I’ll just admit it; I’m jealous of those that can celebrate the holiday season with St. Agnes Fountain’s live and newly recorded music “The Twelve Years of Christmas.” In a season filled with holiday albums and tours from artists ranging from Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta to Cee Lo Green, the just-released St. Agnes Fountain album is truly a holiday jewel of re-imagined traditional and more contemporary music. Like most jewels, this one is rare. It’s available, for now anyway, only at the Aggies’ concerts, which are only in the U.K. Yet even those that need to wait to purchase copies should not miss the chance.
The quartet – acoustic guitarist, songwriter and author David Hughes, Fairport Convention’s Chris Leslie, and award-winning folk duo Chris While and Julie Matthews – have created a 13-track holiday album that sways from reverent to lighthearted to downright humorous especially on Hughes’ witty “Christmas Thoughts and Prayers,” a true hoot. But overall, the collection is as warm and intimate as a cup of cocoa on a cold winter night.
It’s a fair bet that the acoustic version of the J.S. Bach classic “In Dulci Jubilo” will rightly receive the most notice from critics and fans. Yet other songs – notably the breathtakingly beautiful “All Through the Night” that features Chris Leslie’s haunting, angelic lead vocals – are equally deserving of rich acclaim. Other don’t miss tracks include Beth Nielsen Chapman’s elegant “There’s Still My Joy,” and the joyful “Ding Dong Merrily on High.”
Indeed, this album is just another reminder of why St. Agnes Fountains deservedly carry the “super group” moniker though they speak to individual listener’s hearts.
Tour dates link: http://www.whileandmatthews.co.uk/tour.php