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Christmastide - Phil Thompson & Billy McLaughlin
Tuesday, December 19th, 2017
With little media attention, SimpleGifts is arguably the most successful Minnesota holiday-themed project celebrating exclusively traditional hymns and carols interpreted in modern arrangements. Fueled by grassroots fans since 2001, the 16th Annual SimpleGifts 2017 Holiday "Christmastide" Tour includes close to 20 concerts between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve in the Twin Cities metro or close proximity. Music from the group's most recent CD "This Christmastide" and previous five critically acclaimed releases will be featured. The ensemble's previous CD, Wintergrace, is characterized by local music critic Jim Walsh: "…one of the most elegant and listenable Christmas collections of this or any year — "WinterGrace" from the Billy McLaughlin-led local collective SimpleGifts" – MinnPost With exceptional set and lighting design and an impeccable sound-system, SimpleGifts puts community celebration ahead of commercialization - pulling the audience into the sublime side of traditional repertoire in a truly meaningful Christmas event. Expect modern arrangements with an "Old-world" feel highlighting Billy's signature acoustic-guitar, angelic three-part harmony vocals, bagpipes, Celtic whistles, violin, piano and tasty atmospheric percussion. Phil Thompson is an internationally acclaimed pop pianist & vocalist and is an official Kawai endorsed touring artist. As Phil’s current album, Love Themes from the Silver Screen continues to chart on iTunes in the “Top 20” Love Themes albums, he has toured across the globe performing at venues including Mandalay Bay and Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, the MGM Grand in Macau which lead to a featured article in Cosmopolitan Magazine - Hong Kong, and many of the globe's top sporting events including the US Open Tennis Tournament in New York for 3 years in a row, the Rogers Cup, the Shanghai Rolex Masters and China Open in Beijing, as well as the Wendy's 3 Tour Challenge in Las Vegas. Phil has also headlined on several specialty-themed cruise events, most recently on the “Wine, Dine & Music Cruise” as spotlighted on USA Today with Kenny Loggins and Three Dog Night and Phil has also served as an opening act for artists including David Foster, Brian McKnight, The Canadian Tenors, Charice, and Clay Aiken to name a few.