Christmas can be such a difficult time. With all of the bright lights and festive spirits, there is often an undertone of sadness as we reflect on those who are no longer here. For me, I think back to my childhood years when my family was still intact and my grandmother was vibrant and alive. It's been a long journey but in recent years I've managed to reclaim Christmas, to make it a time of family, joy, celebration and gratitude again.
Mackenzie Shivers understands this and is releasing a Christmas album to capture this pensive mood. Firstly, Mackenzie is not a monster! Although Midwinter has been ready to meet the world for some time now, Mackenzie has thoughtfully waited until after Thanksgiving to release it. And now that it's December, I'm allowed by the laws of the United Kingdom of Britain and Northern Ireland to share it with you too.
Midwinter is a delightful collection of eight Christmassy tracks, embracing a feeling of peace and warmth. As Mackenzie says, "we wanted to keep the recordings and performances raw and intimate, as if I were sitting down and playing in your living room. Or, perhaps, a cozy Irish pub at the end of the evening". For me, it's all about tea and socks, cosy blankets and a purring cat.
Midwinter was recorded in a single day with co-producer Kevin Salem. Most of the tracks are Mackenzie's own arrangements of Christmas songs that you'll know and love including "'Tis the Season", "Auld Lang Syne" and "I Heard the Bells". I loved the unique arrangements, at times slowing down songs that are usually belted out and at others, jazzing them up. There are several piano instrumentals on the album, the most notable of which is the title track "Midwinter" which Mackenzie wrote for this album. If you're a fan of The Piano soundtrack then, like me, you'll love this track.
Recommended if you like: Christmas!
Image credit © Liz Maney | Album art by Britannie Bond Photography