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Carol of the Bells (Xmas Challenge w/ jdholliday)


by

kevmikwa

 Genre: Holiday

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Description
I was very lucky to have drawn JD in the 2010 Christmas Challenge - one of the more distinctive and powerful voices here at MacJams. Patient, too - it took me the longest time just to get a rough sketch out to get the discussion started. Thanks so much, my brother - looking forward to working with you again in a few weeks!

We set out to deconstruct the song - apologies in advance to the purists out there expecting a traditional take.

Happy Holidays to everyone!

Vocals: jdholliday
The other stuff: me

P.S. If you wanna hear the other tunes, here's the forum post with all the linkage.
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Lyrics
Original lyrics by Mykola Leontovych (1916) with some minor variations:

Hark hear the bells,
sweet silver bells,
all seem to say,
throw cares away.

Christmas is here,
bringing good cheer,
young and old,
the meek and the bold.

"Ding dong ding dong",
that is their song.
With joyful ring
we're all caroling.

One seems to hear
words of good cheer
from everywhere
filling the air.

Oh how they pound,
raising the sound,
over hill and dale,
telling their tale.

Gaily they ring
while people sing
songs of good cheer.
Christmas is here.

Merry, merry, merry, merry Christmas.
Merry, merry, merry, merry Christmas.

(repeat)
Song Stats
Hits: 3669
Comments: 71
Fans: 32
Plays: 163
Downloads: 79
Votes: 1
Uploaded: Dec 22, 2010 - 11:36:29 AM
Last Updated: Dec 22, 2010 - 09:04:48 PM Last Played: Aug 10, 2017 - 10:41:39 PM
Song License
Creative Commons License:
NoDerivs-NonCommercial

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Comments
alackbass said 2549 days ago (December 22nd, 2010)
First
First
Check out my latest song called Mean Miss Teacher
alackbass said 2549 days ago (December 22nd, 2010)
Carol of the Bells
Way cool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This rocks and grooves so well. Is that Mike on the organ solo? Yeah man! Killer vocal James! Great backer Mike! Excellent arrangement gentlemen!


Check out my latest song called Mean Miss Teacher
kevmikwa said 2549 days ago (December 22nd, 2010)
My brother
I have to thank you for getting me into my first challenge. I have your son Ryan to thank for pulling JD's name to pair with mine. I needed a vocalist, and I got a great one. I appreciate your kind words, my friend. I'd want to do more except there's this guy who keeps feeding me killer collabs ...
magnatone said 2549 days ago (December 22nd, 2010)
Carol of the Bells
WOW - this is SO FRICKIN' COOL! Great job you guys - this goes STRAIGHT to the xmas playlist - thanks for the D/L!!
Check out my latest song called Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen) and Variations
kevmikwa said 2549 days ago (December 22nd, 2010)
Karen!
We appreciate the praise, my friend. Maybe now you see why Ivory 2 will have to wait - needed something a little bit grittier. Of course your DL is the highest compliment - that's what we were hoping for. So glad to have the chance to work with JD - we'll work together again real soon (i.e. just after the holidays, with any luck).
speedonl said 2549 days ago (December 22nd, 2010)
Carol of the Bells
Very enjoyable!!
Check out my latest song called Plane
kevmikwa said 2549 days ago (December 22nd, 2010)
Thanks
Thanks for the listen and the comment, Egbert.
crissew said 2549 days ago (December 22nd, 2010)
Really cool
Very different spin on a christmas classic. Great keyboard work Mike, didnt know you played. Nice interpretation, changing from 3/4 to 4/4. Very nice vocal James!
Check out my latest song called Dollar Store Christmas w/ Jerry Rissew
kevmikwa said 2549 days ago (December 22nd, 2010)
Charles!
Most would say I don't play the keyboard. You should see how I had to build the keyboard solo - I sang the part and then keyed it in, phrase by phrase. No way can I play that live. The 3/4 > 4/4, that was a big part of our "deconstruction": while the three-feel is an integral facet of the original, I also felt it's an aspect that some folks actually dislike. So we decided to depart - it felt better to JD and may have contributed to the bluesy vibe of his vocal.

