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A Mandolin Christmas, Vol. 2

by Karen Mal & Will Taylor

Lyrics: The Angel Gabriel from Heaven came His wings as drifted snow His eyes as flame "All Hail!" said he, "thou lowly maiden Mary," "Most Highly Favoured Lady," Gloria! "For known a Blessed Mother thou shalt be, All generations laud and honour thee Thy Son shall be Immanuel, by seers foretold Most highly favoured Lady," Gloria! Then gentle Mary meekly bowed her head; "To me, be as it pleaseth God," she said. "My soul shall laud and magnify His holy Name" Most highly favoured Lady! Gloria! Of her Immanuel, the Christ was born, In Bethlehem, all on a Christmas morn. And everyone throughout the world will ever say, "Most highly favoured Lady!" Gloria!
Gesu Bambino 03:43
O Holy Night 04:06


Volume Two of "A Mandolin Christmas" digs a bit deeper into the traditional Christmas canon. And a little farther back in time. Some of these velvety melodies are centuries old. There's a remarkable, almost mystical quality in these ancient carols: they carry the mood of Christmas, even the less widely-known ones, embedded in their very fabric somehow.

In our modern high-speed digital culture, Christmas music is maybe the only "popular music" still rooted in the Middle Ages, and also in acoustic instruments. These arrangements are at once simple and yet sophisticated. The crystalline tone of Karen's mandolin with Will's jazz-infused classical guitar serve this music so elegantly. You can almost hear the fire crackling and see the lights twinkling on the tree. There's a wealth of fantastic, more modern Christmas music as well, but no matter how progressive we are in our other musical tastes, there's still a wide appeal for these old carols. They immediately invoke all Christmases past. They remind us and inspire us of the sense of well-being from our own childhoods, and that of our children's.

This is a record that will be a lovely accompaniment to any holiday atmosphere. It has a sound that warms up a room instantly and still leaves space in the air for both lively conversation, and the serenity that comes from taking a break from the bustle of our every day lives.

Will recorded, mixed, mastered and generally magicked this recording into life. .

Will plays guitar, Karen plays mandolin: it doesn't get any more "duo" than this. Together we came up with arrangements, harmonies, design ideas and the mission of sharing the beauty of acoustic Christmas music, and the sense of well-being it inspires and reminds us of.

Extra special thanks to Patrick Fernandez and Joyce and Kent Walker

For sheet music, videos, more albums, and more information on the songs, visit:

The Songs - History and arrangement notes

Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Premiered December 18, 1892

I inserted in the middle a gypsy jazz version of Auld Lang Syne in a minor key
Bigger reverb because I wanted to emulate the orchestral version
The piece was noted for its use of the celesta, in which the mandolin parts replace in this version

Wexford Carol Traditional Irish folk melody, transcribed by William Grattan Flood
Oh Shenandoah is a traditional American folk song of uncertain origin, dating to the early 19th century.

is a traditional religious Irish Christmas carol originating from County Wexford and, specifically, Enniscorthy

The Angel Gabriel is a Basque Christmas folk carol from 13th or 14th century.

Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella / Simple Gifts 3:58 French Carol 17th Century
Simple Gifts is a Shaker song written and composed in 1848 by Elder Joseph Brackett.

Carol of the Bells is a Christmas carol, by Ukrainian composer Mykola Leontovych in 1914

In Dulci Jubilo ("In sweet rejoicing") is a traditional Christmas carol dating from the Middle Ages.

Gesu Bambino is an Italian Christmas carol composed by Pietro Yon in 1917

Good King Wenceslas / Go Tell it on the Mountain is an African-American spiritual song, compiled by John Wesley Work, Jr., dating back to at least 1865

Watchman, Tell Us of the Night by John Bowring

Included Bach’s invention in D minor as interlude

O Holy Night is a well-known Christmas carol composed by Adolphe Adam in 1847 to the French poem "Minuit, chrétiens" (Midnight, Christians) written by a wine merchant and poet, Placide Cappeau (1808–1877)


released November 19, 2018

Artwork by Laurie McClain
Mixed by Will Taylor and Patrick Fernandez


all rights reserved



Will Taylor & Strings Attached Austin, Texas

🎻 Violinist heard on The Office, NPR, & Collaborations w/Willie Nelson, Pearl Jam, and Shawn Colvin. ❤️ Will Taylor and Strings Attached has made a name for itself by reworking iconic music like the Beatles ‘White album’, as well as Joni Mitchell, Pink Floyd, Paul Simon, and Jimi Hendrix—adding jazz and roots flavors along with string arrangements to lovingly assembled acoustic renditions. ... more

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