Bill Leslie | Christmas in Carolina

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United States - North Carolina

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New Age: Celtic New Age Folk: Gentle Moods: Mood: Christmas
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Christmas in Carolina

by Bill Leslie

Beautiful, lush and soothing Carolina Celtic Christmas album from artist whose previous release was number one on the world music charts.
Genre: New Age: Celtic New Age
Release Date: 

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1. Christmas in Carolina
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4:16 $0.99
2. Moravian Gift
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3:17 $0.99
3. In the Bleak Midwinter
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3:28 $0.99
4. Road to Bethlehem
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4:28 $0.99
5. Away in a Manger
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2:08 $0.99
6. Appalachian Winter
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3:54 $0.99
7. Lo How a Rose E'er Blooming
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3:33 $0.99
8. Waiting for William
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3:25 $0.99
9. Ring of Evergreen
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3:37 $0.99
10. The First Noel
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3:52 $0.99
11. Swannanoa Snowe
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3:16 $0.99
12. Cradle of Hope
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3:40 $0.99
13. Silent Night
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3:04 $0.99
14. Sweet Little Jesus Boy
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3:33 $0.99
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Voted Best Holiday Album worldwide in 2005 by broadcast music hosts. “Christmas in Carolina” is a gorgeous blend of 6 traditional songs and eight original tunes including three vocals. The music will transport you to a snow-covered field of Frazier Firs and Flexible Flyers in the foothills of Carolina. This is Bill Leslie’s follow-up album to his number one world music hit “Peaceful Journey” which was named one of the Top 10 New Age albums of 2004 by music critic R.J. Lannan. Your heart will be warmed by the marvelous ensemble recording featuring Bill on guitar, Celtic whistles and vocals along with violin, viola, cello, piano and hammered dulcimer. What is Christmas in Carolina? Bill describes it this way: “A crackling fire and a fragrant kitchen. The lingering laughter of family and friends. Snow in the distance up on Table Rock. “Christmas in Carolina” is that and much more to me”

Here is how Bill describes his musical journey: “My songwriting began in the stairwell of my Morganton home in the 7th grade with a cheap Sears guitar laden with brutal steel strings which made my fingertips ache. I can still hear the semi-sweet sounds of reverberation as I plunked the same three chords over and over until a melody emerged. My interest in music actually began a few years earlier with a tap on the shoulder at church. "Young man, you have such a nice voice. Why don't you sing in the choir?" No one could shut me up after that. I was on my way in music.

Choir. Singing in school plays. School band. Cornet. Baritone. Tuba. Guitar was the hardest. I felt so clumsy trying to change chords but eventually I got the hang of it. A used Gibson guitar became my best friend in high school. I?d break up with a girlfriend and write a song. Great therapy. There always seemed to be a new melody or lyrical idea in my head.

I joined a garage band called the Beggars and sang lead. We recorded a couple of my tunes at a studio in Charlotte. That was so exciting! Later in high school I joined the Cyntriks featuring a group of incredibly talented young musicians. Bill Covington who plays piano on "Peaceful Journey" was the keyboardist for the Cyntriks. It has been great to reconnect with Bill. While with the Cyntriks I penned a song about a girlfriend "Missy" which became a regional hit. "Rhythm of the Rain" composer John Gummoe of the Cascades became my pen pal and mentor. We are still great friends today.

In college I bought a Martin 12 string and teamed up with Tom Barrows for a coffeehouse folk duo called Augustus and Irvin. We were probably noted more for our humor than our music. Just after college John Tesh and I roomed together in Raleigh and worked at the same radio station. John encouraged me to take my tunes to Nashville. I had several songs published with April-Blackwood Music including "Laughing Girl Lately Sad." After marriage I dabbled in country music but struggled with the hook line lyrics. I wrote a lot of religious songs for my church, Cary Presbyterian and enjoyed singing there in the choir.

A trip to Scotland and a concert by the contemporary Celtic group Nightnoise paved the way for my music genre today. I heard someone play the Celtic whistle on the side of the road near Inverness and fell in love with the haunting sound. No one in Raleigh could teach me how to play the whistle so I taught myself using books, cassettes and videotaped instructions. I bought a multi-track recorder and began laying guitar tracks. I blended guitar with whistle and piano tracks. Soon I built a full-fledged studio at my home. I co-founded a Celtic fusion band Bragh Adair featuring guitar, whistle, violin, piano, bass and percussion. We played for nearly four years and produced two wonderful albums "Grace in Stone" and "The Hunt" which can be purchased on this website. We had some outstanding concerts at Meymandi Hall, Grandfather Mountain, Johnston County, Cary Academy and Red Springs. It was very sad when the group featuring Mary Page Johnson and Kerry Johnson folded in 2002. They are terrific musicians. I currently work with a Celtic group called Lorica featuring Sherry Buchheit on violin, Linda Metz on flute and whistle and Marty Suttle on piano, guitar and vocals.

Today I continue to write music and am working toward a new album next year with a river theme. As many of you know I am the morning and noon co-anchor of WRAL News in Raleigh and I also continue some environmental reporting. I deeply appreciate Capitol Broadcasting Company's support of my music. I also enjoy the strong support of my family. My wife Cindy is a tremendous speech pathologist in the public school system. My daughter Lauren is a student at Appalachian State University. My son William is a student at Athens Drive High School in Raleigh.”


