The Perfect Gift

This is simply one gem of an album, guaranteed to warm even the cynical, holiday-averse hearts. It’s also a lovely, down-home and heartfelt alternative to the canned carols that are force-fed to us at places like Walmart—intended, I suppose, to encourage us to shop more and buy more stuff.

The Perfect Gift is also a tour-de-force for Buller. This celebrated veteran songwriter-singer-fiddle player cowrote quite a few of the 11 selections, which are finely balanced between the playful (“Merry Macaroni Art,” penned by Buller and Lisa Aschmann, who also cowrote “Our Gingerbread House”) and the sublime: a stellar arrangement of the traditional “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” and “Anna,” which is Buller’s heartfelt tribute to an obscure Biblical figure. 

With the masterful assistance of producer/engineer Stephen Mougin, Buller enlisted the help of a near-legion of her celebrated friends and frequent collaborators. These include Sierra Hull, Dan Tyminski, The Fairfield Four, Rhonda Vincent, Tim O’Brien, Vince Gill, Ricky Skaggs, Sharon White and Buller’s 9-year-old daughter Romy, among others.

Hard as it is to pick stand-outs, here are a few:  “Mary Rocked Her Baby” (Aschman-Buller) features stellar old-time gospel harmonies as Buller, The Fairfield Four, Levert Allison, Larrice Byrd, Sr., Bobbye Sherrell and Joe Thompson exquisitely blend their voices.  

“Last Christmas” is a “grassed up” version of a lovely but forlorn reflection penned by the late lamented pop star George Michael. “I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day” is a Civil War era poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow that Buller set to music with the assistance of Barry Bales (bass), Ron Block (lead & rhythm guitar), Sierra Hull (mandolin) and Dan Tyminski (guitar). Buller pitches in on lead vocals, fiddle, octave fiddle and viola.

Most all of us have our personal lists of favorite Christmas albums, and Lord knows there’s a slew of them going back many years. But my guess is that The Perfect Gift will be a welcome addition to many such lists.

This is simply one gem of an album, guaranteed to warm even the cynical, holiday-averse hearts. It’s also a lovely, down-home and heartfelt alternative to the canned carols that are force-fed to us at places like Walmart—intended, I suppose, to encourage us to shop more and buy more stuff.

The Perfect Gift is also a tour-de-force for Buller. This celebrated veteran songwriter-singer-fiddle player cowrote quite a few of the 11 selections, which are finely balanced between the playful (“Merry Macaroni Art,” penned by Buller and Lisa Aschmann, who also cowrote “Our Gingerbread House”) and the sublime: a stellar arrangement of the traditional “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” and “Anna,” which is Buller’s heartfelt tribute to an obscure Biblical figure. 

With the masterful assistance of producer/engineer Stephen Mougin, Buller enlisted the help of a near-legion of her celebrated friends and frequent collaborators. These include Sierra Hull, Dan Tyminski, The Fairfield Four, Rhonda Vincent, Tim O’Brien, Vince Gill, Ricky Skaggs, Sharon White and Buller’s 9-year-old daughter Romy, among others.

Hard as it is to pick stand-outs, here are a few:  “Mary Rocked Her Baby” (Aschman-Buller) features stellar old-time gospel harmonies as Buller, The Fairfield Four, Levert Allison, Larrice Byrd, Sr., Bobbye Sherrell and Joe Thompson exquisitely blend their voices.  

“Last Christmas” is a “grassed up” version of a lovely but forlorn reflection penned by the late lamented pop star George Michael. “I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day” is a Civil War era poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow that Buller set to music with the assistance of Barry Bales (bass), Ron Block (lead & rhythm guitar), Sierra Hull (mandolin) and Dan Tyminski (guitar). Buller pitches in on lead vocals, fiddle, octave fiddle and viola.

Most all of us have our personal lists of favorite Christmas albums, and Lord knows there’s a slew of them going back many years. But my guess is that The Perfect Gift will be a welcome addition to many such lists.

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