I truly can't call this Christmas CD "mine" because it features an all-star line up of amazing musicians including:
Valaura Arnold is recognized for the versatility of her artistry as a singer, actress and director. The scope of her career includes an impressive breadth of diverse genres, including Opera, Musical Theatre, Oratorio, Pop, Country, Christian and Jazz. She has performed throughout the United States, including local venues such as The Grand Theatre, Kingsbury Hall, Temple Square and Abravanel Hall. She has shared the stage with many outstanding musicians including Stephen Sondheim, Bobby McFerrin, John Elefante, Jenny Oaks Baker, Merrill Osmond, Jon Schmidt, and Paul Cardall. She performs regularly as a soloist with local Jazz and Big Bands, Orchestras, and Choirs throughout Utah and is currently a member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
Valaura’s voice can be found on Brite Music, Living Scriptures, Utah Voices 2011, Imagine Learning and her own CD of jazz hits, “At Last”. She holds both Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in Vocal Performance from the University of Utah. Valaura maintains a private voice studio where she has taught hundreds of students to follow their dreams.
John Elefante of the legendary rock band Kansas. John is now touring solo as a successful Christian pop artist as well as in conjunction with several classic rock artists. (Of course he gets requests for “Carry On My Wayward Son” everywhere he goes). He is a brilliant musician and producer. When I approached John about this project he was incredibly gracious and listened to the initial track. He decided he wanted to participate and has been a great support ever since.
Jenny Oaks Baker
America's Violinist, Jenny Oaks Baker, is a Grammy Nominated, Billboard No. 1 recording artist, and performer.
I had the wonderful opportunity to meet Jenny at a concert at which we performed some the songs from her Christmas album. She is one of the most talented and gracious people I know. The highlight of the concert was her performance with her children. This woman truly does it all!!!
Graham Russell is an English musician and singer/guitarist of the soft rock duo Air Supply. In 1975, with Russell Hitchcock, he formed Air Supply in Australia.
Gaynor Brunson - Producer
Owner of Rock Canyon Studios.
Music recorded at Rock Canyon Studios totaling around 200 million YouTube views.
Produced the music for a Christmas Special that aired on 3 major Christian Networks totaling 200 million distribution.
Produced, engineered, mixed and mastered a song that reached top 40 billboard chart of most played songs on the radio in the USA.
Produced the audio for the Osmond's 50th Anniversary PBS Special.
Produced a weekly TV show for CBS and ABC affiliate
Engineered music for Fox national television special
Engineered and mixed music for the Jerry Lewis PBS Special.
Engineered, mixed and mastered for artists such as The Jets, Alex Boye, Tiffany Alvord, Jason Scheff who is the lead singer of Chicago, The Osmonds, Nathan Osmond, Merrill Osmond. Jimmy Osmond and Jay Osmond.
Other clients include Donny & Marie Osmond, KC of KC and the Sunshine Band, Lindsey Stirling and Shaun Canon.
Blair Masters - Arranger and Keyboard
Session keyboard player Blair Masters has been a fixture of the Nashville studio scene for the past 20 years. He is an all-round keyboard artist on piano, organ, electric piano, and synthesizers who is also in demand for in sampling, programming, and arranging for synths, drums, bass, strings and whatever else music technology can deliver.
Blair is best known for his work in the Contemporary Christian field, but his discography of over 300 recording credits with top artists like Amy Grant, Garth Brooks, Casting Crowns, Ricky Skaggs, MercyMe, Sandi Patti, and Trisha Yearwood (to name but a few), reveals his diverse talent. In addition to a busy studio schedule, Blair has found time to tour as a keyboard player with artists like Garth Brooks and Casting Crowns. He has also been featured on many compilations and tribute albums such as World`s Best Praise & Worship, Awesome God: A Tribute to Rich Mullins, Jazz Cafe: World`s Away, My Utmost for His Highest: Anthems, My Utmost for His Highest: The Covenant, Tribute: The Songs of Andrae Crouch, One Way: Songs of Larry Norman, Hymns & Voices, Power of Thanks: Integrity Music`s Scripture Memory Songs, New Young Messiah, Left Behind 2: The Gospel, and No Compromise: Remembering the Music of Keith Green.
As a songwriter, Blair's compositions have been recorded by 4 Him, Amy Morriss, Beyond the Blue, Bob Carlisle, Geoff Moore, Jim Brickman, Lisa Bevill, Misaki, Point of Grace, Rebecca St. James, and Trisha Yearwood.
Singer songwriter, he recenly opened for Chris Young,Carrie Underwood,Clay Walker, Lonestar,Martina McBride, and others. He was nominated as male artist of the Year and New Artist of the Year by the New Music Awards in LA
Creating a Song
When I told John Elefante about the guys we have recording the tracks he said, “These guys are the best!”
When you hear this CD you’ll see why.
Bass: Matt Pierson has worked with country and Christian artists such as: Natalie Grant, Selah, Micheal Martin Murphy, Kathy Mathea. He has also steered us towards great arrangers.
Drums: Steve Brewster has recorded with artists including Bob Seger, Jewel, Deirks Bentley, Chicago, Michael W. Smith, Faith HiIl, Sara Groves, Amy Grant, and Richard Marx.
Guitarist: Mike Payne has had success as a musician primarily in the professional touring world. Moving to Nashville in 1997, he eventually connected with popular Christian artist Matthew West, and has since toured with him extensively. In addition to touring, he has recently begun to do session work on recording projects in Nashville working with such artist's as Erin McCarley(Grey's Anatomy featured artist), Landon Pigg, Hall and Oates, Matthew West, Natalie Grant, Mandisa, Stellar Kart, Rush of Fools, CeCe Winans, Jessie Daniels, Bebo Norman, Francesca Battistelli, Michael W. Smith, and Melinda Doolittle.
I thought you might like to hear exactly how we are creating this music. Generally I am in the shower when I have my most creative inspiration of what my next song and arrangement should be. Gaynor and I meet at the studio in Provo where I describe the rhythm and instrumentation I have in mind. We come up with an applicable rhythm, tempo, key and modulations and then we lay down a vocal track. Sometimes we use chord progressions but generally it’s an accapella track. With pro tools a musician can record at any studio and send the entire session to another studio and it can all be combined to create piece of art that sounds like we were all together. We send the session to the arrangers and musicians in Nashville and LA. They lay down guitar, keys, drums, percussion, bass, mandolin, banjo, and whatever other instrumentation the arrangement calls for. Once they have a great instrumental track laid out they send the sessions back to us and we lay down an updated vocal track. Then the session is sent to vocal collaborator if we are using one, John Elefante, John Schlitt, etc. and he lays down his vocal track and back ground vocals. He returns the session to Gaynor and I lay down my final vocal track and back ground vocals. Gaynor then mixes and equalizes the entire session and viola we a have a song that is ready for the radio. Of course then the work begins because we have to create a video idea and promotion ideas. We send the song to local radio stations and digital sites like Itunes.