Christmas is a time for families and friends to gather and offer gratitude for the important things in life. There is a primal feeling in the air at Christmas, a reminder that even in the darkest, coldest days of winter, spring is stirring in our hearts, ready to burst forth with light, love and renewal. In our modern culture, commercial concerns often overwhelm the deep religious and spiritual feeling of the season, but those feelings of affection for family and community are at the heart of the music Reuel explores on First Snow.

“I have a deep connection to Christmas music,” Reuel says. “I grew up in a religious home and the music of the season played an important part in my childhood. Many artists look down on Christmas music, but the combination of religious and familial feeling that the music evokes lets you access emotions that regular music doesn’t often touch. As an artist, and a listener, Christmas music allows you to be more poetic, more emotional, more dramatic.”

Reuel’s wide-ranging talent as a pianist gives every note he plays a unique resonance. He has years of experience in the worlds of classical, pop, film scoring and electronic dance music, allowing him to move smoothly between genres. He brings all these elements to bear on the arrangements he’s created for the songs and carols on First Snow.

“I chose First Snow as the title of my inaugural Christmas album, because I’m planning on making more Christmas albums in the future. First Snow depicts the beginning of the change of the seasons that may hardly be noticeable at first, just a sprinkling of flakes, which can suddenly turn into the full force of winter. I wrote the initial arrangement for ‘First Snow’ on a cold winter day in Las Vegas. For the first time in several years, it was snowing outside my window. When I finished, I looked out the window and it was really coming down.”

First Snow was produced and arranged by Reuel. His friend, and co-producer, Jordan Kolar, mixed the album and added digital percussion and electronic effects. The piano tracks were recorded live, with the Tosca String Quartet adding orchestral sweetening to “First Snow” and solo cello to “Silent Night.”

Presented by Lucky Hound Music and Reuel.

Lyrics by Reuel & Denisse Borquez
Music Production by Reuel & Jordan Kolar
Vocals by Lala Vaughn

The only vocal track on the album is an original piece aptly titled First Snow, a song sure to become a pop standard. It features a soulful vocal by Lala Vaughn. Reuel sprinkles the restrained melody with sparse notes suggesting a gentle snowfall. Then, dramatic bass notes from his left hand set up Vaughn’s tender vocal, her voice full of love and longing as she evokes the memories of departed loved ones. The Tosca String Quartet eases in, balancing dark sorrowful tones with uplifting sustained notes, while Reuel’s piano spins a flurry of arpeggios in the background. Measured percussion and angelic backing vocals emphasize the coda, with Vaughn sighing, “We love you,” over and over.

Reuel’s new holiday album First Snow is now available for purchase and streaming.

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