Whatever the equivalent there is to gold records in the cartooning world, it’s likely that Guy Gilchrist, creator of the popular Nancy cartoon strip, has it. And if not, he’s owed it.
That said, there’s an artistic duality to the big-time comic-book illustrator that’s not necessarily a secret, but one that more and more beyond Music City’s parameters are beginning to learn about; specifically, the singer-songwriter dimension of Gilchrist, which is in full bloom this yuletide season.
Famous Cartoonist Pens Christmas Music with Heart
As evidence, Gilchrist’s new two-track holiday CD, appropriately titled Merry Christmas, Sluggo (San Quentin School for Boys), will drop this week. And when it does, friends and fans of the long-tressed, cartoon-drawin’ wordsmith will be around to catch it during the artist’s Nov. 18, CD celebration at The Listening Room Café on 10th Avenue South in downtown Nashville.
The title song on the Christmas-themed disc was inspired by its creator’s own youth, he said, which was, at times, laden with mischief. The second song on the project, Christmas Light, is a touching ballad that commemorates the meaning behind the holiday.
“These two songs are about redemption. Isn’t that what God is all about?” observed Gilchrist during a Nov. 16 interview. “The Christmas story is one of love. Unconditional love. We can never buy or live our way into the Lord’s heart. We’re there because He gives us chance after chance. He gives us all His love, changes our hearts from the inside out, and makes us better people.”
Hit-Country Songwriters and Singers Help Celebrate New Holiday CD
Joining Gilchrist in the CD festivities on Nov. 18 will be a string of respected country songwriters and artists who have fan followings all their own, including country singer Mandy Barnett, boogie-woogie ivory tickler Brandon Giles and hit-songwriter Glenn Douglas Tubb, to name but three.
he CD event, will officially be under way 8-10 p.m., is open to the public. But perhaps best of all, part of the proceeds from sales of Merry Christmas, Sluggo, not to mention Gilchrist’s songwriting royalties, will be donated to a charity near and dear to the music-maker’s heart, Boys Town, an organization dedicated to providing hope for neglected and abuse children.
Founded nearly a century ago, Gilchrist said that last year alone, Boys Town helped 500,000-plus young people in 26 states.
Comic-Strip Illustrator’s Childhood Inspires Christmas Songs
“I know a little about having a bit of a tough childhood, having grown up without the proper father figure in my life,” remarked Gilchrist, who jumped in to help at Mel McDaniel’s benefit show in Nashville last August.
“There comes that time in your life-–maybe just into adolescence–when you can start down one of two roads,” he added. “(And) I thought I was a pretty tough kid. I was always getting into scrapes and mixing it up. I thought I was tougher than I was. Kind of like Sluggo.”
Singer-Songwriter Guy Gilchrist Hopes Christmas CD Aid Boys Town Charity
As for his decision to chip in for the Boys Town cause, which specializes in giving second chances and love to those it serves, Gilchrist says he’s happy his Christmas music, like his life, has a mission.
Says Gilchrist: “I hope that by using my world-famous character, Sluggo, and this story of Santa seeing into this boy’s heart, that through this funny song with a special universal message, we are able to raise money and awareness for the good works of Boys Town, year after year. There but for the Grace of God go I.”