The holiday season is upon us (where did the year go?) and with that said, what is going to be on your holiday playlist?!?! Personally, my collection of holiday music covers a very large range of genres, artists and styles in order to keep those around me from going crazy when Jingle Bell Rock comes on for the umpteenth time. So, to get you in the holiday music mindset, here is my recommendation for an amazing holiday album that you should go out and purchase. It is the type of album that you will not get tired of listening to, even after the holidays have passed. You will enjoy these beautiful numbers throughout the entire winter and you will most likely become a diehard fan of this incredible band and all of their music repertoire. If you’re looking for a holiday gift for a great host/hostess, and the perfect album to bring to a family gathering, this is it.
I played Blood Oranges in the Snow throughout the holiday season last year, when it was first released. Each time people would ask about the band and comment on how beautiful the songs are that were playing. The songs on this album are a mixture of thought provoking lyrics that will encourage you to dig deep throughout the holidays and take a more introspective and reflective approach to the season. I will warn you now: this is not going to be the chipper upbeat Christmas caroling that plays throughout the shopping malls starting in early November. If you’re looking for that, this is not the album for you. The band refers to this album as “Reality Christmas” music. If you’re looking for a more somber beautiful sound that fills you with a sense of peace and tranquility despite at times pointing out the realities of life, then this is it. Here’s the title track: Blood Oranges in the Snow.
Now check out their song: First Snowfall!
This is a video of their live performance of this song on Audiotree Live and it is stellar.
The thing about Over the Rhine, is that not only do they sound incredible on their recordings, they’re even more enthralling when you see them perform live. I had the pleasure of seeing them perform a lot of their songs from this latest holiday album last year at the Barns at Wolf Trap and it was an unforgettable evening.
Over the Rhine, a talented folk duo from Ohio who is comprised of the husband and wife team of guitarist/bassist/pianist Linford Detweiler and vocalitst/guitarist Karin Berquist, has released three holiday albums since their entry into the music scene in 1991, and each one is just as beautiful in its own right. I encourage you to explore their other two albums as well, but for me, Blood Oranges in the Snow is by far my favorite. Their cover of Merle Haggard’s classic song (flashback to 1974) If We Make It Through December sealed the deal for me. It is one of my all time favorite songs for the holidays, and this rendition is absolutely worth of a listen. This song pulls at the heart strings with its honest take on the holidays and the increasing stress of not disappointing the ones you love, while trying to make ends meet. A sobering reality for many during this time of year, that many of us neglect to stop and comprehend if we’re lucky enough to not have to worry about that in our own lives. Check out Over the Rhine’s version: If We Make It Through December. They nailed it. Their voices provide just the right touch to this timeless number.
And finally…the big winner on this album, is a welcome addition to the kicking off the New Year playlist. A contender for following up Auld Lang Syne, is this hauntingly and insightful creation named New Year’s Song. As the holiday season kicks into high gear, I dedicate this song to all you music lovers out there.
“Let’s stay home and play old records…Our future’s bright, our past is checkered..What do you say we lift a glass, Toast the ghost of another year past…Just a little New Year’s song, Happy New Year everyone.
It came upon a midnight clear, Another brand new year…New mercy comes with every morning, The unexpected with no warning…For loved ones who’ve gone on before, Sing me Auld Lang Syne… New mercy comes with every morning, The unexpected with no warning…Let the dear ones you love know, You’ll miss them when you go…”
Over the Rhine is currently on tour and if they’re coming to a city near you, I strongly encourage you to see them perform live. You won’t regret it.
Falling in love with this album like I did? You can purchase it here: Blood Oranges in the Snow.
Visit Over the Rhine to learn more about these artists and the rest of their incredible music collection. Also, I really encourage you to join their mailing list! Linford Detweiler writes some very thought provoking letters to fans and I find myself looking forward to reading them everytime they arrive in my inbox. The pictures they share of their home in Ohio, the beautiful scenery, and the beautiful new barn venue they built for use as a recording and performance venue are breathtaking.
Linford and Karin, I look forward to seeing you perform again soon and visiting your new barn space is definitely on my bucket list. I was sad to miss last year’s Memorial Day celebration for its ribbon cutting. Thank you for the gift of your music. Until then…