" I received a copy of your CD today and immediately played it. ‘Treasure’ is an apt word to use in the title of the CD because it is a CD to be treasured. The songs sound beautiful. Your arrangement of these classic songs is moving. As I listened to them, I could detect that this project was a labor of love for you. You put your heart into the music. The songs awakened feelings of pride for my country. From the opening song America, to the closing song The Battle Hymn of the Republic, the music took me on a journey through our country's past. I especially loved Greensleeves, Shenandoah, and Songs of the Civil War.
The liner notes give great information concerning the origins of the songs. Thanks for sticking with the project over the last decade. The finished product was worth the effort. I can't wait to give this CD on to my friends and let them enjoy it as I have."
-- G. Steve Kinnard - New City, NY" I love the CD! It is exquisitely done! The phrasing is so fabulous -- I especially love Barbara Allen.... I cried!"
-- Peggy Singer - Paramus NJ"I enjoy the calming effect your music has on me. The tunes are arranged simply but very creatively and the quality and rhythm of the music is wonderful."
-- Karen Braverman - Oradell NJ"Your new CD arrived, and has given Leslie (my wife) and me a lot of pleasure. The arrangements are superb, as is the playing. We especially like the military sound of Chester, old William Billings would have loved it: you’ve caught the spirit in which he wrote it! Thanks again".
-- Sam Hinton - La Jolla, CA
"This is one of the nicest guitar albums I’ve ever heard. You honor these great melodies with sensitive, soulful playing."
-- El McMeen, guitarist" It is both soothing and enlightening at the same time. I especially appreciated the absence of talk -- just allowing the music to flow over me is so nice!"
-- Vic Schumacher - Madison, NJ
"With creative, mezmerizing arrangements, Phillip Lester has once again combined technical ability and the artistry of the guitar to bring us the true essence of these songs. Each arrangement brings out the deep beauty of these songs that helped to shape our country and helps us to understand how they have remained in the American consciousness through times of deep patriotism as well as times of apathy and protest."
-- Sherwin Mackintosh - New York City"As I listen to American Treasures, I thought of Sir Walter Scott's great poem Native Land. While Scott’s masterpiece portrayed a man devoid of patriotic pride, your CD evoked in me a wide range of emotions especially pride in country and gratitude to God. If one can listen to these inspirational songs without similar reactions, then indeed they are a ‘man with soul so dead, who never to himself hath said, this is my own, my native land’."
-- Bob Neyland - Nashville, TN
"I listened to your entire CD last week. I liked the overall sense of reverence for the music. I liked your guitar sound throughout. I liked the selections themselves and the playing order seems to be paced well. I'm glad that you stuck to solo guitar for this too [it would have been an easy decision to add snare drum or fife to a revolutionary war tune or banjo to a Stephen Foster tune, etc.]. The haunting quality of just guitar is nice. I like your slight variances in melody and the elongating of certain phrases. You did just enough of this to put your own signature to these pieces without going too far and wrecking them - a tasteful display. The same is true for chordal harmonies - just enough variance to make the pieces fresh to the ear, sometimes haunting, but not too much so as to rewrite them. I caught your little 'Chet' thumbpicking on the one tune. It's cool because it alludes to that style, but due to the nylon string sound and the lack of a thumb pick, it still sounds classical too. Your drum effects were neat too. All in all, the CD is very gracious and listenable, and, I think, quite publishable as a book collection as well. Congratulations on getting this huge project completed! - it's a very good CD!"
-- Guitarist, John Standefer - Vancouver, WA
"Phillip, I just wanted you to know how much I liked your new CD! I don't think that the younger people can really appreciate this CD collection for what it really is. The first time that I listened to it, it took me down an emotional memory lane. Most of the value of your CD is for people my age that takes us back to a time when old-fashioned values, patriotism and most importantly prayer were a part of going to public school. A time when God was still important to this great nation that was founded on the foundation of God. Many of the songs I learned back even before I went to grade school and we sang in grade school. Music was an important part of learning in school years ago and it reinforced what you were learning in history. Too bad it can't be that way again in school. You really brought back memories with the old Stephen Foster songs. I want to thank you for making this CD because it helped an old duffer get part of his memory back. If I were to have to state my feelings about it in one word, awesome comes to mind.
PS: You may have heard this before but as long as they have exams in school, they will never get rid of prayer in school!"
Ed Damian - Portland, Oregon
"The summer release couldn’t have come at a better time when we are all feeling the need to celebrate being Americans. I have shared your tape with friends in Pennsylvania. It has a universal appeal to people of all ages from my 6 year-old son to his grandparents."
Carla Fierri - Waldwick, NJ
"I was recently invited to a charity tea given, and heard your new CD American Treasures playing. I was hearing it as patriotic background music, thinking how gentle it was but when I caught Anchors Aweigh you had my utmost attention. Both my parents are veterans of WWII, my mom was a Wave in the Navy (I grew up singing the Navy song!) I thought it would make a great Christmas gift for them. Thanks so much for your gentle version of Americana."
Lauralee Taylor - Lynnfield, MA
"My daughter loaned me her tape of American Treasures and I have refused to return it! It is just wonderful, and a big hit with my husband, Walter. He is an 83 year old WWII veteran who now has late stage Alzheimer's. As you may know, music memory is usually the last to go, and Walter just loves the music of his youth. We had several patriotic song CDs and tapes (most meant for children) that he enjoyed, and after Sept 11 they took on new meaning for me but he knows nothing of those events. However your CD is so beautiful and stirs up emotions while still providing a "restful " hour for him. We play it almost every evening and sometimes I think he's already sleeping, but he suddenly sings out some lyrics.
I cannot thank you enough for having made this splendid treasure of American Treasures."
Mary Ellen Siegel - Queens , NY
"You’ve definitely captured the spirit of patriotism in your music that our country is so desperately grasping onto right now. I do believe that God set this exact time for you to refresh our weary hearts and souls and I know that your music will continue to spur us on in days to come. Thank you for persevering in your work over the years to bring this to completion in such a time as this."
Pat Mulhane - Boston"Dear Phillip,
Right after vacation I took in the American Treasures tape and played it for the class. You could have heard a pin drop as they listened and worked. Then I told them I had heard you play a few times in person. The barrage of questions was unbelievable. The only things I told about you were: you play classical guitar, are a school counselor, used to play rock and roll live in New Jersey, and I know your parents. Its amazing how children interpret information.
When explaining you played classical guitar, they thought you were playing a harp. That was a very interesting observation on their part…they never cease to amaze me."
Wanda Sofi, fourth grade teacher,
Vancouver , WA
"Dear Mr. Lester,
I really like your music. Its relaxing. I’ll give it two thums up. Everyboudy likes your music in my class. Its very very peaceful and gentle. Mrs. Sofi plays her tape American Treasures. I’m probably going to buy your tape so my famly can lesen to it—your friend, Michael."
Michael, fourth grader
How to Order | History behind the Recording | American Treasures Programs
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