This week, Jean Watson releases her Celtic-infused holiday project, Christmas...Not The Way It Seems. The singer/songwriter/violinist brought in Grammy Award-nominated producer Billy Smiley to produce the 11-song collection of angelic and classic Christmas favorites, along with enlisting the talents of legendary Gospel Music Hall of Famer and guitar virtuoso Phil Keaggy.
"I love Christmas music and was thrilled to be able to record some of my favorite carols with producer Billy Smiley this year," says Watson. "Billy allowed me to think outside the box and create music that truly feels like 'me,' and I am so excited to share that sound with the world! I hope these new arrangements of timeless favorites add to the joy and wonder of the season for many."
"Christmas...Not the Way It Seems" blends beloved carols such as "Do You Hear What I Hear," "Angels We Have Heard On High" and "The First Noel," with melodic renditions of less familiar holiday songs like "Pat A Pan," "Coventry Carol" and "Lo How A Rose," along with Watson's newly-penned Christmas hymn, "Not The Way It Seems."
"Jean is a gifted soul and person. Very seldom do I find someone with incredible gifts in songwriting, singing, and violin all in one person," says Smiley, who, in addition to his Grammy nominations, has produced more than 100 albums and 30 No. 1 songs, and is a founding member of legendary Christian rock band WhiteHeart. "It has been a pleasure to see her wings unfold throughout the recording process. It will be so exciting for the world to see and hear this beautiful talent!"
Born into a musical family, Watson's classical training began when she was still a young child. Early on she displayed an affinity for the violin, but as time passed she became equally recognized for her wistful, ethereal vocals. As an adult, music was set aside for Watson to focus on her responsibilities as a wife and mother. Her marriage ended in divorce and she found herself in a time of deep depression and hopelessness. At her lowest point, she cried out to God.
A short time later, the landlord of the house where Watson lived with her four children stopped by to bring her family a Christmas tree. As he was setting it up, he heard some Christmas carols that Jean recorded on a cassette.
"'What is that?, he asked. 'That's you? I don't know what you are doing with your life, but THAT is what you're supposed to be doing with your life.' Watson remembers. "He told me to keep my rent money and take it to a recording studio and make a CD.' He had no idea that his generosity was an answer to my prayers."
Her landlord's kind financial gift led to Watson's first CD in 2002 and set her on the path that she continues following today, which has taken her around the world performing music from her six albums.