Clay Aiken – A Special Christmas Gift


O beautiful star of Bethlehem
Shine upon us until the glory dawns
Give us a lamp to light the way
Unto the land of perfect day
O beautiful star of Bethlehem
Shine on

I grew up in a musical family. I majored in music during college and played professionally for many years. But, I was a classical musician and my knowledge of country, rock and roll and pop music was very limited.

In 2005, Clay Aiken introduced me to another style of music. In a special Christmas gift to his Grandfather, Clay performed “Beautiful Star of Bethlehem,” a bluegrass song. It was a poignant moment and I loved the entire performance. However, I wanted to know…….what, exactly, is bluegrass music.

Bluegrass music is a part of country music and is pure American music. Bluegrass was inspired by the music of immigrants from Ireland and the United Kingdom. It also has some African-American inspiration with a touch of jazz and blues.

Bluegrass relies mostly on acoustic stringed instruments. The fiddle, five string banjo, acoustic guitar, mandolin and the upright bass are traditional instruments in bluegrass music. Sometimes, the resonator guitar is added.

Traditional elements are important. The musicians play folk songs with simple traditional chord progressions. A distinguishing characteristic of bluegrass is vocal harmony featuring two, three, or four parts.

Bluegrass, as a style, developed during the mid-1940s some time after World War II. It wasn’t called bluegrass back then. It was just called old time mountain hillbilly music. One of the most popular hillbilly musicians was Bill Monroe and since he was from Kentucky, the bluegrass state, the music was named bluegrass.

I doubt if there was a dry eye in the concert hall when Clay sang for his grandfather. This one-time performance was a gift from the heart to Clay’s Papa.

We are lucky that there is Clack from this concert.  This beautiful song is not only a tribute to Bluegrass music, but a special performance filled with love.

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  1. I just love all of the information you gave about the writers of Beautiful Star of Bethlehem. Seeing
    this video just fills the heart – seeing Clay sing it so beautifully to his Grandpa! It is also one of my
    favorites – which one isn't??!! Every song he pours out is a favorite. Christmas Clay – there is
    nothing better for the heart and soul.
    The information on "Blue Grass" was excellent, also! Thank you!

  2. I went to that concert in Raleigh with three friends who had never seen Clay before. They were blown away by the entire evening and particularly that song. They hoped he would repeat it the following year but it wasn't to be. There hasn't been a Clay performance or tour that I haven't enjoyed but there was something exceptional about the JNT5.

  3. I love that song and Clay sings it beautifully. It's so sweet of him to sing it for his Grandpa. Thanks for a wonderful video.

  4. What a touching tribute to Clay’s Papa! I love Clay’s words about his Papa before the song even began. Thanks for posting this so we all can enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime event.

  5. So glad that Clay decided to sing Bluegrass for his "Papa" that night…What a wonderful gift… Doesn't matter what genre, Clay can sing it… Loved watching this video again. Thanks Musicfan.

  6. I love Clay's rendition of Beautiful Star Of Bethlehem. He was so proud to be able show his love for his grandpa during the Christmas season. Clay is a beautiful star too – of the Claynation – and he continues to shine on.

    Thanks for the information about the song, and also for the video of some very touching moments that demonstrate unlimited love.

  7. I actually like Bluegrass music (love great harmony). Not so big on country but… That was so very sweet of Clay to do that for his "Papa". Memories like this one are locked in the heart forever. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  8. Thank you for the information about Bluegrass music!
    This is one of my favorite Clay concert moments of all time! I love it when you can hear Clay's "Papa" call out "Shine on" and "Go Clay go" Just priceless!
    Big thanks again to hosaa for making that wonderful video,

  9. I am so glad that he sang that song for his Papa before he passed. I am sure it means a lot to him for doing so. That was from his heart. Just beautiful.

  10. I love watching Clay sing to his "Papa". It is so touching. I have not listened to much Bluegrass music but I really enjoyed reading about its history. I think this video is one of my favorite things to watch because Clay shows so much love to his "Papa" while singing it. Clay does truly shine.

  11. Clay singing Beautiful Star for his Papa at that concert was so heartfelt. Loved the performance and your info on Bluegrass music was very interesting.
    Weren't uncles of Clay inducted into the Bluegrass Hall of Fame? Thought I had heard that somewhere.

  12. Oh what another beautiful memory. Thanks. I love to hear Clay sing this style music. So beautiful. I can listen to it over and over again.

    In his book, Learning to Sing, Clay does say 2 of his uncles, I believe, were musicians and song writers. Ys, I think they are in a hall of fame. Time to listen to the audio book again!

  13. This is one of my very favorite Christmas songs. Clay singing it was so very special I'm sure to his Papa as well as too all of us who got to listen!! It certainly is a moment in time to be remembered! I hope if he does another Christmas album this will be included. It could be as inspiring as Mary Did You Know….another favorite of mine. I hear it so often throughout the Christmas season on the radio but no body can sing that song like Clay!!

  14. That truely was a special night with a very special performance. We're so fortunate to have video of so many speical moments like this one thanks to Clay allowing his concerts to be video recorded.

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