Hi all! The Wednesday Festival is on a brief Advent sabbatical, and will return after Christmas Day. You're certainly welcome to post links with blog recommendations in the comments. In the meantime, a few RevGals will be bringing you bonus Musical Musings with a seasonal slant.
This week's theme is simple: Advent/Christmas music that isn't happy-clappy. Not that there is anything wrong with rockin' around the Christmas tree; it's just that we all need to contemplate around the Christmas tree, too. These two albums are my soundtrack for quiet nights. They are best paired with a hot drink and a cozy blanket.
#1: Holiday Songs and Lullabies by Shawn Colvin
This is an old family favorite. Ever since it came out in 1998, my immediate family has been moderately obsessed with this album; at one point there might have been a kerfluffle because "someone" (who, me?) had taken off with my Dad's copy, but we've all given in and invested in our own. It's simple, understated, folksy, beautiful. Aesthetically speaking, it is the polar opposite of my neighbors' new 10 foot inflatable nativity decorations. "Love Came Down at Christmas" and "In the Bleak Midwinter" are standouts, but really, the whole album is a classic.
#2 Snow Angels by Over the Rhine(MP3 link here)
Anyone who has happened upon my blog or spoken to me for longer than, oh, four-and-a-half minutes knows that I am a raving fan of this little band from Cincinnati, so you can't be TOO surprised that I'd take another opportunity to hail my beloved OtR. I'm telling you - this one is amazing. Nearly all of the songs are original, but somehow come off sounding every bit as classic as the classics. "North Pole Man" will make you blush it's so saucy, and then "Little Town" will make you weep it's so prophetic. They start out with the original lyrics to "O Little Town of Bethlehem," but break into a contemporary prayer for peace. "The lamplit streets of Bethlehem/ We walk now through the night/ There is no peace in Bethlehem/ There is no peace in sight." It's music that searches for light in the darkness, love in the loneliness, Christ in the shadows - and somehow finds everything it's looking for. Because they're so cool and all, you can actually listen to the whole album on their website - just click on the record player.
I hope this music brings you the quiet, lasting joy it has brought me.