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Sarah McLachlan - Wintersong Review

by Gisèle Grignon

Ethereal, heavenly, angelic, otherworldly…Now that the tired and worn (but wholly applicable) descriptors are out of the way, and this being the season of giving; lets be a little more generous and original when gifting Sarah McLaughlin with a well-deserved, warm and woolly review.

"Happy Xmas (War is Over"), the first track on Wintersong, screams for (make that an enthusiastic but polite whisper, Miss McLachlan is after all Canadian) for marshmallows topping a real china mug of real hot cocoa. Sorry, but if this traditional wintertime comfort food requires ripping an envelope adored by a pigtailed Saccharine Miss, it does not qualify as hot chocolate, and therefore unworthy of this or subsequent cuts. Also only the mini marshmallows will do, as the big ones never melt properly and pitifully hang round long after the dregs of the mug have been consumed. If those little white delights don't melt by the first track, do not, repeat do not panic. This is a 3 cup (minimum) CD. Finally, dig up and slip into those goofy bear claw fuzzy slippers from Aunt Peg. Now, you're properly attired and set for a welcome oasis in the season's high pitched and paced holiday.

Because if Wintersong accomplishes anything it is that it exhibits and elicits the best of this season, namely a polite but persuasive prodding to remember what we should all be grateful for (including the less-than grammatically correct faux pas of dangling participles.) The double gift of Wintersong in general, and McLachlan's voice in particular is that not only does this music simply warm the cockles of your heart, it can actually do this year round. Even the grouchiest Grinch will warm up to the timeless "What Child is This?" (Greensleeves) and fellow Canadian Joni Mitchell's "River", which is said to be written about the Rideau Canal, in Ottawa, Canada, touted as the world's largest skating rink (in winter--- it's Canada folks, not the North Pole.) And yes, the traditional holiday offerings such as "I'll Be Home for Christmas" and "O Little Town of Bethlehem" are included here, yet there's nothing, not a note, or sleighbell here that sounds worn or weather-beaten. McLachlan's pure sincerity injects each cut with a heartfelt freshness that you may well not recall ever before hearing those traditional songs. Forget relegating this to stocking stuffer status. Wintersong merits expert glittery oh-my-gosh-you-shouldn't-have-but-I'm-sure-glad-you-did wrapping all its own. Merry, Merry.

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Sarah McLachlan - Wintersong

Label:Arista Records

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