Blackmore's Night,
Winter Carols
(Locomotive, 2006)

The angelic voice of Candice Night is the package and the lush rock-orchestral sounds of Deep Purple's Ritchie Blackmore are the wrapping that make Winter Carols an exquisite Christmas gift.

Granted, this new CD from Blackmore's Night will not be to everyone's taste. Some folks prefer the traditional carols as they have been sung and performed for generations. Others would rather listen to modern Christmas songs that are less about the season, more about the laughs. (And believe me, I can listen to most of those novelty jingles no more than once per season; they have no shelf life.)

Winter Carols succeeds by taking traditional carols and reinventing them with a modern sound. Candice's vocals are just lovely, and the full production on Ritchie's arrangements never overwhelms her delicate voice. Combined, they instill some excitement in music that too often is performed lethargically.

Traditional tracks include "Hark the Herald Angels Sing/Come All Ye Faithful," "I Saw Three Ships," "Ding Dong Merrily on High," "We Three Kings" and "We Wish You a Merry Christmas." There are a few original tracks, which are good, but nothing I expect to become holiday standards.

Candice, besides vocals, is responsible for pennywhistle, shawm and recorder, while Ritchie plays guitar, mandola, nyckelharpa, hurdygurdy and percussion. They're joined by Pat Regan on keyboards and orchestral arrangements, and The Sisters of the Moon (Madeline and Nancy) provide harmony vocals.

If you love traditional carols and enjoy a modern sound, add this one to your collection this year.

by Tom Knapp
23 December 2006

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