Well, no sooner did David Ian's ultra-cool Vintage Christmas (here) step in through the front door than Chris Standring and Kathrin Shorr's Send Me Some Snow stole in through the back. Where Ian's masterful effort was spare, chill, and sparklingly almost Satie-ish, Standring & Shorr's CD takes the swing factor steps further with a warmer fuller sound behind Shorr's oft Rickie Lee Jones-esque voice. The really interesting element here, though, is the fact that every single cut was written by the pair, and each one is solid and festive, excellent new additions to the traditional holiday season.
Standring's guitar is non-grandstanding but very Grant Geissmanesque when it pops up above the band. His keyboards are likewise unprepossessing, not at all in your face, but it's in his arrangements that the reason for this self-effacement is found: the string quartet charts, for instance, are incredibly subdued, transforming violins, viola, and cello into almost a single voice perfectly gliding as an almost choral accompaniment, occasionally wafting above, Mantovani with brains. Kathrin Shorr's voice is undeniably the front instrument here, and her slightly raw edge (that Rickie Lee thing!) puts a rural aspect to the affair, but Standring's charts are rather fetching in equal measure.
You'll have to read the liner notes to figure out that the coolest cut of a CD full of very attractive tracks, Naughty or Nice, is just a trio effort, simul-synched of course, a mischievous kid's song of misadventures regretted when thoughts of Santa and his gift-giving begin to arise as the snows begin to fall. This song would've made a great Sesame Street song, a wry cautionary bit of moralism that neither insults nor pontificates but reminds us that kids are kids and even they have a tough time making choices as life proceeds. Everything about this album, in short, is intelligent, highly entertaining, seasonally provocative, and a damn sight better than all that shlaga you'll soon be seeing dragged out on TV for the umpteen millionth time. So do yourself a favor and ashcan all that nonsense, settling into this disc with a cup of mulled wine, a roaring fire, and a significant other to pass an evening of reminiscence, merriment, and smiles.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2011, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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