Archive for December 22nd, 2013

GIFT WE WANT

The Nut Case from CB2.

HOLIDAY FIND

Give Yourself a Major Award – the Christmas Story Leg Lamp.

WAY TO GIVE BACK

Buy hand-woven goods from African artisans and support a family.

I love Christmas music and have been listening to as much as possible in recent days. There are some great new releases out this year, I love Kelly Clarkson’s Wrapped in Red and Miss Mary J. Blige’s A Mary Christmas, and my iPod is full of many other new and old favorites.

However, today I wanted to feature a few of my favorite Christmas albums from the past several years that are worth a listen and may not have received the same attention as some of the more mainstream releases.

Tinsel and Light (2012) by Tracey Thorn

TRACEYAbout Tinsel and Light by Tracey Thorn: “In 2012, Tracey Thorn followed her acclaimed 2010 album Love and Its Opposite with a brand-new Christmas album, Tinsel and Lights, featuring ten seasonal cover versions, two new original tracks, and Green from Scritti Politti. Produced by Ewan Pearson, Tinsel and Lights features Tracey’s rich vocals and contributions on guitar and piano. Her longtime partner, Ben Watt guests on guitar and piano on several tracks. Leo Taylor (Adele, Hot Chip) plays drums, Steve Pearce – who played on Everything But The Girl’s feted album, Idlewild – is on bass, while Pearson adds signature synths and electronics. Three tracks include orchestral arrangements by Nick Ingman. The LP version will include Tracey’s rendition of 25th December originally written and sung by Ben Watt on Everything But The Girl’s 1994 album Amplified Heart.”

DOWNLOAD: Joy

Tinsel and Light by Tracey Thorn is available in multiple formats from Amazon and other fine music retailers.

One More Drifter in the Snow (2006) by Aimee Mann

aimeeAbout One More Drifter in the Snow by Aimee Mann: “Grammy winner and Oscar nominee Aimee’s first Christmas album is a collection of holiday classics and two original, beautiful, and bittersweet songs written by Mann and Michael Penn. Reminiscent of classic albums of the 40’s and 50’s, but without any retro kitsch. Like Frank Sinatra, Johnny Mathis, and Peggy Lee, Aimee Mann captures the emotional beauty of Christmas.”

DOWNLOAD: Whatever Happened to Christmas

About One More Drifter in the Snow by Aimee Mann is available in multiple formats from Amazon and other fine music retailers.

A Christmas Cornucopia (2010) by Annie Lennox

ANNIEAbout A Christmas Cornucopia by Annie Lennox: “2010 holiday release from the Eurythmics vocalist, A Christmas Cornucopia is a collection of new, inspired interpretations of 11 traditional festive songs, rounded out by a new Lennox composition, Universal Child. The music on the album was mostly played by Lennox, in collaboration with co-producer Mike Stevens, and recorded in his southwest London studio – at the bottom of his garden. But to achieve the resonance and vibrancy that were integral to Lennox’s ideas for these re-energized reboots, the pair also worked with a 30-piece orchestra at Pinewood Studios. And they travelled further afield too: to South Africa, to record with the African Children’s Choir, a remarkable organization with which impassioned campaigner and activist Lennox has long had a relationship.”

DOWNLOAD: Universal Child

A Christmas Cornucopia by Annie Lennox is available in multiple formats from Amazon and other fine music retailers.

Midwinter Graces (2009) by Tori Amos

TORIAbout Midwinter Graces by Tori Amos: “After nearly two decades writing and recording some of her generation’s most emotionally powerful music, Tori Amos releases her first seasonal album, Midwinter Graces. A follow up to Tori’s critically acclaimed studio album, Abnormally Attracted To Sin, Midwinter Graces finds Tori reworking and expanding on classic carols as well as developing some of her very own seasonal tracks. For Midwinter Graces, Amos has again teamed up with long time collaborators Matt Chamberlain on drums, Jon Evans on bass, and Mac Aladdin on guitars. Tori has enlisted the help of a Big Band and an Orchestra with stunning John Philip Shenale arrangements to create Tori’s new seasonal classics.”

DOWNLOAD: Winter’s Carol

Midwinter Graces by Tori Amos is available in multiple formats from Amazon and other fine music retailers.