RHODY LIFE

Shannon Corey's 'I Wish I Had A River' puts a jazzy spin on Christmas

By ROB DUGUAY
Posted 12/23/20

By ROB DUGUAY The holiday season and Christmas music go hand in hand, like presents and wrapping paper or pine trees and ornaments. Classics such as "e;Santa Claus is Coming to Town,"e; "e;Let It Snow!"e; and "e;Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"e; can be heard

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RHODY LIFE

Shannon Corey's 'I Wish I Had A River' puts a jazzy spin on Christmas

Posted

The holiday season and Christmas music go hand in hand, like presents and wrapping paper or pine trees and ornaments.

Classics such as “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” “Let It Snow!” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” can be heard in department stores, restaurants, ice rinks and town squares all over the world. It’s an experience that signifies a time of year where exchanging gifts and spending time with loved ones are of utmost importance.

To celebrate the season while doing her own rendition of the songs previously mentioned, among others, www.shannoncorey.bandcamp.com released the album “I Wish I Had A River” on Dec. 10. The record has the Cranston native taking her jazz talents and incorporating them into yuletide standards.

Corey ended up making the album due to not being able to continue an annual holiday concert that she and a few local musicians started last year. She wanted to be able to share the music she and the band performed during the show, so she figured the best way to do so would be to make a record.

“I had been in Poland singing jazz music for a year and a half, and when I came home, I found some local musicians to keep my music going,” she says on how the making of “I Wish I Had A River” came about. “We put on a really spectacular holiday jazz show last December to an audience of over 100 people at The Music Mansion in Providence with the hopes of continuing it as a tradition. When COVID-19 hit and we couldn’t stage the holiday show, I decided to hop into the studio and record all of our songs together as a band so I could still share the music with everyone. We recorded five songs at PBS Studio in Westwood, Massachusetts, with Peter Kontrimas, and then my husband, Mike Maven, and I went to New York City for a month for a change of scenery. While we were there I realized I wanted to add two more tunes, so I had Mark Shilansky, a Boston-based pianist who teaches at the Berklee College of Music, send me a very cool arrangement of ‘Merry Christmas Darling.’ I love this song so much. I literally said to him, ‘Send me any version you like and I'll sing on it.’”

Corey adds: “Lastly, I had this idea of just a simple version of ‘I'll Be Home For Christmas’ to close out the record. We recorded the vocals in a closet in New York City full of towels with all of our recording equipment, so we just went for it. I chose the song because we’re all going to be separated and distanced from our loved ones this year, so why not remind everyone that we will be home in spirit and love, and even in our dreams, if not actually in person. That part is still important and is still true no matter how far away we all are.”

The history behind the song resonated with her due to the meaning of being away from loved ones during an important time of year. It’s also amazing how the lyrics in the Bing Crosby classic are as relevant today as they were when the song was written in 1943.

“It was originally a sentiment from World War II and still, after all these years, the song lyrics still hold true,” Corey says about the significance of “I’ll Be Home For Christmas.” “It’s a wonderful testament to incredible songwriting by Kim Gannon, Walter Kent and Buck Ram. I wanted to honor the song and our new circumstances with a simple, a cappella version. Hopefully people love it and can share in the beauty of the season through the song despite the hardships we’ve faced in 2020. Music really can bring us all together.”

We all know that Christmas music can become boring and repetitive, especially if we hear the same versions over and over again for weeks on end. Corey puts a fresh take on timeless songs in fantastic fashion, and her new album is bound to leave a positive impression on the listener.

Purchase and stream a few tracks off of “I Wish I Had A River” via Corey’s Bandcamp page at www.shannoncorey.bandcamp.com.

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