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Bringing fresh tunes home for Christmas

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by MATTHEW NASH
Sequim Gazette

Thanksgiving is over and Christmas tunes are on around the clock, but Sequim musician Tom Taylor’s latest album, “Back Home for Christmas,” is a project he’s long wanted to do.

 

The 11-track Christmas album takes timeless classics and one original song that Taylor feels complements the holiday season.

 

“It’s cool to be a part of people’s Christmas celebration,” Taylor said. “I’ve had people ordering online and listening already as part of their Christmas music rotation.”

 

This is Taylor’s fourth album, a mostly acoustic outing with piano by Sequim artist Jeremy Cays on “O Holy Night.” Taylor said his music has a James Taylor/Jim Croce feel with some jazz influences.

 

His selection of songs includes a version of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” with a more orchestral sound and a lesser-known Christmas track, “In the Bleak Midwinter.”

 

Taylor said he liked its feel and discovered it on James Taylor’s Christmas album and wanted to do his own version.

 

The title track, “Back Home for Christmas,” is a new version of “Back Home,” taken from Tom Taylor’s second album, “New Arrival.” He and his wife, Becky, wrote the lyrics after moving back from Tennessee and surviving a car wreck.

 

“When I first wrote it, I was so happy to be back,” Taylor said. “Originally, it was a Christmas song, but I changed it so it could be more mainstream. But now it’s back to its original vision as a Christmas song.”

For the new version, he recruited drummer Sam Stockard of the local band Locust Street Taxi.

 

Taylor considers the song a great tune for troops returning home this season.

 

“I see ‘Back Home for Christmas’ as more of a crossover song and being thankful for God’s blessings,” he said.

Christmas spirit

Taylor considers himself a Christian musician and said the new album shows his faith that the holiday is truly about Jesus’ birth.

 

He grew up in San Diego, Calif., and said he didn’t start going to church regularly until marrying in 2001. In a way, Becky’s love for Christmas led to the album’s creation.

 

“My wife makes Christmas really special,” Taylor said. ”She listens to music early in the season and decorates our house. We watch Christmas movies every night leading up to Christmas. She’s brought it to a higher level.”

 

Taylor didn’t start writing songs until 2005 when Becky was pregnant. He’s a self-taught guitarist, following his dad’s advice that music is something inspired and can’t be forced.

Musical plans

Taylor produced most of the Christmas album himself, except for production help on “O Holy Night” from Carlsborg producer Jeremy Cays. It was his first time with a producer on a project.

 

“He made me feel comfortable through the whole process,” Taylor said. “It excited me to do more producing. I got some good advice.”

 

His next goal is to find funding for a fully produced album through the online site Kickstarter. He said other Christian musicians like Cheri Keaggy and Josiah James have used online fundraisers to make their albums. He wants Cays to produce a new album wholly if he finds funding.

 

Taylor plans to increase his touring and performance schedule in 2012. He played some church events and fairs this year but remains open to new opportunities. He plays a free concert at Calvary Chapel Sequim at 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3.

 

Some of his songs are available for streaming online at his Facebook, “ttmrecords.tomtaylor.”

 

“Back Home for Christmas” is available for purchase at most major online music retailers, at The Good Book in Sequim, at concerts and on his website, www.tomtaylorministries.net.

 

It costs $10 at concerts, The Good Book or directly from his website. CD Baby online costs slightly more with tax and shipping.

 

Contact Taylor at tomtaylorministries@yahoo.com.

Reach Matthew Nash at mnash@sequimgazette.com.

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