Cool, Calm and Collected songs of Bob Sirois
Entering the world of Bob Sirois’ A Hometown Christmas
and Dreams of Christmas, the listener is surrounded by a cacophony
of bell like tones and silver lined melodies that lull us into
a tranquil state of mind. Cloaked in a quilt of diverse musical
styles each song revels in the warmth of nostalgia in a fashion
that avoids cliché and embraces the magic of fond remembrance.
He wants us to rediscover within ourselves a familiar memory,
to make time stand still and to transcend the mundane and the
his treatments of Christmas classics are refreshing, almost
as though they are being heard for the first time. Each song
utilizes crystal clear production and formidable, yet restrained
musicianship. This is as close to a “re-invention”
of the classics as I’ve heard in some time. As one would
expect, selections such as Silent Night and Ave Maria sound
as though they are sung by angels and accompanied by clouds
from heaven, However, Sirois and his band of musicians escape
treacherous banality by treating each song with spare arrangements
and subtle accompaniment. The result of which feels utterly
human, absolutely contented.
traditional Christmas music does not just cover the familiar
(if not overplayed) tunes. John Denver ‘s Aspenglow
one immediately recognizes the reverence that is paid in how
delicately Sirois performs it. Christmas for Cowboys, while
obvious from the title, is a country/western instrumental,
is handled as if its original form were a renaissance etude
for the lute. The result is something bubbly yet peaceful.
My favorite is perhaps the ever-popular Dance of the Sugar
Plum Fairy from
Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker. Cliché you say!
I say: no way! At every moment the ballet classic would normally
swell into a joyous climax, we are denied. Sirois does not
delve into cheesy crescendos, but remains levelheaded, sticking
to his guns. It is here that I become fully aware of his true
intentions: to keep us in the suspended state of deep reflection.
Sirois’ own compositions (such as Mirranda’s Passage
and Christmas Eve Lullaby) are mesmerizing, absorbing the
listener into another world. Hypnotic swirls of notes give
way to the warmth of country and folk with an occasional twist
into the emotional pull of classical and traditional motifs.
The guitar playing is masterful but not bombastic, humble
actually. The complexity of each composition (as well as the
virtuosity of the performer and accompanying musicians) is
understated, underscoring the importance of the SONG. Refreshingly
light and airy.
The mood of both these compilations is relaxed, without any
overdramatic hand wringing, utterly mature (without being
boring). We discover in them a satisfying meditative moment
that seemingly lasts forever…and can, once you hit the
Sonic Group Art and Music Critic;