The12 Roots Songs of Christmas- #6   2 comments

Tonight I am quite excited. This evening was my school’s Christmas concert, one of my favourite evenings of the school year. Being in a new community, everything was new this time out and it was wonderful to meet so many people. And the kids did an amazing job. I love being part of such a celebration of the arts and youthful talent.

I am also excited because I get to write about Maria Dunn. My Roots Music Song of the Day is a double-sided (if it was ever released as a 45, which it wasn’t) wonder from Maria’s amazing For a Song album.

I’ve written about Maria many times in the past, including here and here, not to mention here. For a Song was one of my favourite roots albums of the aughts, coming in at number three. When writing about Maria Dunn, I always feel that I am going overboard, but I’m not- she is that good. As I wrote in 2009: “I can’t say much more about Maria Dunn than I already have. She is a tremendous writer, one who bridges old world charm with modern trials and situations. I have seen her live more times than I can count, and she always sparkles. …For a Song remains my favourite album although it may not be her best. The songs just wash over me, and her voice- with just a hint of the Old Country punctuating each phrase- is beautiful. Defying classification as adeptly as Van Morrison and Sinead O’Conner, Dunn produced a compelling album of ballads that entwined her influences within a lush, invigorating tapestry. Find her music.”

untitledI love everything she does, and two songs from For a Song have become among my favourite Christmas songs, even though only one of them is actually aChristmas song.

The first is the song that closes the disc, “God Bless Us Everyone.” The Christmas Carol Project is a long-running Edmonton-based production and “God Bless Us Everyone” is Maria’s standout contribution. Maria’s accordion, Andy Illig’s guitar, and especially Shannon Johnson’s violin create a slightly mystical soundtrack for her lyrics. Let us not become cynical and jaded:

“When the world is feeling cold and the sky more grey than blue,

and the snow it seems to fall heavy heartedly on you.

Time to count your blessings though seemingly but few-

time to take a look at what’s within and without you.

For health is more than walking,

and wealth much more than gold.

But kindness overwhelming as a gentle hand to hold.”

Take that, you foul-hearted, arrogant souls!

For me, the song nicely packages all that Christmas should be and seldom is- a time for remembrance and appreciation for blessings held and given. I’ve never seen The Christmas Carol Project  and wouldn’t you know it- the year I move from Red Deer, they show up in town for a performance December 20, which is Thursday. There is a video clip on the Christmas Carol Project website, with Bill Bourne as Scrooge and Maria as Tiny Tim. “God Bless Us Everyone” can be heard at Maria’s CBC Radio page; just scroll down the playlist.

The second song from For A Song I wish to mention is the gorgeous “Whiskey Evening.” Now, that is Christmas…albeit in a bit of a different way- compansionship, even when separated, a lovely drink, and a sense of contentment and security; that we should all feel this way at Christmas. “Whiskey Evening” is also on the CBC Radio Playlist, which is a place to explore when you’ve got ten or thirty hours to spare. All kinds of things to discover.

cbcMy non-roots Christmas song of the day is “Christmas Time is Here,” the instrumental version by the Vince Guaraldi Trio from A harlie Brown Christmas. This has grown on my over the years, as has jazz in general.

Many thanks for visiting me at Fervor Coulee. Donald


2 responses to “The12 Roots Songs of Christmas- #6

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  1. Hi Don,
    Thanks for your well written columns.
    I, too, am a big fan of Maria’s and played her music on my folk show at kbcs whenever possible. I have only seen her 5 or 6 times including the Vancouver Folk Music Festival and last year at The Cultch with the Christmas Carol Project. Keep up the good work.
    Dru Druzianich

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