New Hampshire picker extraordinaire Ed Gerhard has just released a delightful Christmas recording called, appropriately enough, “Christmas” (Virtue).
The arrangements are trickier than the casual listener might catch, but guitarists will have their fingers full trying to figure out how he made that lick so smooth on “0 Come, All Ye Faithful,” or where he found the bells on his guitar neck on “Carol of the Bells.” With the aid of Arlo Guthrie’s calm 12-string backing, Gerhard makes “Silver Bells” a skipping, sliding delight; just the sort of brisk but relaxed city-streets stroll it is meant to be. “Carol of the Bells” is all shimmer and mystery, and his fine arrangement of Pachelbel ‘s lovely, timeless “Canon in D” is closer to the sad, sweet tone of the original than most contemporary restylings. This is liable to stay on people’s stereos for a long time.
– SCOTT ALARIK