WILBRAHAM Local resident Jeff Snow has recently released a new CD called "Simply Amazing," and the set is an enjoyable and relaxing listen.
Snow, who plays guitar, Autoharp and the bouzouki on the CD, brought together 14 Celtic tunes that, according to his linear notes, he "learned as a child and others I picked up along the way."
The title very easily describes his instrumental skills, as Snow showcases his impeccable guitar skills throughout the set. He mixes the instrumentation up on several tracks, as three receive treatment from his Autoharp playing, which proves to be just as impressive as his guitar skills. Snow also includes two vocal pieces within the CD.
Snow kicks off the CD with the traditional hymn "Amazing Grace," written by John Newton. Snow starts the song off slow, very much the way it is traditionally sung. Snow, however, pulls a twist out at the end of the song, as he speeds up the tune for the last minute. As he explains in his linear notes, "The up tempo section at the end celebrates the joy of salvation." The tempo change provides a refreshing new take on an old classic.
Snow does include one original tune, called "A Jig for Matthew, Cooper, and Mason," with this collection, in which he employs the use of both a guitar and bouzouki. Snow wrote the tune as a tribute to three premature births that hung on and survived. "All three boys are now fine," Snow wrote. "This piece is my thanks to them for being strong and to their doctors and nurses for making sure they could someday hear it."
"Come By the Hills" features Snow singing alongside his guitar. Snow said in his notes that it is "a pretty song that reminds to only worry about the important things."
The other vocal piece is a song entitled "The Massacre of Glen Coe," which relates a tragic event in Scottish history where a family of rebels was murdered on Feb. 13, 1692, on orders from King William.
Snow also includes an Autoharp medley of two traditional Celtic tunes, the popular "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling" is joined with the hymn "Lord of the Dance," based on the Shaker song "Simple Gifts."
The best track on the CD, however, is the haunting, yet beautiful "Loch Tay Boat Song," a Scottish melody that Snow said, "When sung it tells the story of unrequited love on Loch Tay in Perthshire (Scotland)." Snow's guitar skills bring this tune to life.
Snow wraps up his collection with another haunting take on an old classic, the beloved Christmas carol "Silent Night," which features Snow playing a 12-string guitar instead of the more traditional six string. He also receives help from Heidi Cerrigone, who plays along with a hammered dulcimer. The result is a fantastic rendition of the beloved carol.
Snow's "Simply Amazing" is a relaxing collection that can easily clear the mind of one's worries. To learn more about Snow and his CD, or hear samples from this and his first CD, "RUAH- The Spirit of the Wind," visit jeffsnow.net or CDBaby.com. Snow's music is available locally at The Scented Garden, 2341 Boston Rd., Wilbraham.