Thanks again for stopping by.
jdholliday said 2549 days ago (December 22nd, 2010)
Well Mike
did all the work here, I just sang, Really enjoyed this very much Mike, you're a great guy to work with and I too look forward to more collabing soon friend!
Check out my latest song called Please Help, Pride of NYC needs tracks!
kevmikwa said 2549 days ago (December 22nd, 2010)
So humble
I think we both which track is the star of the show. The backing track isn't going to get anybody excited - it's your bluesy almost Eagles-esque lead that does it for me, anyway. I'm so happy I never told you the idea I had for the vocal because yours is as I told you when I first heard it: "only about a thousand times better".

Looking forward to taking a swing at "I Can't".
PaulaMunk said 2549 days ago (December 22nd, 2010)
Amazingly
good. It really rocks and it is so interesting with all the instrument choices and the spice of the tinkly bells. Nice job singing the kind of funky beat vocal, James. Thanks, guys.
Check out my latest song called O, Shenandoah
kevmikwa said 2549 days ago (December 22nd, 2010)
Char!
Thanks for your comment - "rocks" was a bit unexpected (and maybe my favorite part). I may have gotten a bit lucky with the instrument choices - I did try to be selective and audition a wide array of different organ and crystal bell sounds. I just love what JD brought to the song - lucky to have been paired with him.
ShadowofNine said 2549 days ago (December 22nd, 2010)
Very Kool
track, me likes muchly...
Check out my latest song called Gone (with Eagle)
kevmikwa said 2549 days ago (December 22nd, 2010)
Thanks!
We appreciate the kind comment.
michaeljayklein said 2549 days ago (December 22nd, 2010)
Great job!
James is a real standout on this--thanks guys!
Check out my latest song called There Ain't Nobody Here but Us Chickens!
kevmikwa said 2549 days ago (December 22nd, 2010)
From one vocalist to another
I'll forever be jealous of the way you and Gaylen harmonize on your take on "Angels". Singers like you and JD are truly blessed ... it's the one thing that can't be faked. Thanks for stopping by.
ktholliday said 2549 days ago (December 22nd, 2010)
~ Carol of the Bells ~
This rocks!!! Wow, digging this track! I love the drums! Mike!!! Jamesey your voice is sooooo soooo sweet!!! Ding dong, ding dong, (you ring my bell)!!!Love the end with that bell! Also, nice picture, Mike!!! Thanks for the instant D/L!!! Wow, definitely in my repertoire! May your holidays be filled with everything that make Christmas so wonderful! ~ Katy ~
Check out my latest song called Sweet Life w/jdholliday
kevmikwa said 2549 days ago (December 22nd, 2010)
Kind comment, indeed
Thanks for the sentiment, KT. JD did mention that you enjoyed the backing track idea when you first heard it. Downloads are the sincerest form of praise, so we appreciate that, too. Happy Holidays to you two!
H3nry said 2549 days ago (December 22nd, 2010)
This year
instead of the TV tuned to the weather / christmas carols channel for the family gather, we'll have an iPod of MacJams originals.

Well done. Doesn't matter HOW ya got there, it rocks.
Check out my latest song called Eighty-Three
kevmikwa said 2549 days ago (December 22nd, 2010)
Whoa
Maybe you're just saying that - it's a nice thing to say for sure - but that would just blow my mind ... knowing that a song I helped cobble together would be playing at somebody else's family gathering at Christmas! High praise indeed for everyone submitting holiday songs here to Macjams. Thanks for the kind words.
lilmom said 2549 days ago (December 22nd, 2010)
WOWZA!!!
A totally new song!!!!! Brilliant you two! And I LOVED that one traditional touch at the end! You are sooooo clever!
Check out my latest song called Tribute to Jeannie and Ed
kevmikwa said 2549 days ago (December 22nd, 2010)
Wowza? Really?
Humbled in the presence of a REAL keyboardist. Regarding the traditional touch: it's the only traditional bit in the whole thing! We saved that nugget until the very end. I woulda thought you'da been the purist who wouldn't have cared for our deconstruction of this classic. Thanks for your comment!
Symphony101 said 2549 days ago (December 22nd, 2010)
Pro stuff
What else to expect, knowing you both ! Awesome work gentlemen !
Check out my latest song called Standing On The Brink (w/ Mosaica)
kevmikwa said 2549 days ago (December 22nd, 2010)
Yves!
So happy you could come by and take a listen, my friend. It was certainly very cool to get a chance to work with our mutual friend. See you soon on that next collab of ours!
jiguma said 2549 days ago (December 22nd, 2010)
Mike!
It had to happen - Mike does the multi-instrumentalist thing. Nice take on a Christmassy song - great vocal James. Nice solo too Mike.
Merry Christmas to you both and your respective families! Best for 2011.
:)
Check out my latest song called We End Up Being All The Same (42)
kevmikwa said 2549 days ago (December 22nd, 2010)
Hello Kettle? This is Pot. You're black.
High praise coming from one of the most esteemed masters of the "multi-instrumentalist thing". I did have fun making the solo, even if it doesn't come to me nearly as naturally as it comes to cats like Alf or John. Thanks for the kind words.
awigze said 2549 days ago (December 22nd, 2010)
Merry Christmas
cool all the way around, vocals, percussion and that killer keyboard break. Mykola would like it... uh, I hope. : )

