A Blackwatch Christmas, Volume 7
With Thanksgiving over, the season of Christmas music has come, which includes the release of Fowler Volkswagen of Norman’s, “A Blackwatch Christmas, Volume 7.” Recorded at Blackwatch Studios in Norman, “A Blackwatch Christmas, Volume 7” features 10 songs performed by musicians including BreakUp, Sherree Chamberlain, Jacob Tovar, Desi & Cody, Ben Kilgore, and Emily Hearn.
This marks the seventh Christmas album produced by Fowler Volkswagen of Norman in partnership with Norman-based Blackwatch Studios, as part of a long-term goal to make Oklahoma the independent Christmas music capitol of the world.
For this Creator Conversation, I’ve asked the musicians to talk about their music and holiday traditions.
Use seven words to describe your song.
Desi & Cody (“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”): Just Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.
Jacob Tovar (“I’ll Be Home for Christmas”): Crooning brings out the best in holidays.
Ben Kilgore (“White Christmas”): Stacks on stacks on stacks of vocals…
Describe your experience of creating your song for the “A Blackwatch Christmas, Volume 7″ album.
Desi & Cody: I worked on 2 songs. We recorded the Jacob Tovar song at my house. (All except the piano track a la Chad Copelin.) Anyways, the song Desi and I recorded is actually a song we recorded before. The first rendition we did was just acoustic guitar and vocals. Desi sang it a little more traditionally, as Judy Garland is definitely one of her bigger influences as a singer. When Chad and Jarod hit me up, they let me know they wanted to do stuff a little less traditional so I said, “Let’s try (the song we did) but instead, maybe we use a Mellotron to recreate the Orchestral stuff from the original recording in a more unique way.” Jarod seemed way into the idea. We tried to do it in the key we did before and have Desi basically be in the same vocal range as before but it didn’t quite work. I also recorded some Bass and guitar tracks, but it seemed better with less stuff going on. In the end, we just tracked to the mellotron, some keys, and a drum machine of some variety. Desi sang it a little more dreamy and breathy, and I added this creepy low octave with my voice below hers. In the end, we ended up with something a little more haunting and trippy. I haven’t heard the mix and master yet though so I’m not totally sure what the final product sounds like at this time!!
Jacob Tovar: It’s kind of ironic. Christmas songs are not my favorite genre, but creating the recording of the song was quite smooth. I really wanted to record a different standard, but it was already taken. So I searched around in the same style (Sinatra/Crosby/Etc) and decided on “I’ll be home for Christmas.” I tried it in a couple different keys and found a good fit, then we ran over to a friend’s house in Tulsa to lay down the tracks. We liked the first take, but did another just in case, and were happy with the way it turned out. I enjoy singing those crooner tunes, they are vocally challenging and have such classy style.
Ben Kilgore: I collaborated with Chad Copelin and Jarod Evans, which is always a pleasure. I tracked vocals at my studio in Tulsa. Chad has sent me a very simple drum track with keys and we went from there. The slide guitar parts really stole the show. The rest of the song exists to get you there.
What are some of your favorite activities and places to visit in Oklahoma during the Holiday season?
Desi & Cody: Desi and I always love driving around in some of the neighborhoods in Tulsa with Christmas lights. Often times in the area between Brookside and Riverside in Tulsa. Also, we haven’t done this yet, but we are thinking about visiting the Tallgrass Prarie in Osage County this year!!
Jacob Tovar: We live in Tulsa and like to go out to Pleasant Valley Farms in Sand Springs to get a live tree – they always have a lot of holiday cheer out there for the kids. We also frequent the downtown Tulsa ice rink by the BOK center and the pop-up shops. We also try to make it to the Nutcracker at the Tulsa PAC, we love the ballet!
To celebrate the release of the album, Fowler Volkswagen of Norman will host a free-to-the-public concert and Christmas party from 7 pm to 11 pm on Friday, December 8 at STASH (412 East Main Street in Norman). The all-ages party will include live music, refreshments, and craft beer by Anthem Brewery. The first 200 attendees will receive a limited edition vinyl copy of the record.
The limited edition vinyl copy of the record will be also available first come, first served on Black Friday at Fowler Volkswagen in Norman, Guestroom Records in Norman and Oklahoma City, and the Holiday Pop-Up Shops in Midtown.
If you prefer, the album is now available as a free digital download, along with the six previous albums, at fowlervwchristmas.com.