Autumn Sky - Review
The duo of Ritchie Blackmore and Candice Night have been making music as Blackmore's Night
for several years now. Their awesome renaissance music style mixed with electric guitars and other modern elements is a nice twist that people really have a hard time classifying.
This album continues to add to their long history of great releases that are accessible to such a wide audience. Fans of the various celtic, new age, rennaissance, medieval, folk and even a bit of gothic touches all can enjoy at leeast some selections from this band. Here they cover quite a wide range right on this one disc in the form of their latest album spanning fifteen of these creative tracks.
The album kicks off with festive soundscapes that bring to mind imagery of the green, cold Scottish countryside in this track appropriately named "Highland". Many listeners caught in the hustle and bustle of city-life can relate well with the lyrics as they tell the story of a desire for a simpler life in the highlands. Many tracks on the album bring out this feeling of festivities at a rennaissance fair with the games, dancing and up-beat folk music. As we move across this piece and throughout the album with "Journeyman (Vandraren)" with it's mixture of flute and pipes and the festive "Song and Dance" we get this ongoing feeling of being in the middle of a large medieval or celtic party. Each of these tracks has just enough of that touch of the fairy world and upbeat folk music to keep the soul light and happy and be interesting and accessible to a wide audience.
The album is divided roughly about half and half between this festive music and slower ballads. "Vagabond (Make a Princess of Me)" is the first of these with a definite rennaissance folk sound to it that many readers and listeners here can really enjoy with the excellent guitar work mixed with various period instruments to make the sound authentic. "Believe In Me" and others throughout the album carry on this feeling and somewhat ethereal style. A couple of pieces venture into a sort of "country" feeling, most notable is "Celluloid Heroes" which is probably my least favorite track on the album. Much of the classic country music has it's roots in celtic, so this is understandable how it can appear here, but it stands out from the others on the album and can easily be skipped. As the album winds down we get a good mixture of the festive and more downtempo ballads. With this nice variety the album comes to a close with a folk ballad "Barbara Allen" to finalize it all. This is a great album for fans of celtic, fairy world music and a bit of medieval mixed in with the great guitar work that Ritchie Blackmore is famous for.
Winter Carols - Review
Here we have a special treat from this duo, with a style they've built on over the many years that they've been writing and creating their unique style of music.
They've taken this creative style and put together this excellent disc of a dozen holiday tracks as only they can do. The disc includes several songs that will be easily recognized as well as a cover of "Wish You Were Here" and their own piece "Christmas Eve". This should easily please fans of the holiday music that falls within the medieval, ethereal and renaissance musical styles.
From start to finish this album is captivating and fun to have, especially around this time of the year during the holiday season. Kicking it off is a medley of two standard tracks "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" and "Come All Ye Faithfull". With blaring trumpets and a moving beat, these set the festive mood for much of the album. These tracks make you feel like you've been transported back in time and you're right in the middle of a village fair dancing and singing along. "I Saw Three Ships" and "Lord of the Dance" are just a couple of these that capture this feeling perfectly and let's the imagination flow.
There are a few somber moods evident on the disc through more ethereal pieces like the beautiful instrumental piece "Winter (Basse Dance)" or the romantic piece "Wish You Were Here". But the way this group captures the essence of one of my all-time favorite holiday pieces "Emmanuel" is beyond all expectations. Candice uses her heavenly vocals to soar above the blissful music on this piece as the message and lyrics permeate the air with pure energy.
The unique piece "Christmas Eve" continues on in the festive moods of many other pieces with the addition of a great children's chorus which is always a nice touch for these holiday selections. The disc wraps up with possibly the most overplayed and over-coverd carol of all-time, "We Wish You A Merry Christmas". While I could have easily done without this piece on yet another holiday disc, of all the version I've heard, this is one of the best and probably most authentic in it's performance through this group's style. That finalizes the album and wraps up this review. I think this is a great addition to anyone's holiday music collection.
Label: Locomotive Records