A WIGAN musician is hoping to encourage listeners to discover the true spiritual meaning of Christmas with his new festive CD.
Kieron Riley, from Springfield, has released the five tracks of Noel which he hopes will provide an alternative to the commercialisation of the modern-day festival in the run-up to December 25.
Kieron, 25, has selected songs from contemporary Christian musicians and hopes his CD will make them better known alongside the more established hymns which explore the religious origins of the festival.
He has also included a modern version of the Lord’s Prayer which was a last-minute inclusion in response to an ongoing controversy.
He said: “I wanted to record some modern Christian songs rather than pop songs as the religion is the heart of Christmas.
“I’ve always wanted to make a Christmas-themed CD and decided now was just the right time to do it.
“I’ve built up a bit of a following through my YouTube channel and people were asking if I would do something festive, so I’ve put together a few songs which I feel represent Christmas.
“There’s some good songs out there which people don’t know, so I wanted to bring them to a wider audience.
“It’s also important to me that Jesus is remembered at this time of year.
“I know people really like the pop songs and the festive tunes at this time of year but I really like these songs and I think it’s a shame if people don’t get to hear them.
“I also write my own songs which I try to make very encouraging and inspirational in order to reach people.
“There’s also a song called Our Father which I wasn’t going to include, but then the cinema advert featuring the prayer got pulled from the screens so I thought it would be nice as the last track.”
The EP is now available for download from Kieron’s website, with people able to pay as much or as little as they wish for the songs.
Noel was mixed at Kieron’s home studio but was produced with the help of a friend in Nashville, who also provided Kieron with the arrangements of the songs.
Noel itself has a full arrangement but the EP’s other tracks are stripped down with Kieron’s singing accompanied only by a piano.
As well as producing Noel Kieron has been hard at work writing country-influenced songs and hopes to produce an album of self-penned material next year.
He said: “Recording my own stuff is definitely in the pipeline. I hopeg a healthy amount of donations from the festive CD will allow me to produce an EP in 2016.
“If I could get together five country-style songs I’m really proud of that, would be great.”
Kieron has just finished studying theology at a college in Worcestershire and is embarking on a tour of universities in the new year. He is also hoping to bring out an acoustic album based on the performances.
He has also performed a series of concerts at churches across the UK and can be found helping with the worship at Wigan town centre’s Gateway Church.
Noel is available now to purchase as a download for a donation. To find out more, visit www.kieronriley.com.