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This is Christmas: The new album by Katey Laurel

Will be released on November 29, 2016 the highly anticipated new album of the American singer-songwriter Katey Laurel entitled This Is Christmas and released from her independent label Roaring Twenties Records, LLC.

Katey Laurel - This is Christmas (Photo by Art Heffron)

Katey Laurel – This is Christmas (Buy it on kateylaurel.bandcamp.com )

This for Katey will be the fourth studio album, after Upstairs Downstairs (2008), From Here (2011) e Periscope (2014). But the seventh of her career counting also the first three self-produced home recordings between 2004 and 2006.

The album was produced by Katey Laurel with the help of her friends and multi-instrumentalists Luke Halpin (Bettman and Halpin) and Dave Preston (Dearling, Matt Morris, Freddy Jones Band). To these are added as a producer also the rockstar engineer Nick Sullivan, since he helped creatively to direct some of the production choices.

The project This Is Christmas

Katey Laurel - This is Christmas (Art Heffron Photography)

This is Christmas is not just a simple album for Katey, but a project pursued, desired and dreamed for a long time.
She started writing her own original Christmas music about 6 or 7 years ago and began recording her tracks for this album about 5 years ago.

I decided to finish it up and put it out officially last fall.

In this time frame she published the single Two Birds , one of her Christmas songs for excellence, released on October 18, 2011.

And more recently she uploaded on her YouTube channel a homemade live recording of Christmas Cactus, a new song released specifically to get us into the spirit of the winter holidays. But also to wish Merry Christmas and above all to bring a smile to all of us.

Christmas record

Katey Laurel - This is Christmas. Photo by Art Heffron

Katey Laurel talked to me about how it was born her desire to make a Christmas record.

Katey says:

I’ve always loved the sentiment of this special time of year – the joyfulness of fun celebration, family and holiday traditions – and the somberness as well. The reflective nature of the winter season and the tradition and spiritual faith that wells up in me as I think about the history of humanity and our intersection with the Christmas story.  I’ve been reflecting on these thoughts and writing during the season itself for the past five years to capture the unique spirit and nature of this time of year in song.

She has been inspired by other independent artists including Over The Rhine and Sufjan Stevens who have interpreted this holiday through both uplifting and haunting music that has touched her season after season, and Katey has reminisced about their beautiful records as she wrote her own.

The KickStarter campaign

Katey Laurel - This is Christmas (Photo by Art Heffron)

To realize this dream Katey launched on August 26, 2015 a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for this project. Campaign that thanks to 169 backers has allowed her to obtain $9.187 of the required $8.500. Sum that anyway has covered only 2/3 of the actual cost of the project.

Katey with that sum could have simply make an album of 10-15 tracks, but her desire was really too big. Finally she was able to realize that dream chased with all her might…probably for far too long.

In her heart she felt she wasn’t ready to disappoint her fans and most of all herself. So despite the many difficulties experienced in her personal life, she found the strength necessary to continue to believe in her dream.
Driven by her great passion for the music and by the love of who care for her, Katey never gave up. Rather she has continued to work on this project always in company of her sweet smile and above all financially investing personally 1/3 of the money.
At the end she has managed to achieve her goal, making a Christmas record of 21 tracks full of love, peace, hope and joy.

Recording This is Christmas was challenging, difficult and required many sacrifices. But I am pleased to report that it is finished and coming out!

These were the words of Katey Laurel at the end of the project.

Creating, writing and recording

Katey Laurel - This is Christmas (Photo credit Art Heffron).
But let’s step back to understand how is realized an album and to retrace the steps of the creation of This is Christmas.

  • An album begins with the creation and writing of the songs. It could happen years before recording, or simultaneously (Katey did it both ways).
  • Then the artist must make a plan to increase or save money.
  • Hire a producer and musicians.
  • Reserve a recording studio.
  • Hire a photographer and a graphic designer.
  • And finally, actually create the work.

Usually all this takes from a few months to a year or longer.

After the artist has to commercialize, promote, sell and ship the album. If the artist instead, has a contract with a record label, the label takes on many of these project management roles.

Katey in her case has chosen to be an independent music artist creating her own label. She is the team, so all of these steps generally require a little more time. But also many more sacrifices and responsibilities, since is her to make all the decisions.

Once written the songs, the project continue moving on the next step, the tracks recording. Normally an artist records its songs in a recording studio.
Katey instead has a home studio set up directly between her domestic walls, where was recorded most of her songs for this album over the course of a couple of weeks a few years ago and a couple of weeks in August 2015.

Then she reserved and hired musicians (Nick Sullivan, Dave Preston e Luke Halpin also co-producer of this project) at The Keep recording studio located in Denver (CO). Here she spent about four days, working more than 10 hours daily in the studio to complete the monitoring and instrumental recording of all the songs.

Luke Halpin, Katey Laurel, Nick Sullivan, Jeff Kanan and Dave Preston at The Keep studio.

Luke Halpin, Katey Laurel, Nick Sullivan, Jeff Kanan and Dave Preston at The Keep studio.

Finally, the album was edited and mixed over the course of several months last winter.

I had the distinct pleasure of working with legendary mastering engineer in the folk world, David Glasser at Airshow in Boulder for the masters the last couple weeks.

While in this summer and fall, Katey got a photo shoot with the photographer Art Heffron and concluded with Scott McCormick the process for the album’s graphic design.

Make an album so it requires a lot of effort, sacrifice and above all a lot of passion by an artist.
For this I want to point out that all the work done by Katey Laurel is truly extraordinary. She has never made an album or a song simply as a product to be put on the market in order to gain the maximum profit (as it happens for the majors). But her music is always sincere, bright and touching because in every Katey project she always put her heart and all of herself, a quality that not all the artists can afford.

Available versions

Katey Laurel - This is Christmas (Photo - Art Heffron).
This is Christmas will be available from November 29 in digital form, and double-disc limited edition, signed and numbered (500 copies).
The album can be bought digitally via iTunes , Amazon , CDBaby , Bandcamp , etc.

The limited edition hard copies will only be available through www.kateylaurel.com  and kateylaurel.bandcamp.com .

Album tracks

  1. O Come, O Come Emmanuel
  2. Hark, The Herald Angels Sing
  3. Winter Solstice
  4. We Three Kings
  5. Deck The Halls
  6. Old Man Winter
  7. This Is Christmas
  8. Silent Night
  9. Doesn’t Feel Like Christmas
  10. The First Noel
  11. True Gift Of Christmas
  12. Star Of Hope
  13. Angels We Have Heard On High
  14. Two Birds
  15. Christmas Cactus
  16. Peace On Earth
  17. Joy To The World
  18. Let’s Be Good
  19. Sweet Baby Sleep
  20. Away In A Manger
  21. O Come, O Come Emmanuel (Reprise)



This post is dedicated to Katey Laurel and her incredible kindness because despite her commitments she has always found some time to respond to all my requests 😀 .
Thank you very much Katey!!

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