The Dawn of Grace

Sixpence None the Richer

The Dawn of Grace

A new full-length project from Sixpence None the Richer is a welcome holiday gift. Core members Leigh Nash and Matt Slocum have chosen a Christmas theme for their first album release in six years — which is not as quirky as it sounds. The Dawn of Grace fits quite comfortably into the band’s catalogue of wistfully perceptive folk-rock outings. Standards like “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” and “Carol of the Bells” are given tasteful treatments, with Nash’s slightly quavering vocals capturing the right spirit of innocence. But it’s the less-expected and newly written songs that stand out here. Sixpence adds an exotic note with the Spanish carol “Riu Riu Chiu” and embraces the Yuletide blues with Joni Mitchell’s “River.” From their own song bag come “The Last Christmas” (a charming nativity tune), “Some Children See Him” (evocative of traditional balladry), and “Christmas Island” (a sweetly nostalgic track with a faux-Polynesian air). Producers Steve Hindalong and Derri Daugherty from The Choir add strings and techno-grooves with restraint, keeping the focus on Leigh’s waif-like voice and Slocum’s chiming guitar. All told, The Dawn of Grace is a present well worth unwrapping.

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