Carols Too by Canada’s fabulous Celtic folkers Còig is a sequel to their 2015 Carols – at least the title of the album lets us use that word.
Since this blog didn’t exist in 2015, a few words on their previous Xmas album.
Carols quickly found its way to my ”best Xmas albums” list and remains there. It’s a joyful affair, with the band giving several ol’ Christmas horses – well, reindeers – a new lease of life. And it’s not done by any sleight of clever new arrangements or studio magic (not that I have anything against those) but by being fresh and honest and open. It’s a very, very nice breath of air and alternative to 99 % of seasonal music out there.
The faster tunes like I Saw Three Jigs (yep!) sparkle with the snow, the rendition of Bach’s Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring works stupendously well against all odds, and the warm, natural singing of Rachel Davis makes the well-worn songs like In The Bleak Midwinter and O Holy Night shine gently.
In the latter they discard all the operatic oomph the piece is usually performed with and go at it very, very delicately, and lo! Davis and the band uncover a new song inside the composition without actually changing anything. Quite a feat – and my favorite reading of the song ever 🙂
Carols Too is a fairly short album, with only 35 minutes running time, so it does feel a bit like a follow-up. But that’s saying nothing about its quality: for the most part, the album stands very well on its own. There are a couple of moments I’m not 100 % taken with (the solo piano version of Have Yourself a Merry… is nice but not more) but, then again, the opening The Spree We Had At Christmas is a grrreat reel set, the version of Ron Sexsmith’s Maybe This Christmas is very good – and Rachel Davis does her Xmas magic again by making Silent Night, of all things, sound meaningful and true instead of ”please not again”, and so on…
So, lots of Xmas goodies to enjoy on Carols Too, too! Rest ye merry, good folk, and play both albums back to back – that’s what I’ll be doing 🙂
Both Carols albums can be purchased and streamed at the Coig web site: