Put your Christmas albums on the shelves for a season and drop Seamus Egan’s gorgeous ode to the solstice Good Winter on the turntable. From the chiming keys on the album’s shimmering opening tune, “Of Winters Past,” to the meditative guitar plucking on the closing tune, the title track, Egan’s warm sonic architecture wraps around us with a snug quilt of sound, calming our souls in the midst of a season of busyness.
Gently tumbling piano notes flow into a river of bright finger-picked guitar notes on “Winter’s Traveler,” a swirling reel that brightly evokes a reflective sojourn down a snow-covered path. On her winter’s tale, “Mourning Dove,” Moira Smiley, who wrote the song, tenderly conveys a story of separation and love, solitude and closeness in layered vocals that spiral from the melancholic in the verses into the ethereal on the stirring chorus. She weaves her tremulous voice around and under Jenna Moynihan’s fiddle, pulling us into a maelstrom of emotion.
Egan’s fluid finger-picking leads the dance on “Apricity Waltz” as Moynihan’s fiddle first follows in pirouetting steps then takes the lead as Egan follows until the two are as one on the tune’s bridge. “On the Rone” percolates with the energy of a Pachelbel chamber suite, while the slowly meandering “By the River in the Woods” captures the slow steps of a traveler crunching ice underfoot by the slowly undulating river. Smiley’s and Kaia Kater’s shimmering vocals turn the traditional song “Watch the Stars” into an beautiful, heart-filling lullaby.
Egan’s Good Winter reminds us that the season, despite it fallowness, is a time when life is being restored; it’s a season for quiet reflection and for renewal for the eventual bursting forth of new life in the spring. Good Winter reminds us to slow down, embrace a slower rhythm of life, and breathe deeply, and these tunes guide us in that direction.
Good Winter is available HERE.