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Paul Gilbert Releases New Holiday Album, “‘TWAS”


Last week, shred guitar legend and ArtistWorks rock guitar instructor, Paul Gilbert, released his second full-length album of 2021, ‘TWAS. Unlike Paul’s previous record, Werewolves of Portland, which debuted this past June, ‘TWAS features a collection of classic holiday tunes each arranged in the guitar-centric, shred-packed, and light-hearted style that is uniquely Paul’s.


“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,” Paul expresses. “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.”


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The twelve-track album presents ten familiar holiday classics, including “Frosty the Snowman,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” to name a few, as well as two original holiday songs that were written by Paul specifically for the record—“Three Strings for Christmas” and “Every Christmas Has Love.”


“‘Three Strings for Christmas’ refers to the 3-string guitar that I used on my double-neck [guitar]. I tune the strings in octaves, which allows me to play ridiculously fast arpeggios, and very little else (which is why I string the other neck like a normal guitar),” Paul explains. “‘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.”


Paul Gilbert - “Every Christmas Has Love” (Official Music Video):



When recording Werewolves of Portland, Paul had to navigate the constraints of mandatory isolation caused by the pandemic and record all of the instruments on the album himself, tracking each instrument individually layering one on top of the other. In contrast, Paul was able to record the entirety of ‘TWAS live with a group of hand-selected musicians to accompany him. The only instrument that they overdubbed in post-production was the cowbell.


“I formed a band of Portland Oregon's finest jazz and blues musicians to support me while I recorded the songs,” Paul explains. “Dan Balmer (guitar), Clay Giberson (keyboards), Timmer Blakely (bass), and Jimi Bott (drums) 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.”


While Paul’s characteristic metal and rock guitar shred is still dispersed healthily throughout the record, ‘TWAS is also packed with a smattering of elements from other genres and features a hybridization of blues, rock, funk, soul, and R&B styles.


“I was inspired by the Christmas recordings of Nat King Cole, Loretta Lynn, Stevie Wonder, Barbra Streisand, Johnny Mathis, Ella Fitzgerald, and The Ventures,” Paul explains. “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.”


Paul Gilbert - “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” (Official Music Video):




Have you always wanted to learn how to shred on guitar? Through our comprehensive guitar lessons online and Video Exchange Learning platform here at ArtistWorks, you can learn directly from rock guitar icon Paul Gilbert, and get personal feedback on your playing.


Paul’s course starts with the basics and teaches everything from beginner rock riffs to advanced shred techniques. So, whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, or advanced player, all levels are welcome and all students will grow and improve their skills as guitarists and musicians!


Try out some free music lessons here and see what makes ArtistWorks courses some of the best online music lessons around!



ArtistWorks Music Series—Artist Bio Series: Paul Gilbert

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