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Margaret Dorn and The Accidentals “A Capella Holiday Classics” (LP)

It’s never too early to start planning your Christmas and holiday playlists. The newest addition to the slew of albums and tracks to move to the top of your wishlist is the glorious, albeit odyssey-level album, Margaret Dorn and The Accidentals’ A Capella Holiday Classics. A staggering 33 tracks, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of work. Moving the listener to-and-from the past and present, A Capella Holiday Classics casts a spellbinding sonic journey. Draped in voices that understand the true meaning and the heart of each song, Margaret Dorn and The Accidentals provide remarkable depth and vibrant experiences in these dreamy escapes.

The first batch of songs that includes “Angels We Have Heard On High”, “Away In A Manger”, “Balulalow” and “Bring A Torch, Jeanette Isabella” set the stage for the always grand, regal sounding voices. “Bring A Torch, Jeanette Isabella” is a traditional French Christmas selection, and the group will present a few others in the album. I found it quite lovely that Margaret Dorn and The Accidentals didn’t just take on contemporary American songs. They offer a wide array of sounds and spiritual takes. The beauty in their voices is palpable.

From there, “Carol Of The Bells”, “Deck The Halls”, “Ding Dong! Merrily On High” and “Frosty The Snowman” put on a show. At this point in the album, it feels like a true holiday mix. You have some songs that haven’t been heard in decades, and you have family favorites. Each tune has a gripping arrangement that never goes too far off the original path. I think they take some liberties with the harmonies, but overall, the true intent of the original (in my opinion) is intact. The voices are delicate and goldenrod. That doesn’t mean they aren’t strong and confident – “Carol Of The Bells” is especially powerful.

URL: http://www.theaccidentals.com/members/margaretdorn.html

Then it’s onto “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen”, “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”, “I Wonder As I Wander”, “I’m Not Going Home For Christmas” and “In Dulci Jubilo”. The happiness continues to unfold and their voices become almost one. The song “I Wonder As I Wander” has been covered by such iconic voices as Linda Ronstadt, Lindsey Stirling and more. It’s a traditional American folk carol, and Margaret Dorn and The Accidentals take the baton and elevate the sound even more.

The fun and the sacredness continues with Christmas staples and traditional folklore/hymns  “Jingle Bells”, “Joy To The World”, a medley, “O Come, All Ye Faithful”, “O Little Town Of Bethlehem”, “O Tannenbaum”, “Patapan”, “Rudiana”, “Silent Night”, “The Christmas Song”, “The First Noel”, “The Hallejuah Chorus”, “The Last 12 Days Of The World”, “The Wassai Song”, “The Gift”, “Total Pulchra”, Ubi Caritas”, “What Child Is This” and finally, “Winter in Manhattan”. It can be an exhausting list to hit all of the songs, but my cup runneth over with satisfaction in listening to each. These songs build you up, they don’t take. They give. Margaret Dorn and The Accidentals are definitely a vocal group to keep on your radar.

Samuel Pratt

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