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Through the Bitter Frost & Snow

4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 14, 1997
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

This thematic collection of songs about winter and Christmas finds McKeown beginning to realize the potential that peeked out at irregular intervals on her last full-length effort (Bones, Prime CD PCD-027). Now that the focus is primarily on her voice and on the muscular but sensitive bass playing of Lindsey Horner, things are a bit lighter and jazzier, especially on "Winter King" and the lovely "Bold Orion," which includes an out-of-place but strangely satisfying electric guitar solo. "Green Grow'th the Holly" is a 15th-century English Christmas song that McKeown delivers in gorgeous multi-tracked three-part harmony. But the album's centerpiece is the stark and beautiful voice-and-bass rendition of "Auld Lang Syne" that had NPR's phones ringing off the hook when McKeown and Horner performed it during a New Year's Eve broadcast. This is a perfect disc to play while sitting by the fire with a loved one on a frigid winter night-not because it's romantic, exactly,! but because it lets you feel alternately the severity of winter and the warmth of the Christmas season's promise, all without leaving your living room. A remarkable album. - Rick Anderson

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Anyone who lives in snow country can appreciate the stark but fascinating landscapes Susan McKeown and Lindsey Horner conjure up in this jazzy folk-rock amalgam that traverses the stars ("Bold Orion") and the biting solitary expanses of the title track. Still there's an uncanny warmth and longing in the voices, the truncated harmonies, and the resonating bass line, the bass often serving as a lead instrument in "Song for Forgetting," for example. McKeown and Horner have managed to create a highly distinctive record of wintry exploration that mixes traditional British Isles folk singing and jazz phrasing while embracing familiar fare such as "Coventry Carol," "Auld Lang Syne" (almost dirgelike), and "Green Grow'th the Holly." No stranger to melancholy, the record will have a disquieting affect. But it will also please and intrigue with its bittersweet sadness and ironic arrangements for anyone willing to acquire such a beguiling taste of the dark month of Christmas. --Martin Keller

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Product details

  • Audio CD (October 14, 1997)
  • Original Release Date: October 14, 1997
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: 1-800 Prime CD
  • ASIN: B0000035L8
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #461,256 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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June 7, 2009
Format: Audio CD|Verified Purchase
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December 5, 2009
Format: Audio CD|Verified Purchase
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December 8, 2006
Format: Audio CD
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July 21, 1998
Format: Audio CD
8 people found this helpful
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