"Angela Carole Brown’s WINTER is a must-have for those who are looking for traditional music with a fresh sound, and a new song, "Winter", which will be played for years to come." ––– Joe Montague, Riveting Riffs Magazine (complete review below)
The newest from Rue de la Harpe Records, Angela Carole Brown's first-ever holiday album, WINTER, is a folksy, eclectic mix of traditional favorites and reflective new takes. Teaming with a gifted ensemble that features guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Ken Rosser, bass player Randy Landas, and drummer, percussionist, and vocalist Lynn Coulter, WINTER is Angela's introspective nod to the holidays in all its shades of winter.
Angela has chosen songs that reflect the whole wonderful spectrum of emotional colors that the holidays can conjure, with her own distinctive take on songs by artists ranging in diversity from Rodgers & Hammerstein to The Pogues.
The holidays mean something different for everyone, and as a songwriter Angela has always tended toward a more contemplative brand of music, so she couldn't very well pass up the opportunity to include representing the melancholy and loneliness that can sometimes accompany the season. The Pogues' iconic "Fairytale of New York" is a prime example; a tender, nostalgic song about the homeless on Christmas Eve. Angela and the gents have concocted an arrangement that's reminiscent of the Salvation Army Bands of old.
On the other hand, there's plenty of playfulness on WINTER as well. A flirty coquetry oozes from cuts like "Baby, It's Cold Outside" and "My Favorite Things". And an ode to love reigns on the one original, the title track, written by Angela in the eleventh hour of recording.
The entire production betrays a reverent nod to a Waits-ian world, with just a pinch of the Celtic, in this ambient, textural canon of holiday songs.
She's a New Year's baby, so this time of year has always been Angela's favorite, but also because it symbolizes restoration, reflection & renewal. So here's wishing for you a few breathtaking insights and some stunning illuminations. May today, and always, there be peace and goodwill within.
Angela Carole Brown - vocals, keyboards & glockenspiel
Ken Rosser - guitars & electric sitar
Randy Landas - upright & electric bass
Lynn Coulter - drums, percussion & vocal
John Groover McDuffie - recording engineer
Michael Kramer - add'l recording & mixing engineer
Maurice Gainen - mastering engineer
RIVETING RIFFS MAGAZINE
"We really like the Christmas album WINTER that Angela Carole Brown created for the 2012 holiday season and Michael Kramer did a masterful job mixing this record. The spoken word introduction to WINTER, by Angela Carole Brown, creates a medieval ambience and sets the stage for a very simple, yet beautiful rendition of Silent Night, with Lynn Coulter’s mallets on the tom-tom drums as the accompaniment for Ms. Brown. The deep, rich tones of the drums create a somber mood and Angela Carole Brown’s vocals are reverent and as always, impeccable.
"John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Happy Xmas (War Is Over) is the next song, and it is followed by a modernized version of Little Drummer Boy. Ken Rosser has an electric guitar solo on the later tune. It is difficult for us to be objective about a song we have never liked, but this more amped-up version of the song sure beats the depressing traditional version of Little Drummer Boy. We are not quite sure about the ending to this rendition, which has a call “Hey drummer boy,” repeated several times, but there is no response to the call.
"In addition to playing the electric guitar, Ken Rosser doubles on electric sitar, Randy Landas plays electric and upright bass, Michael Kramer plays piano on Closing of the Year, and provides background vocals on the album, while Angela Carole Brown plays keyboards and the glockenspiel.
"The real jewels from the album WINTER are the title song (track nine) and track five (It Came Upon A Midnight Clear) and track six, Frank Loesser’s Baby, It’s Cold Outside, an Angela Carole Brown / Lynn Coulter duet. Ms. Brown has long been respected as a vocalist; because she is technically sound, she knows how to embrace the moment and she also gives her musicians lots of room. Rosser, Landas and Coulter are superbly elegant accompanying Ms. Brown on It Came Upon A Midnight Clear. We could sit and listen to Ken Rosser play all day. We absolutely love the gravelly vocals of Lynn Coulter and the bluesy inflections in Angela Carole Brown’s voice in an outstanding performance of Baby, It’s Cold Outside. This is one of the best and freshest versions of Frank Loesser’s holiday favorite that we have heard in a long time. Both singers create a fun and playful feel that invites the listener to play this song over and over and over again. The title song Winter is breathtakingly beautiful. We have known Angela Carole Brown for several years now and this recording of Winter is Ms. Brown at her finest and her soprano vocals are magical. The musicians are fabulous and since this an original song, our question is; Angela, why is there only one of your own songs on this album? Words do not suffice to describe this pretty love letter about falling in love in the winter. The mood is upbeat and ethereal and it is a mid-tempo song.
"Rounding out this album are Vince Guaraldi’s and Lee Mendelson’s Christmas Time Is Here, Closing of the Year, (Trevor Horn, Hans Zimmer, Christian Kolonovits) and Auld Lang Syne.
"Angela Carole Brown’s WINTER is a must-have for those who are looking for traditional music with a fresh sound, and a new song, Winter, which will be played for years to come.