Review from christmasreviews.com:
"Sheri O'Meara, Locklin Road (the folk trio of O'Meara, Dan Kowalke, and Gregg Weigand), and "Friends" perform a rustic, rich mosaic of well-crafted originals and beloved Scottish/Celtic holiday pieces on Christmas Light. This is a terrific choice for those who love warmly-executed folk music; every note is a treasure.
"What an emotional, lovely opening! On Christ Child's Lullaby, the album's longest track, O'Meara sets the tone with a soulful rendition of the traditional Scottish carol. Her textured alto--and the layers of supporting harmonies that subsequently join in--create the most marvelous tapestry of sound! From the first bars of the opening track, I knew that Christmas Light would be a first-rate treat.
"O'Meara contributes six new holiday pieces, and she definitely knows how to marry melodies with lyrics into masterful Christmas tales. I particularly enjoyed A Bed for the Baby and Ring That Bell. Both have addictive melodies, and the stories had me hanging on every word. Nice!
"Folk aficionados who enjoy Celtic stylings and embrace newly-minted holiday pieces should have a field day with this one. Enjoy the brilliant Christmas Light!"
--Carol Swanson, christmasreviews.com, November 2009.
--Christmas Light is easily the best submission of Christmas music
I received this year! Tenderly crafted arrangements of traditional
songs alongside brilliant new original tracks result in the perfect
blend of holiday folk music."
Wendy Donahue, Cleveland Celtic Podcast, December 2009
Sheri O’Meara: Lead vocals, guitar
Dan Kowalke: Vocals, guitars, mandolin, and assorted wondrous sounds.
Gregg Weigand: Vocals, guitars.
Joan Olson: Flute (Light a Candle, Cherry Tree Carol, Auld Lang Syne) and vocals (Light a Candle)
Joanne Keenan: Vocals (Auld Lang Syne, Light a Candle)
Produced by Dan Kowalke at RVM Music.
Christmas Light songs:
Christ Child’s Lullaby traditional Scottish 5:05
A Bed for the Baby by Sheri O’Meara 3:27
Cherry Tree Carol traditional Celtic 3:00
Light a Candle by Sheri O’Meara 2:56
The Lambs on the
Green Hills music traditional Irish/words Sheri O’Meara 2:30
Ring That Bell by Sheri O’Meara 3:41
Broken Angel by Sheri O’Meara 3:49
What Child is This traditional Celtic 3:55
Starlight Lullaby by Sheri O’Meara 4:23
Guardian Angel by Sheri O’Meara 3:49
Auld Lang Syne traditional Scottish 3:18Sheri's Notes:
Setting out to record a Christmas album is daunting. You just don't want to mess with people's idea of what Christmas is. But neither did I want to do an album of all those wonderful but "same old" carols.
What we ended up with is a group of songs very dear to me that reflect a more personal view of Christmas. We hope they resonate with you, too:
1 Christ Child’s Lullaby, traditional Scottish
This hymn is still sung at Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve in in the Outer
Hebrides, an island chain off the west coast of Scotland, where Scottish Gaelic
is still spoken. It is said that Father Ronald Rankin wrote verses for his
congregation to sing in Gaelic at Midnight on Christmas Eve, and gave the song to them before he left for Australia in 1855. The original song has 29 verses, and several variations. I love the ancient, haunting, emotional feel of this melody and heartfelt lyrics. In recording this, Dan did a terrific job retaining this mood and a sense of reverence for the holy night.
2 A Bed for the Baby, by Sheri O’Meara
This song came all at once to me a couple of years ago, while holding a tiny
porcelain nativity scene my mother had given me. Looking at it, I thought, "It
looks so picture perfect and holy and symbolic. But I'll bet there was just a
lot of basic human emotion going on. I'll bet Mary just wanted a bed for the
3 Cherry Tree Carol, traditional Celtic
I first sang this in church choir and loved it. It is one of the rare
traditional tunes that is both a Christmas carol and one of the Child Ballads
(no. 54), the collection of 305 English and Scottish folk ballads collected by
Francis James Child in the 19th century. The song was said to have been
sung at the Feast of Corpus Christi in the early 15th century. In modern times it has been recorded by some of my very favorites—Peter, Paul and Mary, Joan Baez, Emmylou Harris. That's Gregg singing with me on this one, and Joan adding her lovely flute.
4 Light a Candle, by Sheri O’Meara
When I first learned of the Irish tradition of lighting a candle in the window
on Christmas Eve to welcome the passing stranger—I knew I had to write this
song. Joan and Joanne sing with me on this, and there's Joan's beautiful flute
5 The Lambs on the Green Hills, music traditional Irish/words Sheri O’Meara
I love this traditional tune. But a song about jilted love just doesn't belong
at Christmastime. So I kept the tune, the title and the original first line of
the song ("The lambs on the green hills they sport and they play") and re-wrote the song to focus on the lambs at Christmas.
6 Ring That Bell, by Sheri O’Meara
I'm told this song is my "Christmas rock song." With a great, big nod to Andrew Lloyd Webber: The melody came after I was humming "Music of the Night" from Phantom of the Opera, then sped it up and changed it and thought of church bells and Norman Rockwell … and the words came. I love the bells Dan came up with for this cd (how do we do this live??), and how Dan and Gregg sing their part.
7 Broken Angel, by Sheri O’Meara
The subtitle to this could be "The Superglue Song." One December in the weeks before Christmas, at about midnight one night, I was attempting to Superglue the broken wings back on two different Christmas angels. Didn't work. I Superglued my fingers together, and my pajamas to the kitchen counter. But the angels stayed broken. (Note to self: Superglue does NOT work on porcelain.) Frustrated, I almost threw away the angels, muttering, "What do you do with a broken angel?" And there was the lyric around which I built the song. Those are Gregg and Dan's lovely guitars here.
8 What Child is This, traditional
Simply my favorite Christmas carol ever. "What Child Is This" lyrics were
written in 1865 by William Chatterton Dix as part of his song "The Manger Throne," set to the traditional English melody of "Greensleeves," an ancient English folk song.
9 Starlight Lullaby, by Sheri O’Meara
This song reflects the quiet of that first Christmas Eve and how I imagined it
might have been for Mary, and how all of nature might have paid homage. After Dan determined the mystery chord I had been missing (G+), we were good to go.
10 Guardian Angel, by Sheri O’Meara
This song was written for my godson, nephew Teddy, for his baptism. A song about angel sung for a baby—it seems to also fit Christmas, don't you think?
11 Auld Lang Syne, traditional Scottish
I loved gathering everyone for this song—Gregg, Dan, Joanne and Joan. The
Scottish poem was written by Robert Burns in 1788 and set to the tune of a
traditional folk song. These days, we really only hear it on New Year's Eve. The
title may be translated as "old long since," or "long long ago" or "days gone
Wait a few seconds after song #11.... There's a special surprise here for purchasers of the physical CD. No, it's not a mistake. But it was a surprise to me until the end, so we decided to leave it an unannounced "bonus" on the cd, too. I had rejected this song, leaving it on the cutting room floor, until Dan secretly added some magical sounds, and delivered two "final" versions of the CD: one with and one without this song. See if we made the right call.