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Sarah McLachlan|Wintersong

Wintersong

Sarah McLachlan

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Because no artist's career is truly complete without a holiday album, Sarah McLachlan took yet another step toward establishing her place in sentimental adult contemporary radio history with Wintersong. For the most part, the singer chooses the darker, more melancholic, and "wintry" pieces to cover (there's no "Joy to the World" or "Angels We Have Heard on High," for example), focusing as much on the Christmas season and the general feel of the holiday as on its religious connotations. She brings together the folk spiritual "Mary Mary" -- also called "Virgin Mary" when covered by Joan Baez on her 1966 Noël or "Mary What You Gonna Call That Pretty Little Baby" when a black gospel song -- and the traditional "The First Noel," showing off not only her own impressive range but her ability to adapt to different vocal styles while still remaining wholly herself. Her version of Gordon Lightfoot's "Song for a Winter's Night," which was originally released on the 1994 Miracle on 34th Street soundtrack (and then on McLachlan's Rarities, B-Sides & Other Stuff), is pretty and sweet, using as acoustic guitar as well as layers and layers of vocal harmonies to create a sense of space and warmth, and her cover of Joni Mitchell's "River" is lovely, too, using a guitar and arpeggiated synths to push the song sadly along. The synths, in fact, are used frequently on Wintersong, sometimes in their string form on "O Little Town of Bethlehem" or "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," which works nicely, but more often as slightly new agey background effects that get a little tedious, especially considering the fact McLachlan has always been able to carry herself on more organic instrumentation, and sound good doing it, too. She does manage to just stick to only the sad, reflective piano chords on which she has earned her living -- nice in their simplicity -- on the title track, the one original song on the album, which sounds a lot, both thematically and musically, like "River," using Christmas as a way to contemplate a lover ("And this is how I see you/In the snow on Christmas morning..../Oh I miss you now, my love, merry Christmas," she sings). McLachlan's voice sounds great, and her interpretations stick pretty close to the originals while still expressing her own artistic individuality (with the exception of "What Child Is This [Greensleeves]," in which she goes too far, taking liberties with the melody and changing the song too much); but in making everything so soft and ethereal, instead of increasing their poignancy (which is certainly a goal of hers), she kills some of the songs' immediacy and power, unfortunately rendering Wintersong a little lifeless, albeit soothing, at the end.
© Marisa Brown /TiVo

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Wintersong

Sarah McLachlan

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1
Happy Xmas (War Is Over)
Sarah McLachlan featuring The Sarah McLachlan Music Outreach Children's Choir and Youth Choir
00:03:27

John Lennon, Composer - John Lennon, Lyricist - Pierre Marchand, Engineer - Pierre Marchand, Programmer - Pierre Marchand, Keyboards - Pierre Marchand, Synthesizer - Pierre Marchand, Mixing Engineer - Pierre Marchand, Producer - Pierre Marchand, Strings - Jim Creegan, Bass - Yoko Ono, Composer - Yoko Ono, Lyricist - Bob Doidge, Recording Engineer - Bill Dillon, Acoustic Baritone Guitar - Bill Dillon, Electric Guitar - Bill Dillon, Mandolin - Bill Dillon, Acoustic Bass - Colin Cripps, Dobro - Colin Cripps, Guitar - Ashwin Sood, Drums - Ashwin Sood, Percussion - Mark Howard, Recording Engineer - Dan Okano, 2nd Engineer - Sarah McLachlan, Harp - Sarah McLachlan, Vocal - Sarah McLachlan, Piano - Sarah McLachlan, Strings - Sarah McLachlan, Dobro - Chris Potter, Recording Engineer - Chris Potter, Engineer - Chris Potter, Mixing Engineer - Vince J. Mai, Trumpet - Vince J. Mai, Flugelhorn - Sarah McLachlan featuring The Sarah McLachlan Music Outreach Children's Choir and Youth Choir, Performer - Daryl Johnson, Acoustic Bass

