Announcing a New Holiday Song
By Jonathan Goldman
Before you go any further, I want to acknowledge that “Yes”, I know that Christmas is more than a month away. I also want to acknowledge that we haven’t even hit Thanksgiving and that it seems that only a couple of weeks ago, Halloween was happening. However, because this newsletter goes out towards the later part of the month and because by this time next month, the revelation of a new Christmas song would probably be considered too late, I would like you invite you to view a new video which features a brand new (old style) song I wrote for the Holiday Season.
This video features a song called “(Have A) Bright Christmas” along with some lovely images of the Holiday Season, full of warmth and love and good cheer—something that all the various holidays at this time of year have in common. If the song resonates with you, please share the link with others. I’d like to tell you the story of the creation of this song now.
I was down in Florida in 2006 with my wife Andi, visiting her parents. It was Christmas time—this was obvious despite the palm trees and other flora and fauna that resided in this area year round. Andi’s father and I were in a discussion about Christmas songs. I seem to remember saying something about the fact that in different department stores they seemed to be manifesting such songs earlier and earlier. In fact, , I remembered hearing them right after Halloween that particular year. Though I am Jewish by upbringing, like many families when I was growing up, we also celebrated Christmas. I don’t know if Chanukah, Buddha’s Birthday or other occasions are celebrated as national holidays, but I surely know that Christmas is. Also, I know that deep in our Americana psyche (at least), Santa Claus is a beloved figure of myth and magic. While celebrating Chanukah, we also had a Christmas tree and hung up stockings and the like. It was great fun!
As I spoke with Andi’s Dad about Christmas songs and their popularity, I smiled at him and said: “You know, maybe I’ll write a Christmas song.”
He looked at me in puzzlement without saying a word.
“Well, you know,” I said, “One of the most popular Christmas songs was written by somebody who was Jewish.”
He continued looking at me with bewilderment in his eyes.
“Irving Berlin,” I told him, “He wrote the song that goes: ‘I’m dreaming of a white Christmas’. You remember that one?” I always found this fact to be an incredible testament to multi-denominational aspects to the holiday season. Holidays, after all, are “Holy Days” and can be celebrated in the spirit of unity between all faiths!
Andi’s father nodded. I continued. What person from the United States of his generation (and probably mine as well) did not know that Yuletide classic? “In fact,” I continued, “maybe I’ll write something like it.” And I began to sing: “Have a Bright Christmas everybody, Santa’s on his way…” . I stood in front of him and sang the song presented on YouTube straight through to him as though it had been written and rehearsed. When the song was over, my eyes widened and I said: “Excuse me”. I went off to write down the lyrics and used some sort of recording device to get the melody.
In truth, it’s very rare that a song comes through me so quickly and pure. Sometimes a song verse or chorus will just manifest and perhaps there have been times when I’ll be with a group of people and some suddenly a song will come through. Usually these songs manifest and then are forgotten as quickly as they’ve appeared. However, I’ve even had a song come through once from a dream—but that is another story.
With “(Have A) Bright Christmas”, the lyrics and melody remained with me long enough to enable me to record a demo of it when I returned home with me singing and playing guitar. I liked it as a song—but I had no idea what to do with it. It was not in the genre of music I normally worked with. Andi’s father departed this planet in 2007. He was an extraordinarily loving man and he is deeply missed. Still nothing was done with “Bright Christmas”. Then one day—I think it was in January of 2012, I had the thought to actually record “Bright Christmas”. That was as far as my psyche could take me. I believe I did it as an honoring of Andrew Pullman, my wife’s father. And perhaps just to see what “Bright Christmas” would sound like as I’d originally heard it in my head.
Incidentally, I did not think: “I’m going to sing and play ‘Bright Christmas’”. I’d done that on the demo years before and while it was okay, it was not what I initially heard with the song. When the song resonated in my head, it always sounded like something Bing Crosby or perhaps Perry Como would be singing while someone tinkled on the ivory (a euphemism for playing the piano) with a fireplace aglow behind them. And quite frankly, while I might be able to intone the Divine Name or chant the Tibetan Deep Voice, my ability to deliver a smooth, 1940’s or 50’s pop song is not necessarily my forte. Neither is playing a smooth and lovely piano part. So, I worked with a friend of mine who’s a good recording engineer (as well as an excellent producer and a fine rock musician) and we brought in a man who was head of the music department at one of the local universities. The song manifested quickly, in the recording study. I found it quite beautiful—almost, as I’d heard it in my head when I sang it to Andi’s father that day many years before. The only part I actually had in the creation of this version of “(Have A) Bright Christmas” besides input into how the song should be sung and played is that I did sing on the “Happy Holiday” line when it was double tracked. Thus “(Have A) Bright Christmas” manifested.
In truth, I still have no idea what to do with this song. There’s an art (perhaps a science) to writing a song and placing it with another musician to perform. Forty plus years ago, when I was writing and performing pop music, this might have been something I would have been interested in exploring. But not now. Now the world of sound healing occupies me. The ability to place songs with other musicians and singers is something that some people possess. And from the little knowledge I have of this, it’s a full time lifestyle. So, now I has a very nice version of “(Have A) Bright Christmas” and that’s inner. Then, that inner voice that sometimes guides me told me to give it away as a holiday gift. So, through this video, I’m making the song available on YouTube.
If you like it, please pass the link on to others and share it with them. If the song really resonates with you, the sheet music and a free mp3 are available as a free download. Just go to http://healingsounds.com/bright-christmas-download-page
As we come into this Holiday Season, we’ll be sending more Holiday Greetings in the next season. But for the moment, I wanted to share “(Have A) Bright Christmas” with you. It is my gift. I trust it resonates.