ND First Spin: Elizabeth Mitchell - "The Sounding Joy"

by Kim Ruehl

It's very nearly Thanksgiving, which means it might be a smidge early to talk about Christmas music, but this new album from Elizabeth Mitchell isn't teeming with your typical "Jingle Bells" repetition. It's a wonderful collection of holiday music performed with Mitchell's signature sparseness. Acoustic instruments, hand claps, and a community of skilled singers is always at the ready. In this case, that means Natalie Merchant, Aoife O’Donovan, Joan Osborne, Mike Merenda, Ruthy Ungar, Dan Zanes, Happy Traum, Peggy Seeger, and more.

Mitchell, who has always been a skillful interpreter of songs for the whole family, draws from the motherlode here - tunes plucked from Ruth Crawford Seeger's 1953 book, American Folk Songs for Christmas. The result is The Sounding Joy, and we've teamed up with the fine folks at Smithsonian Folkways to bring you this First Spin to help ease you into the holiday mood.

Forget everything you think you know about what Christmas carols sound like, and press play. Enjoy, and let us know what you think in the comments. 

Views: 2016

Comment by Elaine Campbell on November 20, 2013 at 12:55pm

Listening throughout the day.  Loving this so very much, although I had the expectation not to enjoy any more Christmas music. Will purchase as soon as payday arrives.  

Comment by Benjamin Scott Blake on November 22, 2013 at 4:04am

This is not the actress, correct?

Comment by No Depression on November 22, 2013 at 12:59pm
@Benjamin - no, this is Elizabeth Mitchell the folksinger. You can learn more about her at youaremyflower.org. She has a lot of fabulous albums featuring traditional music for the whole family.
Comment by Victoria Folkerts on November 23, 2013 at 3:45pm

Had to buy a copy!

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Created by No Depression Feb 17, 2009 at 9:06pm. Last updated by No Depression Sep 24, 2012.