(P) 2006 Arista Records, LLC

2
What Child Is This? (Greensleeves)
Sarah McLachlan
00:03:30

Pierre Marchand, Synthesizer - Pierre Marchand, Engineer - Pierre Marchand, Producer - Pierre Marchand, Programmer - Pierre Marchand, Keyboards - Pierre Marchand, Strings - Pierre Marchand, Arranger - Pierre Marchand, Mixing Engineer - Jim Creegan, Bass - Bob Doidge, Recording Engineer - Bill Dillon, Acoustic Baritone Guitar - Bill Dillon, Mandolin - Bill Dillon, Acoustic Bass - Bill Dillon, Electric Guitar - Colin Cripps, Dobro - Colin Cripps, Guitar - Ashwin Sood, Percussion - Ashwin Sood, Drums - Mark Howard, Recording Engineer - Sarah McLachlan, Vocal - Sarah McLachlan, Strings - Sarah McLachlan, Dobro - Sarah McLachlan, Performer - Sarah McLachlan, Harp - Sarah McLachlan, Piano - Sarah McLachlan, Arranger - Chris Potter, Engineer - Chris Potter, Mixing Engineer - Vince J. Mai, Flugelhorn - Vince J. Mai, Trumpet - Traditional, Lyricist - Traditional, Composer - Daryl Johnson, Acoustic Bass

(P) 2006 Arista Records, LLC

3
River
Sarah McLachlan
00:04:02

Pierre Marchand, Programmer - Pierre Marchand, Producer - Pierre Marchand, Engineer - Pierre Marchand, Synthesizer - Pierre Marchand, Mixing Engineer - Pierre Marchand, Keyboards - Pierre Marchand, Strings - Jim Creegan, Bass - Bob Doidge, Recording Engineer - Bill Dillon, Acoustic Bass - Bill Dillon, Acoustic Baritone Guitar - Bill Dillon, Electric Guitar - Bill Dillon, Mandolin - Colin Cripps, Guitar - Colin Cripps, Dobro - Ashwin Sood, Percussion - Ashwin Sood, Drums - Mark Howard, Recording Engineer - Chris Potter, Mixing Engineer - Chris Potter, Engineer - Sarah McLachlan, Harp - Sarah McLachlan, Dobro - Sarah McLachlan, Strings - Sarah McLachlan, Piano - Sarah McLachlan, Performer - Sarah McLachlan, Vocal - Vince J. Mai, Trumpet - Vince J. Mai, Flugelhorn - Joni Mitchell, Lyricist - Joni Mitchell, Composer - Daryl Johnson, Acoustic Bass

(P) 2006 Arista Records, LLC

4
Wintersong
Sarah McLachlan
00:03:30

Pierre Marchand, Programmer - Pierre Marchand, Arranger - Pierre Marchand, Lyricist - Pierre Marchand, Strings - Pierre Marchand, Engineer - Pierre Marchand, Keyboards - Pierre Marchand, Composer - Pierre Marchand, Synthesizer - Pierre Marchand, Producer - Pierre Marchand, Mixing Engineer - Jim Creegan, Bass - Bob Doidge, Recording Engineer - Bill Dillon, Mandolin - Bill Dillon, Electric Guitar - Bill Dillon, Acoustic Baritone Guitar - Bill Dillon, Acoustic Bass - Colin Cripps, Guitar - Colin Cripps, Dobro - Ashwin Sood, Drums - Ashwin Sood, Percussion - Mark Howard, Recording Engineer - Sarah McLachlan, Lyricist - Sarah McLachlan, Piano - Sarah McLachlan, Composer - Sarah McLachlan, Performer - Sarah McLachlan, Dobro - Sarah McLachlan, Strings - Sarah McLachlan, Harp - Sarah McLachlan, Vocal - Chris Potter, Mixing Engineer - Chris Potter, Engineer - Vince J. Mai, Trumpet - Vince J. Mai, Flugelhorn - Daryl Johnson, Acoustic Bass

