Jed Marum,
(Boston Road, 2011)

I reviewed this album on a cold wet and windy Irish evening in late November, and I thank Jed for transporting me from that mood and place to another.

The place he took me to on this atmospheric album was a snow-covered Appalachian mountain, where a community was getting into a faithful, festive and neighbourly Christmas mood, and I was invited in.

Nine of the 10 offerings on this CD will be very familiar, but be prepared to be amused and amazed by how songs we associate with cathedrals, soaring orchestras and massed choral voices take on a new life.

We have become so familiar with the more commercial renditions of songs like "Silent Night" and "Away in a Manger" that we forget their roots and origins. While many of our Christmas favourites came from the classical music world, others came from the rustic and were originally intended to be sung in a home or a small, unlit, unheated and certainly "orchestraless" church.

Marum and friends takes us back to that stripped-down version of even high church hymns like "Joy to the World" and "Oh Come All Ye Faithful." He brings us back to those days of carol singing on a winter street by often untrained but natural singers with just a guitar accompaniment. The words and the sentiments get to live once more.

I particularly like his rendition of "Oh Come Emmanuel," as it brought us the well-enunciated message of the season.

A big plus on this album is the evocative musical intros on the tracks that truly set the mood and in some instances could be tracks in themselves.

Jed Marum has produced a wonderful soundtrack to what I hope will be for you and for many a beautiful, fun, family, peaceful Christmas this year and in all your years to come.

music review by
Nicky Rossiter

3 December 2011

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