Thursday, December 23, 2010

Sarah Dawn Finer - Winterland (review)

End of this year gave some albums I haven't managed to talk about yet and I hope to fix this before the end of month starting from Sarah Dawn Finer's splendid Christmas album "Winterland" that has already reached #2 in Sweden.
When Sarah announced in the first half of year that she was going to release acoustic album it was clear that it's gonna be good album and when later she revealed that it will be Christmas album there were no doubt left it will be fantastic and it hasn't disappointed at all becoming big beautiful Christmas story with 14-chapters - fragile fairytale gently purred with Sarah's sweet timber.
Album starts from "I'll Be Home For Christmas" classic mix of soul and Christmas ballad that demonstrates whole mood of this album with waving instrumentals and mostly soft Sarah's vocal that rarely gets high and strong here as if it can break fragile atmosphere of the album. Album has its core and it doesn't break strict distance but sometimes it's a bit more country, sometimes it's more classic, sometimes it's more gospel. Talking about highlights undoubtfully it's utterly touching "Maybe This Christmas" with Sarah's voice clicking all the necessary feelings - all the sadness and love of this song. "The Christmas Song" is track that just can't be covered bad and this smiling relaxing warm remake is not exception and could easily top collection of its best covers. Sarah McLahan's "Angel" is one of the most pleasant surpises of the album, you get it completely different with original, it's less impressive, it has huge Sarah's personality in every note and it's not less adorable than McLachlan's version, it's beautiful in it's own way. You can actually hear Sarah Dawn Finer's slight inspiration from Sarah McLachan in some songs like epic "In The Bleak Midwinter". Another surprising (or not?) song-choise is Scottish traditional "Auld Lang Syne" that is sung in Scottish by Eric Bibb - truly anthemic track. On the album you can find as well original song "I'll Be Your Wish Tonight" - calm piano-based ballad with gospell touch and chorus feeling like classic anthem. Duet "Winter Song" with Louise Hoffsten feels like the darker track with war drums, harmonica but thin melodic rays of light, the same complicated mood of everything sad and happy left before another Christmas border you can listen in beautiful Joni Mitchell's "River". Earlier Sarah performed Louis Armstrong's hit "What A Wonderful World" and on this album of different experiments and mixed genres and emotions it feels like something more poppier and straight. The album finishes with bonus-track "Karleksvisan" (Swedish version of "For A Friend" from previous Sarah's album "Moving On") and though in the beginning of the Summer when it was released there weren't any information about Christmas album you realize it track was just made to enter this album.
Tomorrow SVT will show Sarah's Christmas concert and though right now I can't give guarantee that it will be available ouside of Sweden but it has already got the link on SVT Play so check it tomorrow in 20.00 by Swedish time and follow our twitter for information about it. Right now you can check some Sarah's live performances with tracks from the album and convince yourself that you should buy it right away if you haven't done it yet.

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