Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Autumn Celebrations: gift ideas

Autumn: with the turning of seasons come times for gathering with friends, family celebrations, planning for a celebrating holidays large and small, travels, time for quiet reflection -- and time for music.

Music makes a fine companion for any of these activities, whether you are looking for holiday gifts to give or music for yourself to listen to. Are you preparing for those big holidays -- Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice? It’s never too early. The small circumstances are just as worthy of celebration, as well. Gifts to give and gifts to receive: here are musical ideas for you to explore early in this holiday season:

Cathie Ryan’s recording Through Wind and Rain will make a fine gift for those who enjoy good stories thoughtfully told, as Ryan traces a journey through the dark and light of life with always thread of hope and resilience and faith weaving into the tales. She is first generation Irish American. She has spent time living in both countries, and makes music that respects and connects them, offered with voice and style which invite listeners in. Every song is a keeper, and sequenced in a journey worth the following. If you’ve just a short time to check out the music, though, standout tracks include Fare Thee Well, Mo Nion O, and In the Wishing Well.

Kathy Mattea knows a thing or two about storytelling, too. On Calling Me Home, the country Grammy winner and West Virginia native follows her calling to the heart of mountain music, songs sung in her own way which add to the tradition she respects. This, too, is an album where it is really worth following the sequence as it’s told. If you want to take a quick listen, though, try A Far Cry, The Wood Thrush’s Song, and Hello, My Name Is Coal.

Tim O’Brien is one of the guests on Mattea’s album, and he’s also teamed up with old friend Darrell Scott for a rockin; ramblin’ hot pickin’ set of of country blues, bluegrass, Americana songs. recorded live at the Grey Eagle in Asheville, North Carolina. In a nod to the duo’s wry humor, it’s called We're Usually A Lot Better Than This.Standout tracks include Mick Ryan’s Lament, Keep Your Lamp Trimmed and Burning, and White Freightliner Blues.

Singer Mary Jane Lamond and fiddle player Wendy MacIsaac make a fine duo as well, joining forces to bring a collection of music from Cape Breton in Atlantic Canada on Seinn an album that shares the tang of salt spray and the mystery of Maritime forests, and honors the dance based fiddle music of the place along with its long heritage of Scottish Gaelic culture. Two standout cuts are Keeping Up with Calum and Seudan a’ Chuain/Jewels of the Ocean.

As the autumn and winter season unfolds, treat yourself to listening to these, and stay tuned here along the music road for holiday gift suggestions to come -- and check out our archives too!

you may also wish to see

Best Music, 2011

holiday gift list: Irish music

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posted by Kerry Dexter at

1 Comments:

Blogger Vera Marie said...

Thanks for these good suggestions. You've given me a great idea--to give my sister an album of music from Cape Breton to remember our trip there a year ago.

7:54 PM  

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