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Christmas Music Playlists with Sarah Mclachlan Songs
Forever Fumbling Towards Festive Ecstasy
Canada’s Sarah McLachlan has won Grammy’s, Juno’s and sold almost 50 million records so is it any wonder that her Christmas output would be anything less than magical. Her Christmas album would arrive in 2006 but before that she duetted on ‘God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen/We Three Kings’ with Ed Robertson of Barenaked Ladies for his band’s 2003 LP ‘Barenaked For The Holidays’. The stripped back acoustic version of this old standard definitely benefited from McLachlan’s distinct voice, identifying her of as a singer capable of conveying true emotion. McLachlan would also record ‘I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day’ for a 2006 compilation called ‘Do You Hear What I Hear?’ It didn’t appear on any of her official recordings but also turned up on a 2007 compilation from the coffee chain Starbucks called ‘Stockings By The Fire’. With an orchestral backdrop and McLachlan’s lonely yet earthy vocals this was one of the 1846 carols’ most memorable renditions.
2006 saw the release of McLachlan’s Christmas album called ‘Wintersong’, a release that warmed the cockles of Christmas music fans the world over. And that anticipation was justified by the special recordings that emerged. From the off McLachlan gave a bright new sheen to John Lennon’s ‘Happy Xmas (War is Over)’, which included a children’s choir, in a version that sounded like a proper contemporary reworking. Elsewhere she spirited Joni Mitchell’s ‘River’ from its acoustic leanings to a low ebbed electric base. McLachlan’s vocals were so pronounced it almost feels like she is performing it in the room beside you. And that is what so characterised ‘Wintersong’, a home-cooked natural sound that gives old favourites like ‘I’ll Be Home For Christmas’, ‘Silent Night’ and ‘Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas’ an even more accessible feel. Her version of Gordon Lightfoot’s ‘Song For A Winter’s Night’ is no less magical and when she is joined by Diana Krall on Vince Guaraldi’s ‘Christmas Time Is Here’ you begin to realise that ‘Wintersong’ is as close to a modern Christmas classic that you’ll find.
Building on the success of her Christmas album ‘Live from Etown: 2006 Christmas Special’ was a live recording of several of Sarah’s track from ‘Wintersong’ that was released in January 2007 when it was still winter but not quite Christmas. Sarah would return to the season in 2011 for a collaboration she recorded with students from her School of Music. ‘Space On The Couch For Two’ was an earnest recording that may have lacked the immediacy of her ‘Wintersong’ collection but with all proceeds going to charity it was hard to argue with its motivation. McLachlan repeated the trick at Christmas 2012 when ‘Find Your Voice’ also featured lots of participants from her music project.Author: Kevin