“One of the best holiday releases of recent years; filled with abundant creativity and a palpable sensation of joy. Highly original cover art is yet another distinguishing factor.” – Bill Binkelman, Retailing Insight Magazine
“Easily one of the best Christmas albums I’ve heard.” – Candice Michelle, Journeyscaperadio
“Musical perfection is difficult to arrive at. It seems the more I hear recordings like this I am becoming more convinced that it is entirely possible.” Rating: 5/5 – Keith Hannaleck, MuzikMan Reviews
I can almost guarantee that you’ve never heard ‘Silent Night’ performed like this. Caufield, using more than eight glorious minutes on the clock, explores the musical scales with the heart of a Magi.” Rating: Excellent – R J Lannan, Zone Music Reporter
Tom Caufield’s 7th release, ‘I Heard It Was Christmas Day,’ is an album that almost didn’t see the light of day. Tom, preferring to concentrate on his original compositions, brushed off his wife Rebecca’s yearly request to make a Christmas collection.
Rebecca gently persisted. She felt a Christmas collection would be a wonderful vehicle for Tom’s contemplative, spiritual and quietly uplifting approach. Finally, in 2015, Rebecca asked Tom if he would make a collection “just for her” as a Christmas present. Tom did, and when he played her the collection privately on Christmas Eve she said it was “the best present she’d ever received.” By New Year’s Day, Rebecca had persuaded Tom to share the collection with others.
“Christmas music was the first music that profoundly spoke to me so it was actually a very meaningful experience to record this album,” says Tom. “As a child, I remember how Christmas music raised and enhanced the season with joy and hope. I love it to this day, and even in my original (secular) compositions, I hear the influence of the rising, hopeful, exalted diatonic melodies, or conversely, the dark mystery-filled laments of the tragic aspect of the Christian story.”
The set includes eight of Tom’s favorite Christmas standards (6 sacred, 2 secular) plus 1 original composition – the title track ‘I Heard It Was Christmas Day.’ ‘Silent Night’ is reinvented in an 8+ minute version that incorporates the iconic melody but also a moving improvisation on that melody. ‘I Heard It Was Christmas Day’ evokes the holiday from a child’s perspective – family gatherings, decorating the tree, the bright reds, greens and golds, and sleigh rides. ‘God Rest You’ (God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen) is modal in approach, with more focus on the middle-eastern aspects of the scale and melody than the chord structure. ‘Auld Lang Syne’ is presented in an ‘end-of-the-season’ sentimental tone, with an original section written by Tom.
Tom says, “There is much pain and suffering in our lives but with Christmas comes hope for a kinder world.”