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Tinsel Tunes
Various Artists
Tinsel Tunes
Genres: Country, Alternative Rock, Folk, Special Interest, Pop, Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (14) - Disc #1

You don't have to be a bluegrass or newgrass lover to fall for this beloved evergreen. The 14-song set showcases pickers and grinners that include the mandolin virtuoso Chris Thile, Psychograss, the legendary gospel quarte...  more »

      
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You don't have to be a bluegrass or newgrass lover to fall for this beloved evergreen. The 14-song set showcases pickers and grinners that include the mandolin virtuoso Chris Thile, Psychograss, the legendary gospel quartet The Fairfield Four, and The Nashville Bluegrass Band, among others. Tinsel Tunes revels in such delights as Sam Bush playing an unforgettable version of "Sleigh Ride" and Flying Burrito Brother and ex-Byrd Chris Hillman and Herb Pederson dutifully reprising Buck Owens's "Blue Christmas Lights" lament. It's Texan Robert Earl Keen who steals the mistletoe, however, in what may be some of the coolest--and most touching--down-home tunes ever penned for Christmas. With the telling opening lines, "Dad got drunk and mom got drunk at our Christmas party," you know right away you're not in the land of "White Christmas" anymore. And yet the song's telling of ironic twists, its comic and tense portrayal of large family gatherings over the holidays, and its story of the calming affect "a Mexican" has on everyone when he sings "Feliz Navidad" while the booze runs out and the power blows, is magical. Great storytelling in song that will have everybody singing "Merry Christmas from the Family." A must have. --Martin Keller

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CD Reviews

Great acoustic Christmas album
Peter Durward Harris | Leicester England | 01/13/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Following their Christmas selection from five years earlier, Sugar Hill released this set of Christmas songs and tunes in similar vein, mainly but not exclusively bluegrass. The set opens with a cover of a sad Buck Owens song, Blue Christmas lights, performed by Chris Hillman and Herb Pedersen. Both men already had long musical careers behind them, together (in the Desert rose band) and separately. Sam Bush brightens things up with his mandolin on an instrumental version of Sleigh ride. Molly O'Brien sings superbly on the reflective In the bleak midwinter, a traditional carol that is recorded all too rarely.

The Nashville Bluegrass Band tell us what Christmas is supposed to be about in Christmas story, The Lonesome river band may not be lonesome much longer if they get their wish - all they want for Christmas is Mary. Kathy Killick is in peak form on Ring the bells at midnight. The Laurel Canyon Band, featuring Herb Pedersen, promise us that Christmas is coming to town. Chris Thile plays mandolin on an instrumental version of Bring a torch Jeanette Isabella. The Brother Boys make I'll be home for Christmas into a more upbeat song than it normally is. Psychograss perform the last instrumental on this set, On a quiet night. The Fairfield Four join the Nashville Bluegrass Band to sing The last month of the year.

The set finishes with much festive cheer in the final three tracks - listen to Don Dixon and Marti Jones singing Every day will be like a holiday, Chesapeake singing Christmas swing and Robert Earl Keen (sounding in real party mood) singing Merry Christmas from the family.

This is a brilliant album for acoustic music fans generally and bluegrass fans in particular."