Bluegrass and White Snow: A Mountain Christmas

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Barnes & Noble - David McGee
An album perfectly realized in all aspects, the holiday-themed Bluegrass & White Snow presents Patty Loveless's plaintive mountain voice at its heartrending best, setting it atop exquisite acoustic arrangements heavy on fiddles, guitars, and mandolins. Her selection of songs -- evergreens, if you will, and a couple of sensitive originals penned by Loveless and her producer/husband Emory Gordy Jr. -- evoke the spiritual underpinnings of the season more than the celebratory aspects. Stately, austere bluegrass renditions of "Away in a Manager," "Joy to the World," "The First Noel," "O Little Town of Bethlehem," and "Little Drummer Boy" emphasize the introspective nature...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David McGee
An album perfectly realized in all aspects, the holiday-themed Bluegrass & White Snow presents Patty Loveless's plaintive mountain voice at its heartrending best, setting it atop exquisite acoustic arrangements heavy on fiddles, guitars, and mandolins. Her selection of songs -- evergreens, if you will, and a couple of sensitive originals penned by Loveless and her producer/husband Emory Gordy Jr. -- evoke the spiritual underpinnings of the season more than the celebratory aspects. Stately, austere bluegrass renditions of "Away in a Manager," "Joy to the World," "The First Noel," "O Little Town of Bethlehem," and "Little Drummer Boy" emphasize the introspective nature of the approach here, but that's not to say there's no room for merriment. The Nashville Mandolin Ensemble spices up the proceedings with a joyous instrumental rendition of "Carol of the Bells," and Loveless's buoyant reading of "Christmas Time's a Comin' " brooks favorable comparison to Bill Monroe's and Emmylou Harris' timeless interpretations of Tex Logan's jubilant celebration of homecoming. Banjo and twin fiddles spark a toe-tapping account of "Christmas Day at My House," a Loveless-Gordy original, and Ricky Skaggs (on mandolin and background vocals) and Dolly Parton (background vocals) beautifully support Loveless's emotional reading of the album-closing title track, also from the Loveless-Gordy stable, which offers a poignant but upbeat recollection of Christmas in the bluegrass country. Pure of heart, simple and true in its aims, Bluegrass & White Snow ranks with the classic Christmas albums in any genre.
All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
In the wake of the success of the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack, with its traditional country and bluegrass music, Epic Records green-lighted Patty Loveless' plan to record an acoustic country album, and she earned critical kudos and respectable sales for 2001's Mountain Soul. Bluegrass and White Snow: A Mountain Christmas, her holiday follow-up, repeats the approach on a collection of traditional and original seasonal music. As with Mountain Soul, Loveless and her husband and producer, Emory Gordy, Jr., display their knowledge of bluegrass and mountain music, filling the tracks with mandolins, dobros, and fiddles, over which Loveless sings fervently in her Kentucky twang. But the songs on Mountain Soul tended to be ones written in the styles in which they were being played, whereas many of the Christmas carols heard here are being adapted to these arrangements. "Silver Bells," for example, isn't even a traditional song, but rather a composition by the Hollywood movie songwriters Jay Livingston and Ray Evans, and "Little Drummer Boy," another ringer, is given perhaps its first arrangement not to feature any drums. Meanwhile, in his pursuit of a mountain sound, Gordy isn't above eliminating his wife, whose name is on the front of the album: "Carol of the Bells" is an instrumental featuring the Nashville Mandolin Ensemble on which Loveless does not perform. The album is better, and sounds more authentic, on country-oriented material such as "Christmas Time's a Comin'" and "Beautiful Star of Bethlehem," and on the three new songs written by Loveless and Gordy, especially the up-tempo "Santa Town" and "Christmas Day at My House," which should have been sequenced earlier on the disc for better balance. So, while effective, the album is not as good as it could have been.
Entertainment Weekly - Chris Willman
One of the most rewarding country Christmases since Emmylou's. (A-)

One of the most rewarding country Christmases since Emmylou's. (A-)
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/29/2002
  • Label: Sony
  • UPC: 696998596726
  • Catalog Number: 85967

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Away in a Manger (2:50)
  2. 2 Silent Night (3:14)
  3. 3 Joy to the World - John Randall (2:12)
  4. 4 Carol of the Bells (2:36)
  5. 5 The First Noel (2:17)
  6. 6 The Little Drummer Boy - Rebecca Lynn Howard (3:54)
  7. 7 Silver Bells (3:21)
  8. 8 O Little Town of Bethlehem (3:46)
  9. 9 Christmas Time's A-Coming (3:36)
  10. 10 Santa Train (2:58)
  11. 11 Christmas Day at My House (2:25)
  12. 12 Beautiful Star of Bethlehem (3:22)
  13. 13 Bluegrass, White Snow (3:21)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Patty Loveless Primary Artist, sleigh bells, Train Whistle
Butch Baldassari Mandolin
Ricky Skaggs Mandolin, Background Vocals
Emmylou Harris Background Vocals
Dolly Parton Background Vocals
Trisha Yearwood Background Vocals
Amy Grant Background Vocals
Steve Gibson Banjo, Bouzouki, Guitar, Percussion, Mandola
Claire Lynch Background Vocals
Todd Cerney Mandolin
Stuart Duncan Fiddle, Mandolin, Mandocello
Vince Gill Mandolin, Background Vocals
Emory Gordy Bass, Guitar
John Hedgecoth Mandocello
Tim Hensley Mandolin, Background Vocals
Jim Horn Recorder
Rob Ickes Dobro
Van Manakas Mandolin
Alan O'Bryant Banjo
Carmella Ramsey Fiddle, Background Vocals
Deanie Richardson Fiddle, Mandolin
Bruce Sweetman Mandolin
Biff Watson Guitar, Hi String, Guitar (Baritone)
Stephan Dudash Mandolin
Gene Ford Guitar
Charlie Derrington Mandola
Rob Haines Mandolin
Jon Randall Mandolin, Background Vocals
Blake Williams Banjo, Bass
David Spicher Bass
Butch Lee Dobro, Percussion, Bass Drums, Bells, Wind Chimes, Glass
Technical Credits
Jim DeMain Mastering
Emory Gordy Arranger, Producer
Justin Niebank Engineer
Victoria Russell Creative Producer
Isaac Watts Composer
Paul Zonn Arranger
Lowell Mason Composer
Nashville Mandolin Ensemble Arranger
Beth Kindig Art Direction
Phillip Brooks Composer
William Sandys Composer
Traditional Composer
James R. Murray Composer
Deb Haus Art Direction, Artist Development
Lewis Redner Composer
Mykola Leontovych Composer
James R. Murray Composer
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