Some people just love Christmas. They glow as the season approaches – full of that Jesus joy, I guess. (I’ve got more Grinch in me than necessary.) A number of years ago, Imbi and I worked with one such glowing individual, an elf, in fact. Although we didn’t know it at first. (Actually at one point I thought he might be a Muppet.)
This particular elf was wonderfully musical, with the voice of an angel – whose name turned out to be William – the angel, not the elf. The elf’s name was Rob. (Have I confused you yet? Heaven knows I’m trying.) Rob was from Connecticut. We met him in California.
Rob was the musical director on a CD and video project for Chris Falson & the Amazing Stories. Imbi and I were producing and directing the video. Rob played piano and guitar – classically trained, he loved gospel, R&B, rock and jazz and he fluently wrote them all. Odd for an elf.
We were recording the project in January. Christmas had become a Visa statement memory – for all except Rob. It seems that every year, Rob did a Christmas concert with family and friends at his church in Connecticut- he loved the season. From Rob’s fertile imagination had lept, fully clothed but broken winged, William the Angel. Rob told us a little about William, and later we met him… well, heard him would be more accurate.
William has become part of our Christmas tradition. His story blasts from our stereo throughout the Advent season. And Rob? Well Rob has gone on to become one of the more famous arrangers and orchestrators working with people like The Three Tenors, Sting, Bono, Jay-Z, Yo Yo Ma, Elton John to name but a few. He’s constantly in demand. I’m sure to many, Rob’s elfness is well hidden (although Vanessa Williams seems to get it). But we know his story; the truth of Christmas beats in his veins.
And check out Rob Mathes’ new album, Evening Train. It’s blasting out of my iTunes as I write this. If you like Sting, Peter Gabriel or Michael McDonald, you should love this CD. I do. You can purchase it from iTunes. Meet Me by The Riverside is one of the many stand out tracks (I just rewound it for the 2nd time and turned it way up – and then Imbi made me play it in on the SoundDock – watching me dance is not a pretty thing). When I Was A Child, the next song, is another stand out – a song about the faith of his Grandfather. It’s a great album. I’d recommend you buy it.