(P) 2006 Arista Records, LLC

5
I'll Be Home for Christmas
Sarah McLachlan
00:03:14

Pierre Marchand, Keyboards - Pierre Marchand, Engineer - Pierre Marchand, Producer - Pierre Marchand, Mixing Engineer - Pierre Marchand, Programmer - Pierre Marchand, Strings - Pierre Marchand, Synthesizer - Jim Creegan, Bass - Kim Gannon, Lyricist - Kim Gannon, Composer - Bob Doidge, Recording Engineer - Bill Dillon, Electric Guitar - Bill Dillon, Acoustic Baritone Guitar - Bill Dillon, Acoustic Bass - Bill Dillon, Mandolin - Colin Cripps, Dobro - Colin Cripps, Guitar - Ashwin Sood, Percussion - Ashwin Sood, Drums - Mark Howard, Recording Engineer - Sarah McLachlan, Performer - Sarah McLachlan, Dobro - Sarah McLachlan, Strings - Sarah McLachlan, Vocal - Sarah McLachlan, Piano - Sarah McLachlan, Harp - Chris Potter, Engineer - Chris Potter, Mixing Engineer - Vince J. Mai, Flugelhorn - Vince J. Mai, Trumpet - Buck Ram, Composer - Buck Ram, Lyricist - Daryl Johnson, Acoustic Bass - Walter Kent, Composer - Walter Kent, Lyricist

(P) 2006 Arista Records, LLC

6
O Little Town of Bethlehem
Sarah McLachlan
00:03:50

Pierre Marchand, Programmer - Pierre Marchand, Engineer - Pierre Marchand, Mixing Engineer - Pierre Marchand, Synthesizer - Pierre Marchand, Producer - Pierre Marchand, Keyboards - Pierre Marchand, Arranger - Pierre Marchand, Strings - Pierre Marchand, Performer - Jeremy Lubbock, Arranger - Charlie Paakkari, Recording Engineer - Jim Creegan, Bass - Bob Doidge, Recording Engineer - Bill Dillon, Electric Guitar - Bill Dillon, Mandolin - Bill Dillon, Acoustic Bass - Bill Dillon, Acoustic Baritone Guitar - Colin Cripps, Guitar - Colin Cripps, Dobro - Ashwin Sood, Percussion - Ashwin Sood, Drums - Mark Howard, Recording Engineer - Chris Potter, Mixing Engineer - Chris Potter, Engineer - Sarah McLachlan, Piano - Sarah McLachlan, Arranger - Sarah McLachlan, Vocal - Sarah McLachlan, Performer - Sarah McLachlan, Strings - Sarah McLachlan, Dobro - Sarah McLachlan, Harp - Vince J. Mai, Trumpet - Vince J. Mai, Flugelhorn - Traditional, Lyricist - Traditional, Composer - John Kurlander, Engineer - Daryl Johnson, Acoustic Bass

(P) 2006 Arista Records, LLC

7
The First Noel / Mary Mary
Sarah McLachlan
00:04:59

Pierre Marchand, Synthesizer - Pierre Marchand, Arranger - Pierre Marchand, Strings - Pierre Marchand, Mixing Engineer - Pierre Marchand, Engineer - Pierre Marchand, Keyboards - Pierre Marchand, Programmer - Pierre Marchand, Producer - Jim Creegan, Bass - Bob Doidge, Recording Engineer - Bill Dillon, Electric Guitar - Bill Dillon, Acoustic Baritone Guitar - Bill Dillon, Acoustic Bass - Bill Dillon, Mandolin - Colin Cripps, Guitar - Colin Cripps, Dobro - Ashwin Sood, Percussion - Ashwin Sood, Drums - Mark Howard, Recording Engineer - Sarah McLachlan, Performer - Sarah McLachlan, Strings - Sarah McLachlan, Arranger - Sarah McLachlan, Harp - Sarah McLachlan, Vocal - Sarah McLachlan, Dobro - Sarah McLachlan, Piano - Chris Potter, Engineer - Chris Potter, Mixing Engineer - Traditional, Composer - Traditional, Lyricist - Vince J. Mai, Trumpet - Vince J. Mai, Flugelhorn - Daryl Johnson, Acoustic Bass

