Whistler Christmas EP: true spirit of the season from a troubador 

Jeremy Thom wanted to record a Christmas carol for loved ones and couldn't stop

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Jeremy Thom wanted to make his Christmas presents for people this year and being a musician he decided to write and record his own version of a traditional carol for friends and family.

The thing is once the 31-year-old started, he found he was enjoying it so much he couldn't stop and three weeks later he now has a five-song EP called A Whistler Christmas.

"I started with 'I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day' and I had such a good time reworking it that I decided to do a few more, and it turned into a five-song EP," Thom says. "It was a little ambitious because I did it all in November. The rewriting and the recording of the songs all started the day before Halloween and finished on Nov 19.

"It all came really quickly. Within a few days I had rewritten and recorded for all five songs."

He even temporarily put on hold his solo album, due out next year, in order to complete it.

"I've got a lot of new songs that aren't recorded yet. It takes a while to get tracks down. I've been working on a solo album called Universe and that will be out next year. This Christmas EP jumped in the middle of that. Universe got put on hold for the Christmas album," he says.

Allowing the creative impulse to take charge is one thing, another is that Thom says people never get tired of their favourite Christmas standards and he found himself drawn into the project.

"And hopefully people will think these are interesting enough versions," he says.

The result is a mellow, melodic guitar-driven EP in keeping with Thom's singer-songwriter style, which is known in the pubs and clubs in Whistler and to his music students. He has been playing in the resort for 17 years.

The traditional Christmas songs being given the Thom touch are "Jolly Old Saint Nicholas," "Let it Snow," "The Christmas Song," "Jingle Bells" and "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day," all recorded at his home studio in Spring Creek, Delicious Mix.

"I've spent every minute of the last three weeks working on it and I am really happy with it. I think it turned out really well," he said.

 "They're basically alternative versions of the songs. They're not the standard classical versions."

Thom says he's not an especially Christmassy kind of guy, and hadn't played Christmas carols out of season until now.

"I celebrate Christmas every year, but I wouldn't say I am heavily associated with Christmas so I am not sure where it came from," he said, laughing.

Carols are hopeful and loving, and Thom believes his are not any different.

"Christmas carols are different from a lot of music because they are about love and good spirits and all those positive things. The album doesn't focus on the religious side on the album; it's more about love and positivity. The song choice reflects that, the lyrics I changed in the songs give it a broader feel," he says.

Thom changed the lyrics to make the songs more "my style," to make it represent him and where he is coming from more.

"A lot of the old carols don't have a chorus, I made up one for two or three of them. I'd take one of the verses and turn it into a bridge and change the melody for that part and change some of the words. And the arrangement of all the parts," he says.

But did he have a favourite?

"Yes, surprisingly 'Jingle Bells.' I like 'Let it Snow,' as well. Each song has a part that I really liked making," Thom said.

A Whistler Christmas is available on iTunes, CD Baby and www.jeremythommusic.com.

Thom is having a CD release party at the Crystal Lounge on Dec. 6, followed by another at Black's on Dec. 14. Joining him will be Frankie G on the drums and Raj Das on the stand-up bass.

And it won't all be Christmas carols.

"There will be my original music, too, and covers of artists like Jack Johnson and Ben Harper," Thom says.

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