and Jimi Hendrix—adding jazz and roots flavors along with string arrangements to lovingly assembled acoustic renditions. ... more

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