It’s been awhile since I wrote an entry. There has been so much going on in the BR&F world that I just couldn’t quite get to this blog. I’m back for the moment.
I’ll get straight to the heart of the matter, or the blog entry. We’ve got a new disc. It’s a Christmas/Holiday disc called It’s Santa Claus and it came out great. We put a lot more effort into making the disc than I expected we would though I guess there is no surprise there. We have a history of effort! If you like anything BR&F has ever done and you are open to the idea of Christmas/Holiday music, it’s really safe to say you will love this CD.
The reviews for It’s Santa Claus have all been wonderful. There is also a short, short window to really get a hold of one of the discs and enjoy it during the season so I hope you make the effort. It’s available from the usual locations, Amazon.com, cdBaby.com and iTunes as well as some stores in the Boston area I’ll list below. The best place to purchase the disc however, is right on our website. It’s the cheapest place to get the discs and if you purchase more than one, (3 or 10 specifically) we’ll give you a discount. We always pick up the shipping on purchases made on our website, so you save some money there too. We want you to have this CD!
There have been quite a few very positive reviews for It’s Santa Claus. Some of my favorite are:
“The original song, “It’s Santa Claus” is in a class with Christmas favorites like “Here Comes Santa Claus” and “Frosty the Snowman." ~ Bob Etier, Technorati.com
“It is very hard NOT to sing along with this album and I found that it could easily provoke the holiday mood. “~ Take It From Me
“Love it! Love it! Love it! The end.” ~ MommyPerks.com
“While never sacrificing intelligence for the sake of entertainment, singer-guitarist Ben Rudnick and his friends live up to their “fun for all” promise for It’s Santa Claus. The New Englanders demonstrate how “Jingle Bell,” “Let It Snow” and six others take on freshness when treated with touches of jazz, rock, rockabilly, folk, Western swing, Tex-Mex and r&b." ~ Downbeat Magazine
A Little Back Story
The disc is new but BR&F have been playing Christmas music for years. This coming December 11th, we’ll be playing our Ninth Annual Holiday Extravaganza at the Regent Theatre in Arlington, MA. Ninth! Back before the first Extravaganza, the Regent Theatre folks were just getting their Family Fun series going and may have asked about a holiday show. Or we might of come up with a date for a December show and I may have thought holiday music would be appropriate. Either way, I’m sure there was a phone call to “and Friend” John Zevos that went something like this…
Ben: “Hey John, do we do holiday music?”
The fact of the matter is the answer is always yes. John and I play in an Irish Music band, Celtic Knot. Most of the gigs of course revolve around St. Patrick’s Day but there have been shows at other times of the year. One summer we loaded Celtic Knot onto a boat steaming around Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire. It was a beautiful afternoon, we played maybe two really long sets of music and our legs hurt for days form balancing ourselves while the boat rocked back and forth. It was a memorable and sparkling afternoon.
Whether it’s rock, bluegrass, Irish music, Chanukah music, Christmas music or a bit of everything the answer is YES. After eight years of people asking if we had a Christmas CD, the answer is now YES. Not only YES but YES and it’s GREAT.
Making It’s Santa Claus
We had just come back from the great BR&F Colorado excursion, played an absolutely memorable show in Medford on July 8th and then loaded into our studio of choice, Mortal Music in Charlestown, MA on the hot morning of Saturday morning July 10th. The idea was to record the basic tracks for six tunes and then do the vocals and any overdubs. We burned through the six tunes and even had time for one more tune. John did his vocals on the spot.
Over the next six weeks I added my vocals and instrumental overdubs were also added. I added LOTS of guitars. We had Rob Lee do LOTS of saxophones and newest “and Friend” Phil Aiken played some killer organ. We got vintage “and Friend” Jeff Bird (Cowboy Junkies) to drop a harmonica track on Auld Lang Syne. Arnie also came in and did his usual menagerie of vocal harmonies. In the album notes I always make a point of calling out Arnie vocal harmony efforts but you have to understand what a talent he has for this. Using the main vocal as a starting point, Arnie, often with Andy Pinkham’s (BR&F disc co-producer) input, will weave harmonies above, below and around making a lush addition to the song. Back on Grace’s Bell, the title track has three vocal tracks from me and seventeen (or nineteen – I’m sure Arnie remembers) from Arnie. It’s very impressive. Arnie felt that “Let It Snow” on this new disc was his best effort. Maybe!? I’m partial to Grace’s Bell but it’s a good argument to have.
BR&F artist extraordinaire, Bob von Elgg, pitched in some very appropriate artwork.
The Title Track
I wrote the title track, It’s Santa Claus!, earlier in the year. I got inspired from the whole “Who Dat?” thing that came out of the New Orleans Saints being in the Super Bowl. I extended that to be:
“Who’s that flying way up in the sky
He’s wearing red, that’s no regular guy
He’s flying all night and he never gets tired
He’s waiting all year for just this night
He’s got a sled full of toys
For all the little girls and boys”
And it went on from there. The track sounds instantly new and classic at the same time. I can’t tell you what a rush it is to think of something like that and then have it come to fruition. It’s a musical vision that takes the effort of many people to come to be. I appreciate every note.
Samples of the tracks on the disc can be heard on our website. The title track can be heard in full here.
Tracks on the disc are:
It’s Santa Claus! - 2:16 - play the song
(Ben Rudnick - Bartlett Ave. Publishing)
Jingle Bells - 3:16
(James Pierpont - Traditional)
Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree - 2:47
(J. Marks - St.Nicholas Music Inc.)
Let It Snow - 2:01
(Jule Styne, Sammy Cahn - WB Music Corp,
Chappell & Co.)
Frosty The Snowman - 2:54
(S. Nelson, J. Rollins - Chappell & Co.)
Here Comes Santa Claus - 1:58
(Gene Autry, Oakley Haldeman - Gene Autry’s Western Swing Music Publishing Company)
Auld Lang Syne - 2:46
Greensleeves - 3:40
So there you go – the It’s Santa Claus story and a commercial all rolled into one. If you know us at all, you know we’re something of a soft sell. If you want our music we think that’s great. If you don’t want it right now, we hope you’ll want it in the future. With It’s Santa Claus!, we hope you want it right now! Tis the season.
Get It’s Santa Claus Online
Get physical copies in the Boston area:
Mostly, we wish you a wonderful holiday season.
Ben and the friends.