24 Songs, 1 Hour 10 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Children’s music performer Elizabeth Mitchell has helped transform the genre from one of silly, repetitive songs and careless performances into one with craft and intelligence. (Her voice has also given the adult indie-folk group Ida its small but devoted following.) Here, an adventurous cast of characters—from Bob Dylan’s right-hand man and guitarist Larry Campbell and Happy Traum to John Sebastian, Joan Osborne, Natalie Merchant, and Amy Helm and local Hudson Valley, N.Y., traditionalists Jay Ungar, Ruthy Ungar, and Peggy Seeger—help color these 24 festive songs with a musicality that brings them alive. As the album’s title states, most of these songs are from Ruth Crawford Seeger’s 1953 songbook American Folk Songs for Christmas. But it doesn’t stop a song like “January, February (Last Month of the Year)” from nailing down a bluesy groove. Or a song like “The Blessings of Mary” from including sweet vocals from Mitchell and careful guitar work from Larry Campbell, which are worth hearing any time of year.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Children’s music performer Elizabeth Mitchell has helped transform the genre from one of silly, repetitive songs and careless performances into one with craft and intelligence. (Her voice has also given the adult indie-folk group Ida its small but devoted following.) Here, an adventurous cast of characters—from Bob Dylan’s right-hand man and guitarist Larry Campbell and Happy Traum to John Sebastian, Joan Osborne, Natalie Merchant, and Amy Helm and local Hudson Valley, N.Y., traditionalists Jay Ungar, Ruthy Ungar, and Peggy Seeger—help color these 24 festive songs with a musicality that brings them alive. As the album’s title states, most of these songs are from Ruth Crawford Seeger’s 1953 songbook American Folk Songs for Christmas. But it doesn’t stop a song like “January, February (Last Month of the Year)” from nailing down a bluesy groove. Or a song like “The Blessings of Mary” from including sweet vocals from Mitchell and careful guitar work from Larry Campbell, which are worth hearing any time of year.

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