Paul Gilbert is truly a gift to humanity. Just when you thought he’s shredded all there is to shred, he shreds the ever living hell out of Christmas classics. I am 100% not a Christmas music person, and this whole album has been on repeat since it came out Thanksgiving weekend. Paul Gilbert is surrounded by a fantastic group of other musicians and the arrangements across the board are outrageous. They pass lines around the group like the ‘85 Bulls passed the rock. There is an immense amount of ingenuity brought to these classic songs; and while this is an “instrumental” album, the vocal nature of Gilbert’s is STRIKING, and it’s easy for the you to catch yourself singing along with the tunes.
Oh shit – he wrote originals too? Both tracks have lyrics that accompany Paul Gilbert’s playing, the first “Every Christmas Has Love” carries slipping and sliding melodies that burrow their way into your head. The other “Three Strings for Christmas” kicks off with the most signature Gilbert arpeggio lick played over a 3 stringed guitar tuned to octaves and tell the story of a boy practicing his guitar to earn the rest of his strings that again harkens in on Paul Gilbert’s stunning, singing guitar work.
This is an infectiously fun album with an incredibly organic feel to it. I also highly recommend checking out the live play throughs – the band looks like they are having a blast, you can see the improvisation that went into the songs, and Paul Gilbert makes the most epic guitar faces!