(P) 2006 Arista Records, LLC

8
Silent Night
Sarah McLachlan
00:03:48

Pierre Marchand, Synthesizer - Pierre Marchand, Arranger - Pierre Marchand, Strings - Pierre Marchand, Keyboards - Pierre Marchand, Engineer - Pierre Marchand, Producer - Pierre Marchand, Mixing Engineer - Pierre Marchand, Programmer - Jim Creegan, Bass - Bob Doidge, Recording Engineer - Bill Dillon, Acoustic Baritone Guitar - Bill Dillon, Acoustic Bass - Bill Dillon, Electric Guitar - Bill Dillon, Mandolin - Colin Cripps, Guitar - Colin Cripps, Dobro - Ashwin Sood, Percussion - Ashwin Sood, Drums - Mark Howard, Recording Engineer - Sarah McLachlan, Vocal - Sarah McLachlan, Performer - Sarah McLachlan, Arranger - Sarah McLachlan, Strings - Sarah McLachlan, Piano - Sarah McLachlan, Harp - Sarah McLachlan, Dobro - Chris Potter, Mixing Engineer - Chris Potter, Engineer - Traditional, Composer - Traditional, Lyricist - Vince J. Mai, Trumpet - Vince J. Mai, Flugelhorn - Daryl Johnson, Acoustic Bass

(P) 2006 Arista Records, LLC

9
Song for a Winter's Night
Sarah McLachlan
00:03:48

Pierre Marchand, Producer - Pierre Marchand, Keyboards - Gary Pacheco, Producer - Steve Bartels, Producer - Gordon Lightfoot, Composer - Gordon Lightfoot, Lyricist - David Kershaw, Keyboards - Ashwin Sood, Percussion - Luke Doucet, Guitar - David Sinclair, Guitar - Sarah McLachlan, Arranger - Sarah McLachlan, Vocal - Sarah McLachlan, Performer - Brian Minato, Acoustic Bass

(P) 1994 Arista Records LLC

10
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
Sarah McLachlan
00:03:43

Pierre Marchand, Mixing Engineer - Pierre Marchand, Strings - Pierre Marchand, Keyboards - Pierre Marchand, Programmer - Pierre Marchand, Engineer - Pierre Marchand, Synthesizer - Pierre Marchand, Producer - Jim Creegan, Bass - Bob Doidge, Recording Engineer - Bill Dillon, Acoustic Bass - Bill Dillon, Acoustic Baritone Guitar - Bill Dillon, Electric Guitar - Bill Dillon, Mandolin - Colin Cripps, Guitar - Colin Cripps, Dobro - Ashwin Sood, Percussion - Ashwin Sood, Drums - Mark Howard, Recording Engineer - Ralph Blane, Composer - Ralph Blane, Lyricist - Chris Potter, Engineer - Chris Potter, Mixing Engineer - Sarah McLachlan, Strings - Sarah McLachlan, Piano - Sarah McLachlan, Performer - Sarah McLachlan, Dobro - Sarah McLachlan, Harp - Sarah McLachlan, Vocal - Vince J. Mai, Trumpet - Vince J. Mai, Flugelhorn - Hugh Martin, Lyricist - Hugh Martin, Composer - Daryl Johnson, Acoustic Bass

(P) 2006 RCA Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

11
In a Bleak Mid Winter
Sarah McLachlan
00:03:46

Pierre Marchand, Strings - Pierre Marchand, Engineer - Pierre Marchand, Synthesizer - Pierre Marchand, Programmer - Pierre Marchand, Keyboards - Pierre Marchand, Mixing Engineer - Pierre Marchand, Producer - Pierre Marchand, Arranger - Jim Creegan, Bass - Bob Doidge, Recording Engineer - Bill Dillon, Electric Guitar - Bill Dillon, Mandolin - Bill Dillon, Acoustic Baritone Guitar - Bill Dillon, Acoustic Bass - Colin Cripps, Dobro - Colin Cripps, Guitar - Ashwin Sood, Drums - Ashwin Sood, Percussion - Mark Howard, Recording Engineer - Sarah McLachlan, Harp - Sarah McLachlan, Arranger - Sarah McLachlan, Vocal - Sarah McLachlan, Strings - Sarah McLachlan, Performer - Sarah McLachlan, Dobro - Sarah McLachlan, Piano - Chris Potter, Mixing Engineer - Chris Potter, Engineer - Traditional, Lyricist - Traditional, Composer - Vince J. Mai, Flugelhorn - Vince J. Mai, Trumpet - Daryl Johnson, Acoustic Bass

