Head Down Home for Christmas

A musical celebration takes the stage at the Moncton Wesleyan Church Celebration Centre tomorrow night, featuring a line-up of some of the region’s best country talent.

The concert is being held in conjunction with the release of Noel par chez nous/Down Home Christmas, a 19-track compilation recording, featuring the talents of Scott and Gerald Delhunty, Brian Mallery and Lee Marlow, as well as Laurie LeBlanc, Richard Bourque, Debbie LeBlanc and more.

Singer-songwriter Gerald Delhunty says that the idea to make a holiday-themed record came to him more than four years ago, but it was just this past summer that all of the necessary puzzle pieces fell into place to allow the project to finally take flight.

“When I had first started thinking of doing a holiday album, I hadn’t necessarily thought about getting others involved,” Gerald says. “I had started talking to Lee Marlow about it and he told me that he wouldn’t mind doing a Christmas album, too, so the idea of doing a compilation disc involving guys like Lee and Brian Mallery took off from there.”

A collection of original songs as well as traditional holiday tracks such as O Holy Night, there is an almost equal helping of French and English songs found on Down Home Christmas. Noel par chez nous/Down Home Christmas is available for purchase at retailers throughout Metro Moncton including Frank’s Music, Librairie Acadienne and Librairie La Grande Ourse.

“When we started discussing putting a CD together, we asked everyone to pick their two or three favourite songs that they would want to contribute to the album. There were some songs that were common between people but, for the most part, people chose songs that they felt best suited them,” Gerald says.

“What also emerged was an obvious desire on everyone’s part to embrace their heritage by having selected both French and English songs to perform.”

It was during the recording of Down Home Christmas this past summer that Gerald says the idea of organizing a show to celebrate the record’s release emerged as a possibility, giving fans the experience of gathering the various performers into a live show while also giving them something that they are able to take home with them at the end of the night.

“Once we started talking about putting a show together, everybody got really excited about the possibility it would open up,” Gerald says.

One performer really looking forward to performing at tomorrow night’s concert is Cap-Pele’s Brian Mallery, who recently released his third full-length effort, Living My Dream.

Performing live is an especially poignant achievement for Mallery, who was involved in an automobile accident in 2006 which had threatened to permanently sideline his music career.

“The accident that I was involved in happened in the summer of 2006 and had essentially laid me up until December 2010,” Brian says. “Initially, my doctors did not want me to pursue my music career in any way but I finally convinced my family doctor to let me try getting back on stage just to see what would happen.”

Though Brian now walks with a cane and has to closely monitor the amount of time he spends on stage, he says that giving up on his dream of playing music was never an option.

“One of the things I found toughest about the accident was not playing music and not having the choice whether I did or not,” he says .

“Those years that I wasn’t able to play, it truly felt like a part of me had been taken away. It was when I started playing again that I felt as though I was finally coming back around to the person that I used to be.”

Asked what piqued his interest in contributing to Noel par chez nous/Down Home Christmas, Brian says taking on the task of writing an original track was pretty much a no-brainer, adding that the holidays have always been an important time of year for his family.

“It is an incredibly good feeling to be able to put pen to paper and write an original Christmas song,” he shares.

“I come from a big family and for me, this time of year is all about spending time with family.”

Article published in December 8, 2011 edition of The Times & Transcript