The Sounding Joy: Christmas Songs In and Out of the Ruth Crawford Seeger Songbook

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Fred Thomas
With a crystal-clear voice and an encyclopedic knowledge of music history, Elizabeth Mitchell is a somewhat unlikely but completely essential children's music performer. Instead of offering cloying, repetitive nursery rhymes, Mitchell makes records with all the craft, awe, and nuance of the classic artists who inspired her from her early indie days on down the path that led her to her tenure with the Smithsonian Folkways label and collaborations with folk stalwarts like Dan Zanes. Sounding Joy: Christmas Songs in and Out of the Ruth Crawford Seeger Songbook is more evidence of Mitchell's unique and meticulous talents, collecting her inventive arrangements of 24 holiday ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Fred Thomas
With a crystal-clear voice and an encyclopedic knowledge of music history, Elizabeth Mitchell is a somewhat unlikely but completely essential children's music performer. Instead of offering cloying, repetitive nursery rhymes, Mitchell makes records with all the craft, awe, and nuance of the classic artists who inspired her from her early indie days on down the path that led her to her tenure with the Smithsonian Folkways label and collaborations with folk stalwarts like Dan Zanes. Sounding Joy: Christmas Songs in and Out of the Ruth Crawford Seeger Songbook is more evidence of Mitchell's unique and meticulous talents, collecting her inventive arrangements of 24 holiday tunes, Christmas carols, and children's songs from Seeger's 1953 songbook American Folk Songs for Christmas. Rather than the typical sleepy or overly serious renditions of well-known Christmas songs, Mitchell's readings come through with bright curiosity, adventurous instrumentation, and the understated sense of playful humor that flows through her whole catalog. Soulful, gospel-tinged tunes like "Baby Born Today" and the raving "January, February (Last Month of the Year)" are paired with somber, snowy string arrangements on "Ain't That A-Rockin' All Night" and the glisteningly eerie harp of "Sing Hallelu." Though over an hour of material, the lengthy running time never drags, but flows through various modes of sound, from icy, Björk-like minimal arrangements to full-on barn rock takes on Christmas tunes à la the Band. Mitchell is joined by her husband and longtime creative partner, Daniel Littleton, on most songs, as well as their daughter Storey, not to mention a host of folk luminaries such as John Sebastian, Amy Helm, Dan Zanes, Natalie Merchant, and even Peggy Seeger. The thoughtful arrangements, production, and choice of material results in a one-of-a-kind Christmas album, its warm and timeless air so strong and carefully assembled that it's easy to forget it's a holiday-themed album at all.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/15/2013
  • Label: Smithsonian Folkways
  • UPC: 093074507421
  • Catalog Number: 745074
  • Sales rank: 199,928

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Elizabeth Mitchell Primary Artist, Harmonium, Vocals
Peggy Seeger Guitar, Vocals
Happy Traum Guitar, Vocals
John Sebastian Harmonica, Vocals
Gail Ann Dorsey Vocals
Larry Campbell Banjo, Mandolin
Warren Defever Bass, Guitar
Lyn Hardy Vocals
Molly Mason Dulcimer, Bass
Natalie Merchant Vocals
Abby Newton Cello
Jay Ungar Banjo, Fiddle, Violin, Viola
Chris Wood Bass, Vocals
Joan Osborne Vocals
Dan Zanes Harmonica, Vocals
Ruthy Ungar Fiddle, Vocals
Teresa Williams Vocals
Clem Waldmann Percussion, Drums
Michael Littleton Vocals
Amy Helm Vocals
Byron Isaacs Guitar, Upright Bass
Anna Padgett Vocals
Marco Benevento Piano
Aoife O'Donovan Vocals
Michael Merenda Banjo, Vocals
Jean Cook Violin
Kirsten Jacobson Flute, Piano
Daniel Littleton Guitar, Harmonica, Percussion, Piano, Harmonium, Vocals, Xylophone, Kalimba, Bells
Suzan-Lori Parks Harmonica, Vocals, Washboard
Storey Littleton Vocals, Hand Clapping
Nancy Chusid Bass Recorder
Penny Littleton Vocals
Simi Stone Vocals
Mike Merenda Banjo
Sophia Reynolds Vocals
Ken Ejinkonye Vocals, Hand Clapping
Emily Schaad Viola
Elizabeth Jerez-Clarke Harp
Technical Credits
Peggy Seeger Adaptation
Warren Defever Producer, Engineer
Justin Guip Engineer
Natalie Merchant Liner Notes, Annotation
Scott Petito Engineer
Elijah Walker Engineer
Elizabeth Mitchell Arranger, Producer, Liner Notes, Annotation
Pete Reiniger Mastering
Paul Antonell Engineer
D.A. Sonneborn Executive Producer
Chris Edwards Engineer
Michael Littleton Arranger
Sonya Cohen Cramer Art Direction, Layout
Kirsten Jacobson Arranger
Daniel Littleton Arranger, Producer, Liner Notes, Annotation
Daniel Goodwin Engineer
Brian Selznick Cover Art
Daniel E. Sheehy Executive Producer
Adam Armstrong Engineer
Guthrie Lord Engineer
Bella Blasco Engineer
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