• 8.5/10
    PAUL GILBERT - 'Twas - 8.5/10


Label: The Players Club / Mascot Label Group
Release date: November 26, 2021

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

All I Want For Christmas

If you haven’t already got all of your holiday shopping done, there is another thing you should add to your List. Shred-master Paul Gilbert (ex-Mr. Big, ex-Racer X) has put together an album of holiday songs, including 10 classics, and 2 originals to help us bring in the new year. Gilbert formed a band of Portland, Oregon’s finest jazz and blues musicians for the sessions that make up Paul Gilbert – ‘Twas. The players are Dan Balmer (guitar), Clay Giberson (keyboards), Timmer Blakely (bass), and Jimi Bott (drums).

Six Days Of Christmas

The approach was to record two songs every day, for six days, delivering the collected body of work. Paul shares, “All songs were recorded live, although I think Jimi snuck some cowbell overdubs in. If anything should be added to a live track, I believe cowbell is the right choice.” Gilbert drew his inspiration from Nat King Cole, Loretta Lynn, Stevie Wonder, Barbra Streisand, Johnny Mathis, Ella Fitzgerald, and The Ventures. And of course, inspiration came from his guitar heroes, Eddie Van Halen, Alex Lifeson, Johnny Winter, Robin Trower, Frank Marino, Pat Travers, Jimi Hendrix, and Jimmy Page, to name a few. ‘Twas is more of a Blues/Jazz album that has moments of shredding guitar that highlight this list of classics.

Paul Gilbert talks about writing the 2 originals, and his state of mind during the process, “Three Strings for Christmas” refers to the 3-string guitar that I used on my double-neck. I tune the strings in octaves, which allows me to play ridiculously fast arpeggios, and very little else (which is why I have a normally strung guitar for the other neck.) “Every Christmas Has Love” was written quickly, inspired by my panic-driven mental state of album making. When I know that the recording sessions are coming, my brain shifts into survival mode, and melodies start popping out.”

Final Notes

The album is a perfect choice for the holidays, and ranks up there with Ho Ho Hoey and the Merry Axemas collections produced by Steve Vai. The musicians are fantastic, and the groove is solid on every track. If you’re looking for heavy Metal here, you won’t find it. That said, this is an excellent instrumental album, with fantastic guitar playing by a shred legend. No Christmas music collection can be complete without a copy of Paul Gilbert – “Twas.


Paul Gilbert – guitar
Dan Balmer – guitar
Clay Giberson – keyboards
Timmer Blakely – bass
Jimi Bott – drums

‘Twas – Tracklist

1. Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!
2. Frosty the Snowman
3. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
4. The Christmas Song
5. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
6. I Saw Three Ships
7. Every Christmas Has Love
8. Three Strings for Christmas
9. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
10. We Wish You a Merry Christmas
11. Silver Bells
12. Winter Wonderland


  • Bryce Van Patten

    Bryce is an audio engineer and a graphic designer here at Metal Express Radio. From the day he purchased his first album (Machine Head by Deep Purple), he has had a passion for heavy music, which has influenced his whole life. Bryce is from the great Pacific Northwest in USA, and has played in metal bands like Babylon, Holy Terror, The Wild Dogs, Warhead and Egypt through the 80s. He had his first interview for the Portland, Oregon publication The Rock Rag with guitarist Paul Gilbert in his Racer X days. Then he was honored to get to have drinks, and talk for an hour with the legendary Dan McCafferty of Nazareth for his second interview. In 2013, he spent an amazing hour talking to Andi Deris of Helloween, which was the high point of his heavy metal journalism.   In the year 2001, he formed Man in Black Music Publishing. They released recordings by several local bands, and in the spirit of the old Metal Massacre compilations, he created a 2-album series called The Defenders of Metal. The albums featured classic styled Metal bands from all around the world, with bands from Australia to England, and from Argentina to Russia. Currently, he is the producer/creator/vocalist of the Metal band The Black Tuesdays.

    View all posts

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.