(P) 2006 Arista Records, LLC

12
Christmas Time Is Here
Sarah McLachlan featuring Diana Krall
00:03:59

Pierre Marchand, Mixing Engineer - Pierre Marchand, Producer - Pierre Marchand, Engineer - Pierre Marchand, Strings - Pierre Marchand, Keyboards - Pierre Marchand, Programmer - Pierre Marchand, Synthesizer - Jim Creegan, Bass - Bill Dillon, Electric Guitar - Bill Dillon, Acoustic Bass - Bill Dillon, Mandolin - Bill Dillon, Acoustic Baritone Guitar - Bob Doidge, Recording Engineer - Colin Cripps, Dobro - Colin Cripps, Guitar - Ashwin Sood, Percussion - Ashwin Sood, Drums - Sarah McLachlan featuring Diana Krall, Performer - Mark Howard, Recording Engineer - Sarah McLachlan, Piano - Sarah McLachlan, Dobro - Sarah McLachlan, Harp - Sarah McLachlan, Strings - Sarah McLachlan, Vocal - Chris Potter, Mixing Engineer - Chris Potter, Engineer - Vince J. Mai, Flugelhorn - Vince J. Mai, Trumpet - Vince Guaraldi, Composer - Vince Guaraldi, Lyricist - Daryl Johnson, Acoustic Bass - Lee Mendelson, Lyricist - Lee Mendelson, Composer

(P) 2006 Arista Records, LLC

Album Description

Because no artist's career is truly complete without a holiday album, Sarah McLachlan took yet another step toward establishing her place in sentimental adult contemporary radio history with Wintersong. For the most part, the singer chooses the darker, more melancholic, and "wintry" pieces to cover (there's no "Joy to the World" or "Angels We Have Heard on High," for example), focusing as much on the Christmas season and the general feel of the holiday as on its religious connotations. She brings together the folk spiritual "Mary Mary" -- also called "Virgin Mary" when covered by Joan Baez on her 1966 Noël or "Mary What You Gonna Call That Pretty Little Baby" when a black gospel song -- and the traditional "The First Noel," showing off not only her own impressive range but her ability to adapt to different vocal styles while still remaining wholly herself. Her version of Gordon Lightfoot's "Song for a Winter's Night," which was originally released on the 1994 Miracle on 34th Street soundtrack (and then on McLachlan's Rarities, B-Sides & Other Stuff), is pretty and sweet, using as acoustic guitar as well as layers and layers of vocal harmonies to create a sense of space and warmth, and her cover of Joni Mitchell's "River" is lovely, too, using a guitar and arpeggiated synths to push the song sadly along. The synths, in fact, are used frequently on Wintersong, sometimes in their string form on "O Little Town of Bethlehem" or "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," which works nicely, but more often as slightly new agey background effects that get a little tedious, especially considering the fact McLachlan has always been able to carry herself on more organic instrumentation, and sound good doing it, too. She does manage to just stick to only the sad, reflective piano chords on which she has earned her living -- nice in their simplicity -- on the title track, the one original song on the album, which sounds a lot, both thematically and musically, like "River," using Christmas as a way to contemplate a lover ("And this is how I see you/In the snow on Christmas morning..../Oh I miss you now, my love, merry Christmas," she sings). McLachlan's voice sounds great, and her interpretations stick pretty close to the originals while still expressing her own artistic individuality (with the exception of "What Child Is This [Greensleeves]," in which she goes too far, taking liberties with the melody and changing the song too much); but in making everything so soft and ethereal, instead of increasing their poignancy (which is certainly a goal of hers), she kills some of the songs' immediacy and power, unfortunately rendering Wintersong a little lifeless, albeit soothing, at the end.
© Marisa Brown /TiVo

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