This stunning Celtic Christmas album from Boston-based duo Matt & Shannon Heaton features music to brighten chilly winter days and warm long winter nights. With both secular and spiritual selections--a few holiday favorites with a touch of the unexpected--"Fine Winter's Night" helps to usher in the contemplative and joyous feelings of Christmas and the winter season.
"Fine Winter's Night" is the duo's 2007 release. Also from the Heatons: "Blue Skies Above,", released in 2006, and "Dearga," released in 2003.
“Bringing us songs both sacred and reverent, Shannon’s voice is fresh and subtle like the first dusting of snow, while Matt’s light and sure guitar accompaniment sets the pace for a joyful sleighride...[They] lead us beyond familiar old songs but they don’t forsake them, either…This album will make you happy. Get those cookies into the oven and invite your loved ones to tea; Matt and Shannon have made music that reminds us of what the holidays are for.” -- Susan Lindsay of the Boston Irish Reporter
“Fine Winter’s Night,” the Heatons' third duo CD to date, is not your run-of-the-mill Christmas release. Matt and Shannon present a banquet of songs dating from the 12th to the 21st century, their convivial blend of voices — supplemented by ever-tasteful and adept accompaniment on guitar, bouzouki and Irish flutes — giving "Fine Winter's Night" a sound that is simultaneously homegrown, refined and timeless.
The music on “Fine Winter’s Night” ranges across a spectrum of moods and emotions much like the holiday season itself: a mix of poignancy, jubilance and reflection. There are songs about Victorian winter romance, the nativity and the introspective nature of the solstice, alongside achingly beautiful airs and upbeat jigs and reels. Some of the originals sound like timeless traditional classics, while the renditions of centuries-old Irish ballads often have inventive modern twists that resonate with listeners.
The Heatons are no strangers to high-profile Christmas programs. Matt has played with the Boys of the Lough for their Christmas tour, while Shannon appeared last year with Robbie O’Connell as part of the "Celtic Christmas Sojourn" production at the Cutler Majestic Theater, and and figures prominently on the “Celtic Christmas Sojourn” DVD released by Rounder Records. The two also recorded a selection of traditional and original Christmas music with critically acclaimed trad-band Siucra (“A Very Siucra Christmas”, 2004).
Now, with their own offering for the season, Matt and Shannon have provided one more reason to look forward to December.