Paul Gilbert heeft de release aangekondigd van een nieuw kerstalbum met de titel ‘‘TWAS’. Gilbert’s 17e soloalbum bevat naast vele kerstklassiekers ook twee door hemzelf geschreven nummers. De wereldwijde release voor CD en digitaal staat op 26 november, en de LP volgt op 10 december.

“Many will agree that in recent times, challenging events have been pouring down upon our heads like an Exploding Waterfall of Molasses. At least it sometimes feels like that to me. But while I was jamming Christmas songs with my friends, playing an assortment of red, green, and white Ibanez electric guitars, I felt like life was THE BEST. I hope that this music can put a smile on your face as well. Merry Christmas to all. And to all, a good night.”, aldus Paul Gilbert.

De track listing bevat ‘Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!’, ‘Frosty The Snowman’, ‘Hark! The Herald Angels Sing’, ‘The Christmas Song’, ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’, ‘I Saw Three Ships’, ‘Every Christmas Has Love’, ‘Three Strings For Christmas’, ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’, ‘We Wish You a Merry Christmas’, ‘Silver Bells’ en ‘Winter Wonderland’. Op de Japanse release van ‘‘TWAS’ staat ook de bonus track ‘“Down the Chimney Blues’.

Gilbert vertelt: “Ten of the songs are classics. I was inspired by the Christmas recordings of Nat King Cole, Loretta Lynn, Stevie Wonder, Barbra Streisand, Johnny Mathis, Ella Fitzgerald, and The Ventures. And of course, inspiration came from my guitar heroes, Eddie Van Halen, Alex Lifeson, Johnny Winter, Robin Trower, Frank Marino, Pat Travers, Jimi Hendrix, and Jimmy Page, to name a few. I also wrote some of my own new Christmas songs. As I have been doing recently, I begin with lyrics and a melody. Then I let my guitar take over, as it sings better than I do.”

Hij vervolgt “‘Three Strings for Christmas’ refers to the 3-string guitar that I used on my double-neck. I tune the strings in octaves, which allows me to play ridiculously fast arpeggios, and very little else (which is why I have a normally strung guitar for the other neck.) ‘Every Christmas Has Love’ was written quickly, inspired by my panic-driven mental state of album making. When I know that the recording sessions are coming, my brain shifts into survival mode, and melodies start popping out. Then I take all the chords I learned by listening to 70s AM radio, and build a song. The lyrics are nice too. I’ll be printing those in the liner notes of the album.”

Gilbert vormde voor deze sessies een band van Portland, Oregon’s beste jazz- en blues muzikanten. De muzikanten zijn Dan Balmer (gitaar), Clay Giberson (keyboards), Timmer Blakely (bas) en Jimi Bott (drums). Hij reflecteert: “All brought supreme musical goodness to these arrangements and performances. They certainly steered me to make wiser musical choices than I would have made on my own. And as you will hear, my metal guitar instincts still breathe fire when they get the chance.” Het album is opgenomen in de studio van Jimi Bott, die ook de opnamen heeft gemaakt en verantwoordelijk was voor de mix. De insteek was om zes dagen lang elke dag twee nummers op te nemen en dan het verzamelde oeuvre af te leveren. “All songs were recorded live, although I think Jimi snuck some cowbell overdubs in. If anything should be added to a live track, I believe cowbell is the right choice.”