Check out my latest song called To Claire II by THSANTAC
kevmikwa said 2548 days ago (December 23rd, 2010)
Maybe not?
I gotta think Mykola would be wondering what JD and I had done with his song. We definitely did some deconstructing! Thanks for stopping by.
kassia said 2549 days ago (December 22nd, 2010)
very cool
I have to say i was skeptical when this started, because I love this carol, but once the vocals started this just all came together. JD's vox are perfect, LOVE that organ, and good job throwing in the chimes for good measure. This is tight and clean and way cool. Great job guys!
Check out my latest song called Greensleeves
kevmikwa said 2548 days ago (December 23rd, 2010)
Glad we won you over
I can empathize with you - I think anyone coming here expecting the light and hypnotic feel of the original would be a bit taken aback at the outset. Thanks for noticing the bells, I was pleased with how those sat on top of the mix. We appreciate your kind words.
fasteddie said 2549 days ago (December 22nd, 2010)
Great
job you guys.

Killer vocals!

The backer is rockin good.

Nice one!
Check out my latest song called On Borrowed Time
kevmikwa said 2548 days ago (December 23rd, 2010)
Many thanks
We appreciate you stopping by with the compliments. I couldn't agree more about the vocals, I'm a JD fan.
bud said 2549 days ago (December 22nd, 2010)
Great take
I'm really digging the alternate versions of the songs we've all heard too many times the same way year after year. Excellent drums and mighty fine vocals - of course!
Check out my latest song called Oh Coast
kevmikwa said 2548 days ago (December 23rd, 2010)
"Alternate", indeed
We really did take this song apart. If you didn't pick up on the lyrics and the fact that the bass follows the line from the original, you might not see the connection at all!

We appreciate your kind words.
rok41 said 2549 days ago (December 22nd, 2010)
Merry Christmas
Digging this groove, wow Mike great job on the backer...wow! Great key solo. JD, you sound good man! Very cool adaptation!
Check out my latest song called Kilimanjaro - 2017
kevmikwa said 2548 days ago (December 23rd, 2010)
Groove
Thanks - the groove is what I was trying to focus on. As I commented previously, any real keyboard player would have a good laugh watching me record the key solo, phrase by phrase from a line a sang into a mic!

Thanks for the kind commento!
Moviz said 2549 days ago (December 22nd, 2010)
Cool Xmas
loving this song and the way you performed/ arranged it, though I haven't heard it before.... good work from both of you.... all the best to all, M
Check out my latest song called Angels
kevmikwa said 2548 days ago (December 23rd, 2010)
Not surprised
We're not surprised that you haven't heard this arrangment before. Fair to say it's never been torn asunder quite like this! If you listen hard, there are still some similarities. Really!

Thanks for the listen and comment!
RAVENS said 2549 days ago (December 22nd, 2010)
Coolness
Mike, you've been very busy lately. I'm glad, you should be displaying your talent more! Very cool rendition, I'm diggin' this. Jd sounds awesome & the music is terrific. Kudos on a fab collab guys!

