Written by Lauren Rosier
The Vancouver native, Norine Braun, unveils her twelve studio album, December Falls, just in time for Christmas. On this record, she creates holiday songs with a bluesy-rock feel, with elements of various genres that show her versatility.
The opening track, “Solstice,” isn’t your traditional Christmas carol. In fact, her lyricism truly illustrates what one can imagine a “winter wonderland” might look like. Her voice gives the song a bluesy, rock, and roll feel, too, which is different than what I’m used to hearing.
The instrumentation throughout “Solstice” is just perfect. The brass section goes so well with the track and her voice. In addition to the bluesy rock vibe, it kind of blends in elements of jazz music as well.
The lesser-known holiday track, “I Saw 3 Ships,” often has different versions. But I did not expect a Caribbean version! It’s so unexpected but so incredibly unique.
One of three original tracks on the album, “Mistletoe Blues,” is just an outright jam. It’s straight-up blues. It begins with her just singing over light instrumentation, but then the electric guitar and harmonica jump in to join the party. I love the way she’s able to incorporate contemporary blues with Christmas lyrics. It’s just fun and impressive.
The next track, “The Winter After Elvis Died,” opens with a beautiful brass section and then begins singing. Her vocals throughout the entire album are just impeccable. She sounds great and can sing well.
She puts her own spin on holiday classics like “Blue Christmas,” “Last Christmas,” and “O Christmas Tree/O Tannenbaum.”
I love the way she takes these holiday classics and gives them a little bit of a bluesy-rock vibe, while still allowing the original to shine through in its own way. On “Blue Christmas,” she changes up the tempo of the song a bit to make it a more upbeat song. The same is done on “O Christmas Tree/O Tannenbaum” where the tempo and arrangement a bit different than the original. But that is why it makes it so special.
She brings it on the song, “Put a Wreath On It Blues,” with classic blues vocals, a brass section, killer guitars, and of course, the harmonica.
Overall, this record is a great alternative to your traditional Christmas album. It’s not Bing Crosby or Andy Williams, but it’s something different.
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