Reviews


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Kathy Parsons

A New Christmas Favorite!
“Christmas in Carolina” is a gorgeous collection of eight original and six traditional songs of the season by Bill Leslie. Named as “one of the greats in modern Celtic music” by cellist Yo-Yo Ma, Bill Leslie clearly demonstrates why he earned such high praise from one of the greatest musicians on the planet. Mixing inspired vocals and sparkling instrumental tracks, Leslie has created a true Christmas classic. A television news anchor in North Carolina, one would expect Leslie to have an impressive speaking voice, but his singing voice is also clear, expressive, and full of emotion. Along with vocals and guitar, Bill Leslie plays Celtic whistles, bass, and keyboards. His back-up instrumentation is all acoustic and consists of violins, guitar, piano, hammered dulcimer, flute, cello, and percussion. The music is a wonderful combination of American folk and Celtic traditions. Some of the instrumentals have a cinematic sweep, while other pieces are more intimate. The album itself is a delight from start to finish.

The title track was inspired by Bill Leslie’s childhood music teacher. The ensemble of musicians gives this piece a “big” feeling that would be perfect with a film of rural America, underscoring a sense of innocence and freedom. “In the Bleak Midwinter” is a traditional piece that has has become very popular over the past few years. It reminds Leslie of his father’s watercolor paintings and fascination with the bare tree branches of winter, and this arrangement overflows with warm nostalgia. “Road to Bethlehem” is a haunting song about the search for the holy child and the “manger of the soul.” The beautiful lyrics, simple melody, and Leslie’s voice and guitar convey a message of hope. A new favorite Christmas song! “Away In a Manger” is extraordinary on hammered dulcimer (Dan Gilvary) with simple backup on flute, violin, and guitar. “Waiting For William” is a touching remembrance of the anticipation of the birth of Leslie’s son, an event that happened just after Christmas in 1988. Guitar and Celtic whistles create a bittersweet tone, and then Jennifer Curtis adds her violin for a lively and joyful finish. “The First Noel” is an elegant and passionate duet for piano and flute - just gorgeous! “Swannanoa Snow” is an enchanting recollection of childhood winters in North Carolina. Guitar, flute, and cello paint a graceful portrait in sparkling white. “Cradle of Hope” wordlessly tells the story of the holy birth. The instrumentation is simple, conveying the message of hope and wonder. Bill Covington’s solo piano arrangement of “Silent Night” is gentle, soft-spoken, and very evocative. “Sweet Little Jesus Boy” is a spiritual that Leslie has performed in church every Christmas Eve for many years. Accompanied only by his guitar, Leslie sends the haunting words and melody right to the heart.

“Christmas In Carolina” is a breath of fresh air. Very highly recommended!

Rick Weatherly

Even more than we expectedc
Thanks again Bill for a wonderful musical experience! I bought it for my wife as her annual Christmas CD and she was overjoyed with it. I don't know how many times it's been played over the last week or so, but I'm thankful it's not vinyl, because it might be worn out by now. Once again Bill Leslie has graced us with his incredible music talent, and can't wait until next year for (hopefully) the next one.

Rhonda McNeill

superb and very peaceful
This CD helps me relax after a hectic day teaching school. I put my earphones on and it lulls me to sleep. Bill Leslie is SO talented and I am proud to be from North Carolina. WOW!!!!

john timms

bill the cd is great reminds me of my childhood
bill you should be proud of your upbringing the musicis great.i am 75 years old and have waited a long time to hear music so soothing it reminds me so much of my home and the love we shared at this time of the year .thanks so very much. john &lottie timms
1036 brooks mangum road
cameron north carolina
28326

Lynn

Beautiful and relaxing
Enjoyed the relaxing quality of the music and really put me in the Christmas spirit

Debbie

Great! Love the CD!
Wonderful Cd and it arrived just in time for Christmas!
Thank you!

Connie L. Shank

Beautiful, calming, heart touching, soul reaching, outstanding !!!
This is an absolutely awesome CD !! It reaches your soul, your heart, and gives a sprit of love. This is a CD that can be played at anytime, and should be. Thank you !

Jan

You will value this CD in your collection!
This a wonderful CD. I bought it mainly for the song "Sweet Little Jesus Boy," but I also love the Celtic music and the soulful sound of the Irish whistle. You will be glad to own this CD as part of your Christmas collection of music. Just beautiful.

Carol Swanson

Christmas in Carolina is a richly rewarding work of art
An award-winning anchor for WRAL News in Raleigh, Bill Leslie knows quite a bit about Christmas in Carolina from personal experience, and he translates these emotions beautifully in his holiday release. This is a gentle Celtic/folk music experience, with Leslie personally crafting eight of the 14 seasonal songs. The album is largely instrumental, but Leslie lends vibrant, yet understated, vocals on three tracks ("Road to Bethlehem," "Ring of Evergreen," and "Sweet Little Jesus Boy").

Christmas in Carolina is a richly rewarding work of art. The fine liner notes reveal personal bits about each track, letting the listener know what special meaning each piece holds for Leslie. The tone is intensely lovely, so just sit back and enjoy the Carolina experience. The pure air carries a hint of evergreens fragrance, and the magnificent Appalachians hold court in the distance, dusted with snow. The music is sweet, uplifting, and calming.

This offering is finely-crafted and well-executed throughout. The introspective, tender tone has a simple--almost universal--appeal. Celtic whistles provide a blissfully bright voice that lightly travels over many numbers, while rich cello strings lay a deep foundation. Really, everything works well on this release. I especially enjoyed "Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming"; Bill Covington's delicate arrangement makes this gorgeous piano piece a true standout. The album features a most moving and excellent close, as Leslie sings the spiritual "Sweet Little Jesus Boy" with the barest guitar accompaniment.

Breaking news! Bill Leslie's Christmas in Carolina will take you south for the holidays, and you may never want to come back. So lovely!

--Carol Swanson

Bobbi

Great CD
This is agreat CD--I enjoyed it very much
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