|The Sounding Joy album cover. Cover artwork by Brian Selznick.|
The Sounding Joy by GRAMMY-nominated Smithsonian Folkways family musician Elizabeth Mitchell is a tribute to Ruth Crawford Seeger’s overlooked but deeply influential 1953 songbook, American Folk Songs for Christmas. This is Mitchell's first Christmas album and it is a wonderful collection of folk carols for all ages. These are recordings that celebrate a Christmas before commercialization, an all encompassing custom of people sharing music, telling stories and celebrating together. The album includes Mitchell’s family, friends and neighbors, including Peggy Seeger, Natalie Merchant, Aoife O’Donovan, Amy Helm, John Sebastian, Dan Zanes, Happy Traum, and many others. The great assortment of voices, musicians, and instruments on the album breathes new life into words first sung over a century ago by farmhands, country preachers, and small-town congregations and gospel groups.
I love Elizabeth Mitchell! I have many of her albums and enjoy them daily. Now Sounding Joy has become one of my favorite Christmas albums. Most of the songs on the album are a refreshing change from the Christmas songs that you normally hear on the radio during the holidays. There are a few recordings that are not from the original songbook which include classics “Joy to the World,” “Silent Night,” and an a cappella arrangement of “Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming,” a “family heirloom” arranged by Elizabeth’s father-in-law, Michael Storey Littleton. I also loved hearing yet another familiar voice, Dan Zanes, of which I also love, on this album! I now long to have and hear the 1953 American Folk Songs for Christmas songbook to accompany Elizabeth Mitchell's album. The Sounding Joy is a wonderful throwback to a time much simpler than ours where stories and songs were handed down through generations.
Listen to “Children, Go Where I Send Thee (Little Bitty Baby: A Cumulative Song)”.
The Sounding Joy Tracklist:
- Oh, Mary and the Baby, Sweet Lamb
- Mary Had a Baby
- Rise Up, Shepherd, and Follow (feat. Mike Merenda)
- January, February (Last Month of the Year) (feat. Amy Helm and Marco Benevento)
- Joseph and Mary (The Cherry Tree Carol) (feat. Natalie Merchant)
- Shine Like a Star in the Morning (feat. Simi Stone)
- Joy to the World (feat. Jay Ungar)
- Christmas Day in the Morning (feat. Peggy Seeger)
- Mother’s Child (Child of God) (feat. Peggy Seeger)
- Sing-a-Lamb (feat. Dan Zanes and Suzan Lori-Parks)
- Great Big Stars
- Baby Born Today (feat. The Silver Hollers - Amy Helm, Ruthy Ungar and Chris Wood, with Larry Campbell)
- Ain’t That a-Rockin’ All Night
- Cradle Hymn
- Bright Morning Stars Are Rising
- Sing Hallelu (feat. Elizabeth Clark-Jerez)
- The First Noel
- The Blessings of Mary (feat. Larry Campbell)
- Oh, Watch the Stars (feat. Aoife O’Donovan)
- Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming
- Mary Was the Queen of Galilee (feat. Gail Ann Dorsey and Joan Osborne)
- Silent Night
- Singing in the Land (feat. Natalie Merchant, Happy Traum, and John Sebastian)
- Children, Go Where I Send Thee (feat. Natalie Merchant, Amy Helm, Ruthy Ungar, Gail Ann Dorsey, Dan Zanes, Aoife O'Donovan, Simi Stone)
List Price $14.98 CD, $9.99 Download
Prize: Elizabeth Mitchell and Friends The Sounding Joy (2 Winners!!)
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DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: I received product for free to facilitate my review and some to giveaway. My thoughts are mine and my family's own opinion and have not been altered by anyone else. I did not receive any other compensation for doing this review.