Various – Snow Angels
Rolling ten days deep on this xMas Playlist! This is a Compass Records release from 1996 that I bought at the time because of the Joan Osborne song – I’ll get to that in a little bit, so hold your one sleigh open horses. Compass touts their production partner Hear Music as a “long-standing champion of the singer-songwriter…” and most of the album falls into that category, with some alt-folk thrown into the mix.
I’ll admit that my knowledge of most of these acts is limited to this CD. Dave’s True Story delivers a great voice-and-strings jazz rendition of “Winter Wonderland” that starts with Kelly Flint singing the opening verse a cappella. It’s a very pretty take on this old classic and the guest trumpet by none other than Chris Botti adds a nice flourish.
As much as I enjoy most xMas music, I’m looking forward to not hearing “The Little Drummer Boy” for eleven months! Nothing against Louise Taylor’s lovely take on the song here, but I just can’t handle much more pa-rum-pa-pum-pum without pouring a hi-ball full of pa-rum-pa-rum-rum. Pierce Pettis contributes his original “Miriam,” a sort of alternate take on the messiah myth.
Okay, I mentioned Joan Osborne at the top of this thing and let me tell you, if you only know her as a one-hit wonder thanks to “One Of Us,” you’re missing out on a powerfully versatile female vocalist with a lot more to offer than that one cut. Here she does a full-on a cappella version of “Children, Go Where I Send Thee” that is straight gospel. She soars and swoops through the verses with no accompaniment but some finger-snaps and tapping feet. As stripped down as this is, it is far and away the best and most powerful cut on the disc.
There are some great tracks on the remainder of the disc from Laurie Sargent, Carrie Curtis, and Grace Griffith. Boston-based singers Jim Infantino and Jonatha Brooke do a nice – if brief, at under two minutes – version of “The Holly And The Ivy.”
Overall, this is a low-key, mostly acoustic affair with some interesting renditions mixed in with traditional arrangements. Again, it’s worth seeking out for that Joan Osborne track alone, but the whole album is pretty enjoyable.
Thank you for reading!
Tune in for tomorrow for the next installment in the 12 Days Of xMas Music.
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Until next time, keep those discs spinning. Merry Christmas and all the rest…