A Christmas Carol
Bill Perry's A Christmas Carol breaks new ground in the well-familiar territory of instrumental holiday albums done on acoustic guitar. And it's not just that Perry is a phenomenal guitarist with lightning-fast fingers and a creative core that would melt Vesuvius. No sirreee! And it's not just that Perry has contributed five of the 11 cuts. The real innovation here is the title track -- "A Christmas Carol," which actually has five subparts inspired by Charles Dickens' famous short story.
I absolutely love almost everything about this album. The arrangements are astounding--intelligent, complex, sensitive, and right on the money. Really spectacular! For example, Perry's treatment of "Little Drummer Boy" is innovative and impressive. He performs a "drum beat" on the guitar's body, and he uses stylistic changes throughout the song to heighten the drama and effect. Perry's approach to "Carol of the Bells" is equally amazing--how many fingers does this guy have on each hand, anyway? Perry's original numbers are also a revelation--so well-developed and familiar in voice and tone, like "old favorites" right from the start. Of these, I particularly liked the sprightly and upbeat "Josylvia Winter." As for the "Christmas Carol," it's a great concept that is well-executed here; I can almost visualize the story as Perry moves through the various subparts ("The 1st of the Three Spirits," etc.).
So what's my one small gripe? Although the production values here are amazing (you are right in the room, up close and personal with Perry), one recording aspect was problematic. The microphones really pick up the squeals as Perry's fingers quickly adjust, flying up and down the strings. This noise is particularly noticeable on the quieter cuts (like the first track). Not a big deal!
Bill Perry is an outstanding guitarist, and A Christmas Carol is a brightly shining star in the universe of holiday offerings this season. Reach for the stars!
Carol Swanson, 2005
Bill Perry studied for many years classical and acoustic guitar and as a guitar teacher he demonstrates a lot of skills and talent on this instrument. The debut release of Bill Perry, A Christmas Carol goes beyond only the seasonal Christmas sound, although well-known Christmas songs as Joy to the World, Silent Night and Hark the Herald Angels Sing are presented on this album. New dimensions are created by adding percussion and a very own unique signature to this album. Bill Perry added also 5 remarkable original compositions to this album which illustrate his passionate skills and moods he knows to create. His own pieces are balanced and express a soothing character and his melody line building and harmonizing attainments are superb as on Prelude/Resurrection and Josylvia Winter. Impressive is also Music of the Angels which is played with a lot of expression. The title song A Christmas Carol consists of 5 parts and starts with nice overtones in a flowing atmosphere and further on is enriched with percussion and as well staccato as cadenced parts. Bill Perry is a sublime guitarist who impresses certainly by his distinguished techniques and his approach to acoustic guitar music which are recommended in any season.
Henk te Veldhuis, Bridge Guitar Reviews, 2005
From Secrets of Home Theatre and High Fidelity:
This solo guitar debut CD from New Hamphire native Bill Perry represents his return to music making after a 20 year hiatus. Alternating his own arrangements of "White Christmas," "Joy to the World," and four other favorites with five original compositions, Perry's closely recorded work unites jazz, folk, and classical elements in a sonorous, easy to enjoy mix. Lovely music to kick back with, regardless of the season.
Jason Victor Serinus