Six of acoustic music’s brightest stars come together to explore musical holiday traditions at the roots of Americana. This collaboration results in a seasonal recording unlike any other featuring traditional holiday music from Ireland, France, and Eastern Europe woven together with Americana and Gospel repertoire. A Christmas Heritage combines fresh renditions of familiar holiday classics and the yuletide theme yields nicely to the dreamy, impressionistic arrangements of virtuosos Philip Aaberg, Darol Anger, Alison Brown, Mike Marshall, Tim O’Brien and Todd Phillips. O’Brien’s singing even has a hearty, raw edge to it on “Greensleeves” and his mysterious yet upbeat original composition “Newgrange”.
The spacious, meditative interpretations of seasonal songs work best in the sparest settings: Mike Marshall’s solo guitar take on “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” is liquid and loving. The mandolin, mandola, and mandocello interplay on “Pat-a-pan” is inspired.