For the second year, Woodbury musician Phil Thompson has produced an album of Christmas music featuring some of the state's most well-known artists.
The graduate's "Home for the Holidays: A Minnesota Christmas," is now available, and is the featured music at the IBEW Holiday Lights in the Park at Lake Phalen in St. Paul. in Woodbury helps organize the event, which runs every night through New Year's Day.
Woodbury Patch recently sat down with Thompson to get the scoop on how the whole thing started.
Woodbury Patch: How did the idea for the Christmas CD come about?
Phil Thompson: It started last year when I was approached (by the IBEW) when they were looking for music for Lights in the Park.
I was thinking that it could be a Christmas sampler with the best artists in Minnesota, and 100 percent of the proceeds go to charity.
It's all new stuff this year, and more than half of it is new material. It's a who's who of Minnesota music; every artist is pretty big. There's a rich and vibrant music scene here, and the CD kind of shows that.
Patch: How did you get the musicians to participate?
Thompson: Musicians on the whole are pretty compassionate people. When they heard it was going to charity and going to be in Target stores, there was a lot of interest.
You can get the CD at Target stores, and there's a discount to Lights in the Park that comes with it. You can also get it on iTunes.
Patch: How did you pick the songs?
Thompson: We wanted to get a little bit of everything. Some artists picked from their libraries, but for a lot of the songs we arranged studio time—we want you to be true to yourself.
The hardest part is picking the order of the songs. We wanted to tell a story, and I think we did that this year.
Patch: What is your favorite Christmas song?
Thompson: "Walking in the Air." It's from the animated snowman movie. That was my favorite movie growing up, and I often perform the song.
Patch: What's your favorite Christmas memory?
Thompson: I loved decorating the Christmas tree with my parents. And we had a tradition of opening one gift on Christmas Eve. I have a song on the CD, "The Magic of Christmas Eve," it's a good way to tie into my favorite memories of Christmas—spending time with the family.
As a child, you think about that one big present, but looking back you realize that the important thing is spending time with family, and the song is kind of about the realization of that.
How to get it…
"Home for the Holidays: A Minnesota Christmas" can be purchased at area stores and includes a discount for Holiday Lights in the Park. It can also be found on iTunes here and at the Lights in the Park event.