“Pre-Raphaelite,” I said last time someone asked me what Loreena McKennitt was like. “Like a woman who would sing the Lady of Shalott.” When McKennitt is at her best then the grave, mild tenor of her voice illuminates her compositions with a courtliness that dignifies their subject matter. On this Christmas album, which expands, by eight tracks, her five-track 1995 EP A Winter Garden, the courtliness seems unnecessarily flowery. The instrumental pieces rarely rise above the level of ordinary prettiness. Instruments enter slowly, plainly, as if each tune is a conversation and they are trying to mime it to a deaf mute. A more varied pace would have been welcome. She has made better albums than this.
"José González's sets during Newport Folk Festival weren't on his birthday (that is today) but each looked to be a special intimate performance.READ the article