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Dreaming of a Prog Christmas with Rick Wakeman and Hawkestrel

by Laura Lynch

It's been anything but a stellar and fantastic year. But, 2020 ends on a bright note as two stars of the prog rock genre - Rick Wakeman and Hawkestrel - deliver merry masterpieces to help fulfill your most progressive Christmas fantasies yet!

Rick Wakeman is a keyboardist, producer and songwriter acclaimed for his work in the progressive rock band Yes and for his numerous solo albums that have crossed multiple musical genres. In recent years, Rick has become known for his contributions to the BBC comedy series Grumpy Old Men.

As a 2020 holiday gift, Wakeman released a Deluxe Reissue of Christmas Variations from the year 2000. The record is rich and vibrant as Rick brings all of his wizardly skills to these timeless classics. "Silent Night" paired with "Hark The Herald Angels Sing" sets the heavenly tone for this majestic collection. Along with well-loved Christmas compositions there are lesser known songs such as "Christians Awake Salute The Happy Mourn" and "Once In Royal David's City".

This album offers innovative interpretations of traditional tunes performed by one of the most celebrated keyboardists in all of music. In addition to a complete rework of the artwork the collection includes 2 bonus tracks "Silent Prayer" along with an inspired live version of "Amazing Grace". Rick Wakeman's Christmas Variations is the perfect present for any music lover!

With a title like SpaceXmas one has to be intrigued. On this platter Alan Davey's Hawkestrel adds creative spins to well-known Christmas classics. Guest performers include Glenn Hughes, Rick Wakeman, Robby Krieger, Huw Lloyd-Langton, Nik Turner, Jürgen Engler, Nigel Potter, Adam Hamilton, Danny Faulkner, Steve Leigh and more.

"My goal with this album was to turn Xmas songs into non-cheesy space rock pieces anyone could enjoy listening to" states Davey adding "that was difficult enough, but in 110 degrees Fahrenheit in July/August and in the Californian high desert was kind of surreal. It turned out better than I expected".

In addition to holiday favorites the 12 track collection features two original compositions - "It's A Wonderful (Funny Old) Life" and the comical "Twelve Daze Of Drinxmas". Other highlights include heavy takes of "We Three Kings" and "Little Drummer Boy" along with a more up-tempo version of "Silent Night" and later a regal run through of "O Come All Ye Faithful" and an innovative "Jingle Bells". SpaceXmas makes a super stocking stuffer!


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