RAVEN ;-)
Check out my latest song called Tattooed Scars (w/ Sigmund, Scofugate, Rok41)
kevmikwa said 2548 days ago (December 23rd, 2010)
Happily busy
You're right - I have had a lot of collabs on my plate since meeting Andrew. I'm also very happy that he gave me the opportunity to work with you - looking forward to trying another with you in 2011.

Thanks for stopping by and leaving your kind words.
jgurner said 2548 days ago (December 23rd, 2010)
Wow!
The Ukrainian Bell Carol has always bee one of my favorites and I love this take on it. Amazingly original and very cool! Great take on it guys. Lots of fun.
Check out my latest song called Carol of the Basses
kevmikwa said 2548 days ago (December 23rd, 2010)
Apologies
If this carol was one of your favorites, then JD and I apologize roundly for what we did to it. You probably could barely recognize it! Thanks for the kind words, man.
scofugate said 2548 days ago (December 23rd, 2010)
Wonderful tune Guys
Outstanding Backing and vocals!
This is great from Top to bottom.
LOVED IT ALL!!
Check out my latest song called DreamKiller
kevmikwa said 2548 days ago (December 23rd, 2010)
Cool
We certainly did have a lot of fun putting this together. Thanks for stopping by and for your compliments.
Catalina22 said 2548 days ago (December 23rd, 2010)
Ingenuity
"Carol of the Bells" is my favorite carol, and this is entirely unlike anything I EVER would have expected! Wow! What ingenuity and creativity. Groovy organ solo! Hats off to both of you. :)
Check out my latest song called The REAL Plant that Geranium! (Mood Ring Mix)
kevmikwa said 2535 days ago (January 5th, 2011)
Apologies, Part 2
As I said with jgurner (above), JD and I apologize for scrambling a carol you hold dear. Thanks for the kind words (and for the organ solo compliment).
Sigmund said 2548 days ago (December 23rd, 2010)
Carol of the Bells
Hey guys - I needed an infusion of cool Christmas spirit, and this more than fits the bill, so thank you both, JD and Mike, and Merry Christmas to you guys!
Sig
Check out my latest song called Running with the Wind by Peter B, feat rok41
kevmikwa said 2535 days ago (January 5th, 2011)
Guitar man
Glad this helped you get some Christmas spirit, we had fun putting it together. Thanks for the words.
MarkHolbrook said 2548 days ago (December 23rd, 2010)
Power drums
power vocals! This is spot on great! Really outstanding!
Check out my latest song called Corn Whiskey
kevmikwa said 2535 days ago (January 5th, 2011)
Power
JD and I always try to bring the power. Glad we delivered for ya! Thanks for taking the time to comment.
PeterB7858 said 2548 days ago (December 23rd, 2010)
Not what I was expecting...
This was not what I was expecting - which is great (since Xmas carols and I don't really see eye-to-eye). Driving drums provide the impetus for JD's dynamic vocals. Love the organ break. Congratulations to both of you. Have a great Xmas. Take care, Peter.
Check out my latest song called Losing You
jdholliday said 2548 days ago (December 23rd, 2010)
just want to thank everyone
for tuning in and being so kind! Merry Christmas! Jd.
Check out my latest song called Please Help, Pride of NYC needs tracks!
kevmikwa said 2535 days ago (January 5th, 2011)
Cool
Unexpected - that is what we were going for. I felt compelled to warn people who were expecting something traditional. I know what you mean about Christmas carols - typically, I really do have to be in the mood. Thanks for commenting.
Carrie71 said 2547 days ago (December 24th, 2010)
Carol of the Bells
Thanks for mixing up the traditional stuff. Enjoyed this one alot! Awesome job, everything sounds amazing!
kevmikwa said 2534 days ago (January 6th, 2011)
Many thanks
Hey Carrie - thanks for the kind words. Per your "Check out my latest song" tagline, I took another listen to "Flaunt It". Ah, the memories!
BirdmanWayne94 said 2547 days ago (December 25th, 2010)
I dig...
... the new feeling you guys gave this classic carol. It's almost unrecognizable but I don't really care because this is a great *song*... fine work guys! :)
Check out my latest song called Groove #7 (SoloMe-o Challenge)
kevmikwa said 2527 days ago (January 13th, 2011)
Apologies
I feel the need to apologize to guys like you, jgurner and Catalina22: if you came expecting to hear one of your favorite carols, I imagine you would be fairly well let-down. Thanks for the listen and comment.
thoddi said 2546 days ago (December 25th, 2010)
What a cool groove to start the song
It got me hooked immediately. A little nit to pick... At my end it sounds like the vocal is in another room than the rest of the band. Could maybe be fixed by lowering the volume of the vocal track just a tiny bit… and maybe checking if the reverb on that track is set a little to a different kind of room feeling than the rest.

