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Winter Solstice

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Album Review

Lovers of subdued, traditional acoustic Celtic holiday music will get the most out of this re-released sweetly conceived hammer dulcimer project, which, listeners are informed, is for Christmas, Chanukah, and the New Year's season, so as not to leave anyone out. The multi-instrumentalist's apparent intention is a small and simple production, with just enough whimsy to keep it interesting. He partakes in a lively, jig-flavored dulcimer/fiddle duet on the opening track (which combines two traditional hymns), then keeps the duet flavor going but slows down for a mournful "Erev Shel Shoshanim." That's the basic mood swing here, from simply joyful to more reflective, mixing originals with pieces like Handel's For Unto Us a Child Is Born. Folkies might prefer the vocal breaks by McCutcheon himself and the mini choir on "Star in the East."


Born: 14 August 1952 in Wausau, WI

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Known best for his prolific work in the field of children's music, John McCutcheon has consistently produced both quality children's albums and folk albums since the early '70s. McCutcheon is first and foremost an instrumentalist. Like thousands of others in the '60s, McCutcheon, a Wisconsin native, taught himself how to play a mail-order guitar and joined the local folk scene. His interest became more serious, however, when he sought to find the roots of this music. McCutcheon headed for Appalachia...
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Winter Solstice, John McCutcheon
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