Michael Tinholme Offers A Heart-Warming Christmas Gift

Christmas, traditionally, is a time for relaxing and celebrating with your loved ones, but it’s also a time of reflection, a time to be thankful for all that you have. Christmas can be a bitter-sweet time for many, a reminder of life’s joys and its sorrows. It’s safe to say that all become a little more open and vulnerable at this time of year.

It’s always wonderful, then, to come across a heart-warming story of triumph over adversity. Which brings us to “It’s Christmas Time in the City,” the latest Christmas album by critically-acclaimed singer, Michael Tinholme. Michael’s back-story is as incredible as it is inspiring. A highly-gifted creative and singer, Michael has overcome severe adversities to get where he is today, including years of mental and physical abuse from his mentally ill mother. Through all this, music became Michael’s only release. Despite his troubling home-life (including some terrible abuse and malnourishment), Michael played his first professional gig aged just twelve, and learned to love expressing his creativity.

Perhaps the most trying time of Michael’s life was yet to come. With his adopted father stationed in Vietnam, Michael experienced months of foster care before leaving the family home and spending six years living on the streets of California. Those of you who have experienced living rough will know how difficult and dispiriting such a life can be. It’s incredible, then, that Michael, ever the optimist, turned things around, with no little help from legendary pianist and long-time David Bowie collaborator, Mike Garson, who recognised in Michael a great talent.

All of which means that “It’s Christmas Time in the City” is no ordinary collection of seasonal songs. These are lush, wonderfully-produced songs with a tight and top-class jazz-band. You wouldn’t expect anything less from Michael, and the assembled players here are of the highest calibre. Bruce Fowler (former collaborator with Captain Beefheart, Frank Zappa) lends his considerable talents on trombone. The great jazz guitarist, Mike Miller (Bette Midler, Quincy Jones, Brand X, Chick Corea) also features, as do renowned pianist, Bill Cunliffe (who can cite working with Frank Sinatra and Buddy Rich on his CV) and celebrated drummer, Gary Novak (Chick Corea, Natalie Cole).

That’s an impressive line-up, by any standards, and it has resulted in possibility the most heart-warming Christmas album you will ever hear.

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