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Holly Happy Days
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For me the highlight of the album is "Peace Child," with words by a New Zealand writer and an arrangement by Don Saliers, who plays the piano for the piece. With timely words, a beautiful arrangement and instrumentation, and unforgettable harmonies, this is heart-changing music, a song that can be listened to in any season. The album also includes my favorite carol, "In the Bleak Midwinter," which ends with an intricate reprise of the last verse that makes it fresh. The versions of "O Holy Night" and "Angels We Have Heard on High" have creative arrangements of the familiar refrains, with Brandi Carlile joining in the harmony, as she does on a number of the songs.
Amy and Emily each wrote songs for the album, and they fit comfortably in this collection. There is also a memorable version of Pete Seeger's "Happy Joyous Hannukkuh," with Janis Ian and Mary Gauthier joining in. As usual for the Indigo Girls, the progression of songs on the album is carefully considered. The first song is a rousing blue-grass piece, "I Feel the Christmas Spirit." The record proceeds with alternating quiet and vigorous music, sacred and secular pieces. It ends--perfectly--with the reflective "There's Still My Joy."
Given how inspiring this album is in October, I think people who love holiday music will find it an important addition to their collections.
The set opens with a rousing bluegrass song (I feel the Christmas spirit) that first appeared on the Isaacs' first Christmas album, Christmas Spirit. I was very impressed by that album, but it is now out of print and hard to find. I guess that song is the most obscure cover here, but another obscure cover (It really is a wonderful life) follows it. Chely Wright wrote this song for Mindy Smith's Christmas album My Holiday. Two other relatively obscure covers are featured later, these being a Woody Guthrie song (Happy joyous Hanukkah) that Pete Seeger also covered, and a Melissa Manchester song (There's still my joy) that has also been covered by a few others.
The Indigo Girls wrote three songs for the album, one by Emily (Your holiday song) and two by Amy (Mistletoe, The wonder song), Among the traditional songs featured, only two (O holy night, I'll be home for Christmas) could be described as staples of American Christmas albums. Two others (In the bleak midwinter, Angels we have heard on high) should also be familiar, but the other traditional song (Peace child) is a rarity - at least to me, and I've listened to a lot of Christmas albums.Read more ›
"I Feel the Holiday Spirit" has a fine bluegrass flavor; and the music fits in perfectly with their vocals. The musical interlude is particularly well done and everything put together makes this a strong opening number for the album. "It Really Is (A Wonderful Life)" by Chely Wright features them slowing down the pace; the mellow feel along with those very happy lyrics is instantly easy on the ear, to say the least. I love it! The guitar enhances the arrangement all the more, too. "O Holy Night" showcases Amy and Emily's ability to take a classic Christmas song and breathe fresh life into it with a creative, genuinely passionate performance; even if you're not a fan of traditional holiday music I think you'll enjoy this track.
"Your Holiday Song," written by Emily, uses key modulations for a great effect as they sing this to perfection--and beyond! They never let go of a single superfluous note and that's grand. "I'll Be Home for Christmas," my very favorite holiday song, never sounded so good; they convey all the subtle nuances of all the emotions in the lyrics and they make this shine like never before. Their treatment of "I'll Be Home for Christmas" is easily my new favorite version of this poignant ballad.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is now my favorite Christmas CD. The harmony is fantastic and the voices are angelicPublished 2 months ago by apope2
One of my favorites! Love the mix of traditional and non-traditional songs. Amy and Emily are probably my favorite band, this is a great addition to my collection!Published 7 months ago by Donna Flood-Amaya
Some original Christmas selection, digital copy came with a PDF of album art work.Published 7 months ago by Morphious
I had to own this. The haunting, soulful, mesmerizing last song titled “There’s Still My Joy” is the theme for a must view new Masterpiece TV series “HOME FIRES”, a series about a... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Harold Wolf
I love love love this album. The kinds of quality harmonies, lyrics, and overal musicianship you expect from Indigo Girls. Some of the originals will have you dancing. Read morePublished 15 months ago by GDC
Its awesome when your favorite band continues to produce amazing and thoughtful music year after year. Great item! Read morePublished on June 22, 2014 by Brie
Great harmonies and arrangements, some new originals, one of the first ones I play at the start of the season. Highly recommended.Published on February 8, 2014 by ariabach