Christmas CD Review: Abigail Winzer: Rejoice (Independent: October 11th 2016)

CD Review:
Abigail Winzer: Rejoice
(Independent: October 11th, 2016)

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If you're in the market for a Christmas album, you'll want to check out Abigail Winzer's debut release, "Rejoice". At 16 years old, Abigail has a beautifully clear soprano that is suited for the timeless repertoire of carols.

Abigail sang in a church choir and trained at the Boston Conservatory at the age of 15. Her voice is complemented by unexpected arrangements that feature the duduk, Irish harp and other imaginative instrumentation such s Irish Whistle, soprano, alto and tenor recorder consort and lute as played by Celtic musician James Spalink.Award winning producer Michael Crittenden is reponsible for the atmospheric arrangements. Crittendon has worked with the likes Todd Rundgren, The Doobie Brothers, Hootie & the Blowfish, John McVey & Peter Frampton among others, and here he plays a variety of instruments including piano and acoustic guitar.International sacred music sensation, Arsen Petrosyan, is a master of the Armenian Duduk, which has a distinctive tone that works well with Abigail's voice.

With all that talent, it's no surprise that some of the highlights come from the purely instrumental arrangements - going from the passages like God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen and the extended opening of Silent Night - the duduk has a lovely, mournful quality that resonates through those passages.

This is not a period re-creation, nor an ultra-modern reinvention of the style; the arrangements are expansive and atmospheric. Neither is this a sing-along Christmas CD, but rather a stylistic interpretation of the material. O Come O Come Emmanuel is a highlight, where the voice and instruments are given equal weight and the combination adds depth to the song.
Abigail Winzer

Abigail's voice has a sweet edge to it that suits the Celtic vocal style, in full evidence on her nicely folky treatment of The First Noel. O Come All Ye Faithful is perhaps the most traditional of the arrangements, with the vocals in the spotlight.

Personnel: Abigail Winzer, Lead Vocals.  Michael Crittenden, Piano, Acoustic Guitar, Korg m3 Synthesizer, Yamaha P250, Hammond B3 Organ, Tubular Bells, Tamborine, Sleigh Bells, Celeste.  James Spalink, Irish Harp, Irish Whistle, Soprano-Alto-Tenor Recorder, Lute.  Brian Morrill, Cymbal Rolls.  Arsen Petrosyan, Duduk.

At such an youthful age, we can hope to hear much more of Ms Winzer in the years to come. Here's her cover of Burning House to give you a taste.