Track 1 - Christmas in the Shire
Music by Robert Watson 2003
Picture Christmas during an imaginary time in the past where the best of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance are joined in one perennially happy culture. The Lords and Ladies solemnly take their place for the ceremony, The peasants sing and dance with all their heart and finally all join together in noble, humble praise of the Christ Child.
Track 2 - I Saw Three Ships
Traditional music from Derbyshire
This Scottish favorite pleased the refined and the illiterate. Versions are traced back to the sixteenth century.
Track 3 - O'er the Solemn Hush of Midnight
Words and music by J Geddes Maxwell, G. Schirmer Inc. Sole Agent USA
"Praise God in Heaven! Peace on Earth to everyone who pleases God" Luke 2:14
Track 4 - Once in Royal David's City
Words by Mrs. C.F. Humphreys Alexander, 1848, music by "Irby" Henry John Gauntlett, 1849
Mrs. C.F. Alexander, wife of Archbishop William Alexander of Derry, Ireland, wrote this beautifully simple and honest song for her godchildren who had difficulty understanding their Bible lessons.
Track 5 - The Hills are Bare in Bethlehem
Early American hymn by Prospect W. Walker 1895, arrangement by Robert Watson and Carolee Mayne
Christmas is a time for coming home. However, the story of Christmas tells of dislocation and relocation. Joseph and Mary leave Galilee, the shepherds leave their flocks and fields, the wise men follow a star to distant lands in search of the baby King. God leads the Holy Family to flee from Bethlehem and begin a new life in Egypt, escaping Herod's wrath. Matthew 2: 1-15
Track 6 - On This Day the Earth Shall Ring
Music by Robert Watson, words by Jane M. Joseph, 1894-1929, additional words by Carolee Mayne
Both festive and thoughtful, the words are joyously framed. "Peace and love he gave us, born on Earth to save us!"
Track 7 - In Dulci Jubilo
Music: Marcel Dupré, 1886-1971
What went through the mind of angels when they filled the night sky? We know what they said, but how did they feel? We are told that angels are capable of wonder, and in particular they are awed by God's display of goodwill toward mankind. They are fully aware that anything God does He does in the grandest possible terms, and they are full of love, admiration and expectation.
Track 8 - We Three Kings
Words and music by John Henry Hopkins Jr., 1857
The story of the Magi is celebrated as an epiphany of the Lord. God revealed the identity of Jesus as the Messiah and King of the Jews to these Magi, who were Gentiles. In Luke 2:31 the prophet Simeon says that Jesus will be, "...a light of revelation to the Gentiles". A fulfillment of his prophecy is celebrated in this song.
Track 9 - Cup of Blessing
Words and music by Carolee Mayne 2009
This song was written for our family reunion in love and remembrance of those that have gone on before us. Savor the sweetness and God-given gift of life that is ours right now. Life's a blessing.
Vocals and vocal arrangements by Carolee Mayne
Orchestration and arrangements by Robert Dana Watson
All songs public domain except "Christmas in the Shire" by Robert Watson, "O'er The Solemn Hush of Midnight" by J Geddes Maxwell, "In Dulci Jubilo" by Marcel Dupré, and "Cup of Blessing" by Carolee Mayne
Additional vocal on "We Three Kings" by Heather L. Pasley
Guitars by Randy Ray Mitchell
Mixing and mastering by Randy Ray Mitchell and Robert Watson
Recorded at the Aerie in Eagle Rock, CA and at Akadak Studio in Burbank, CA
Photography by Dee Jones
Copyright 2011 Robert Watson and Carolee Mayne, all rights reserved.
Heather, Mike, Kenna, Chaylee and Kiama Pasley, Kirsten, James, James Kenlee, Story and Rowen Wenlock, we dedicate these songs to you. To all our kin, neighbors and friends, we treasure you.
Christmas in the Shire was created by two thankful hearts with great love and praise to the Savior of the world. Peace on earth and good will to all. Merry Christmas, Robert and Carolee
Christmas in the Shire Reviews:
"I love this project! I listen to a lot of Christmas music and this feels fresh and honest in every way."
Tommy Walker, Christian recording artist and worship leader
"WOW! What a beautiful experience I just had listening to "O're the Solemn." Rob, your arrangement and playing sets the perfect mood for Carolee's incredible voice. I was touched deep in my soul. I didn't want it to end ... Another gem, "Three Ships"! What joy! I need to have the whole album. You guys need to do more of this, a lot more!!"
Bob Wilson, producer and drummer
"I love this because it resonates with my roots. Beautiful production and lovely vocals."
Fin Johnston, keyboardist, bassist, composer and producer
"I thoroughly enjoyed Christmas in the Shire ... "O're the Solemn Hush of Midnight" is so peaceful, and "Three Ships" makes me want to dance!"
Sharon Parrague, musician