Whether or not you celebrate Christmas, it’s a joyous energy, a feeling, and a time of year permeated with sweet memories, meaning and music. For 13-time Billboard chart-topping guitarist, songwriter and producer Adam Hawley, his Christmases growing up in Portland, Oregon began by dropping an old turntable needle on a vinyl record, filling his family’s home with traditional holiday tunes as they gathered around the fireplace where kids opened presents and dreamed about a white Christmas. He puts his own soulful spin on ten Christmas classics, producing and freshly arranging tracks for “What Christmas Means To Me,” out now.
Like most people do while celebrating Christmas, Hawley surrounds himself on his fifth album with family and friends. His wife, R&B songstress Kat Hawley, shines radiantly on an emotional acoustic guitar version of “Mary, Did You Know?” Julian Vaughn adds lyrical bass verses to a seriously funky version of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.” Reuniting with vocalist L. Young who appeared on Hawley’s 2016 debut album, “Just The Beginning,” the title track is a high-energy swinger. Marcus Anderson answers “Do You Hear What I Hear?” with a comforting caress on saxophone and flute. Singer Matt Cusson wraps the set with a heartfelt bow on “Celebrate Me Home.”
Trimming the tracks with festive color and illuminating light, Hawley ornaments the album generously with decorative horns and dramatic strings. Having been a first-call session player before stepping into the spotlight as a soloist equipped him with a robust network of ace musicians who eagerly accepted the invitation to celebrate with the guitarist. The accomplished ensemble includes drummers Eric Valentine and Dan Needham; bassists Mel Brown and Ian Martin; percussionist Ramon Yslas, keyboardist Carnell Harrell, multiple horn player and arranger David Mann; trumpeter/flugelhornist and arranger Michael Stever; saxophonist Andrew Neu, trombonist Nick Lane, and strings by Grammy nominee Tyries Rolfe.
A Hawley trademark is opening his albums big, and he delivers once again with “Jingle Bells,” setting the tempo for what’s to come.
“There’s nothing like being home for the holidays. This song captures that spirit perfectly. When people ask what Christmas means to me, this song is my answer. It’s warm, it’s from the heart, and it’s all about family, just like Christmas should be.”
Hawley’s “What Christmas Means To Me” album contains the following songs:
“God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” featuring Julian Vaughn
“What Christmas Means To Me” featuring L. Young
“Christmas Time Is Here”
“Mary, Did You Know?” featuring Kat Hawley
“Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”
“O Come, All Ye Faithful”
“Do You Hear What I Hear?” featuring Marcus Anderson
“A Child Is Born”
“Celebrate Me Home” featuring Matt Cusson