Saturday, November 28, 2009

Review: Winter Tracks by Susan Egan

Since the Christmas season is "officially" upon us (though I confess I've been living with Christmas for two weeks now, ha!), and since this is my first Christmas on Blogger, I thought I'd pull the few Christmas music reviews I've done over the years and start posting them here. I originally reviewed Winter Tracks in December 2006.

As the title of this CD suggests, it isn’t a Christmas album per se – the songs included cover Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year’s. Egan first skyrocketed to fame as the original Belle when Disney’s Beauty and the Beast opened on Broadway (she appears on the cast album). Her soprano is so crystal-clear and controlled it sounds as though it could cut glass. With Winter Tracks, Egan has delivered a laid-back collection of classics mixed with new material that evokes the warmth and comfort of the season like drinking a cup of hot cocoa on a cold winter’s day. The arrangements have a classic, orchestral feel to them and perfectly frame Egan’s sparkling vocals. My favorite tracks are Sondheim’s “We Are Lights” combined with the traditional “Shalom Alaychem” (absolutely beautifully done!) and “Silent Night/Greensleeves.” The newer tracks blend nicely with the more traditional fare – “The Turkey and the Stuffing” by producer Christopher McGovern gently skewers the stress the holidays can bring by suggesting a worry-free alternative – “Swansons and a six-pack,” while “Cold Enough to Snow” examines heartache around the holidays. Definitely worth checking out, Winter Tracks is one of the best offerings from a Broadway vocalist in recent memory.

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