Rock / Alternative

7 Small Winter Songs

Artist: Rachel Taylor Brown

Produced by: Rachel Taylor Brown

Reviewed by Melissa Minners

            When I first World So Sweet, by Portland, Oregon musician Rachel Taylor Brown, I was immediately taken in by the hard-hitting social commentary of the album’s lyrics.  The music was great and so were the vocals, but it was the lyrics that grabbed me.  I couldn’t wait to hear more from this artist and, just in time for the holiday season (Merry Christmas to me!), I received notification of a new release from Rachel Taylor Brown - a small Christmas album entitled 7 Small Winter Songs.

            The album (more like an EP really) begins with Ivers & Pond, an instrumental piece featuring a beautifully played piano solo accompanied by a choir ooh-ing along with the music.  You can actually picture snow gently falling along a bridge or countryside blanketed in white.  All that and no lyrics - not a bad way to start things off.  The next track, Peacock Lane, is somewhat unsettling and much less Christmasy.  It describes a deserted Christmas light brightened street.  This is followed by Amsterdam, a song much more Christmasy in nature and describes snow falling on the city of Amsterdam as man calls to fellow man, capturing a sense of what the holiday season is about.

            The fourth track, Winter, is a playful song in which the singer thinks back to winters of her youthful home.  Song for the Goy comes next and has a sad tinge to it.  Rachel Taylor Brown’s vocals on this track are haunting as she sings about decorations and children singing about Christmas.  The following song is entitled Bethlehem, NY, but that’s only one area in which it “snows in winter” as we are informed. The final track, December, is a hauntingly beautiful song to round things off.

            The music found on 7 Small Winter Songs are really small bits of poetry set to beautiful piano compositions.  The album apparently began as a competitive challenge suggested to a friend in which they would try to write ten holiday songs in a day.  The friend declined to participate, but Rachel Taylor Brown proceeded with the challenge anyway and wrote ten songs, but only actually recording seven.  They are short and sweet and often times a little sad, but definitely fit the holiday setting, painting a picture of Christmas lights illuminating snow-covered streets and comfort-filled homes decorated in Christmas finery.  7 Small Winter Songs is a definite must for a Rachel Taylor Brown fan who just also happens to be a fan of the holidays.


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