‘Tis the season for many things…including and especially new holiday music…and that can be a lovely thing indeed. Mary Chapin Carpenter’s new Christmas album is a soothing, stripped down, reflective affair featuring three musicians Carpenter herself (with acoustic guitar and her luminous and honeyed vocals), Jon Carroll (on piano), and co-producer John Jennings (on everything else…including bass, acoustic and electric guitars, drums, percussion, accordion, piano, and harmony vocals.)
The 12 songs on the disc…a mixture of original songs, found songs, and traditional songs…are soothing, reverent, and moving. From the opening “Once in Royal David’s City” to the love song “Hot Buttered Rum”…from Carpenter’s lilting title song to the bittersweet “Bells are Ringing” (co-written with Jennings…see below) to the closing with the traditional “Children, Go Where I Send Thee”…there is not a misstep on this fine collection.
Come Darkness, Come Light would be a lovely soundtrack for a cool winter’s evening…perhaps snuggled by a fire while sipping hot cider…it’s a sweetly mellow Christmas collection and a most welcome addition to my ever-burgeoning collection of holiday CDs.