But it's a cool song, and it works very, very well.

The organ soloing is very tasty and creative done. I haven't come a cross many drummers that master other instruments like keys the way you do Mike. Impressive!
Check out my latest song called The King has left
kevmikwa said 2527 days ago (January 13th, 2011)
Agreed
I agree with you on the reverb. I didn't apply any mastering reverb (and probably should have just to give everything a similar sheen). The drums have room mics, the organ software instrument has a bit of a delay, then the bass is close-miked and the vocals are effected but reverb-free. I can see how that could be distracting. Lesson learned for a future mix - thanks for the tip.

Regarding the keys ... I appreciate the compliment, but I'm light years from being a master. You should've seen me piecing together the solo from a vocal scratch I made ...
guygrooves said 2544 days ago (December 27th, 2010)
Awesome!!
Mike... excellent arrangement!!

JD.... one of your finest vocals to date!!

Peace
Guy
Check out my latest song called Summer Bossa with awigze
kevmikwa said 2527 days ago (January 13th, 2011)
Appreciated
Thanks for stopping by and leaving the your words. We had fun putting it together.
Alannah said 2543 days ago (December 28th, 2010)
Yup ....
... indeed way too kewl ..... Merry Christmas!
Check out my latest song called Sleep (w JScott and Alannah)
kevmikwa said 2527 days ago (January 13th, 2011)
Thanks
We appreciate your listen and comment.
composerclark said 2542 days ago (December 29th, 2010)
Ding dong
This is AWESOME! The drums are totally professional, as usual for you Mike, and the singing is fantastic as well. A very interesting and creative setting of an old poem; very well done!
Check out my latest song called A Little Song About Our Mom
kevmikwa said 2527 days ago (January 13th, 2011)
Heh heh
Funny that you should title your comment that way ... it was one of the lines James had trouble singing with a straight face. Thanks for dropping by and giving this one a listen, we appreciate your comment.
woofer3 said 2542 days ago (December 30th, 2010)
very seasonal
Great rocking track and so catchy.
Check out my latest song called Drunken bakers [08-01]
Soundhound said 2535 days ago (January 5th, 2011)
Cool Rocken jingo bell....
Your a good drummer, got taste and style good tune as well
with solid vocals...

It's belated but Happy Holidays to you and yours...
Check out my latest song called Melded Universe....
paul f. page said 2461 days ago (March 20th, 2011)
Different is sometimes...
good. I thank that's true here. I love the organ solo at about 1:30...and the bass just pops out from the very first note onward and keeps on thumpin' away insistently. I really like that sound in your mix. ... To me, the only thing you've kept from the original song is the lyrics. A great idea, I think, since the original has become so hackneyed that nobody pays attention to the words anyway. In your version, the lyrics are suddenly important. Small thought: add a counter vocal line? Maybe something to consider if you ever revisit this song. ... Thoroughly enjoyed listening to this...IN MARCH...(sorry I got here so late)
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Llarion said 2204 days ago (December 2nd, 2011)
Wow!
I love a courageous and original take! Totally was not expecting this, what coolness! Love the translation into 4/4 time, I did that with one too; it really gives it a unique twist! Delightful, dancing organ solo! Extremely enjoyable arrangement with powerful performances!
Check out my latest song called Door to Babylon
Char said 2188 days ago (December 19th, 2011)
Re-visit.
Standouts: the other stuff and the bouncy vocal. So unique. Thanks.
Check out my latest song called Bound, v2. w Music by Dirigent
Artist Info
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Name: Mike Watkins
Location: Sterling VA United States
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A self-respecting drummer, I've also been a faithful Mac user since my mid-90s Performa purchase. I recognized its usefulness as a musical tool when I started poking around with GB on my eMac to add some drum sketches to a friend's drumless recording... [see more]

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