Category Archives: Christmas Music

Songs of Christmas from Russell Lee

Russell LeeRussell Lee is a tried-and-true Canadian guitar player and singer. The Winnipeg-based artist keeps busy with album releases, playing major events, and promoting a recent project called Songs Of Christmas. If you like Blue Rodeo, Jackson Browne, Johnny Cash, or John Denver, I think you’ll appreciate the sound of Russell Lee’s voice on songs like “Little Drummer Boy,” “We Three Kings,” and “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.”

For Russell Lee, music is a true calling and a fundamental way of life.

Embracing the power found when honest songwriting meets professional musicianship, Russell has released three well-received albums. Entertaining Canadian audiences with the help of some very talented band mates, Russell Lee’s live shows are enjoyed by many people.

While living in Nova Scotia back in 2005, Russell wrote and recorded his first album titled In The Night. While it received some radio airplay, a few years later, in 2008, Russell decided to get a new perspective in a new place. He moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba, where he continues to write and play music today.

Russell LeeIn September 2015, he released his second album titled What Do I Do, and has been busy promoting this emotionally charged and beautifully honest album. It has what I’d call that “classic Canadian prairies sound.” 

Not one to rest too long on his previous projects, Russell Lee went back into the recording studio and came out with a brand new Christmas album titled Songs Of Christmas, available through his website here.

Meanwhile, Russell recently performed a full set-list at the world-renowned Dauphin, Manitoba CountryFest, an honor not many musicians get to share.

As he straddles the lines between Country music, rock and folk, Russell Lee keeps it interesting. It never hurts to make a Christmas album, since it’s the kind of thing that only grows in popularity year after year. 

Rejoice by Abigail Winzer features the duduk

Rejoice is the new Christmas release from 16-year-old soprano Abigail Winzer. Even though it’s only October when I write this, one listen to Winzer belting out “O Holy Night” and I’m ready to put up my Christmas tree and usher in the holiday season. It’s that good!

Rejoice
Rejoice includes seven classic Christmas songs great for playing while assembling and decorating your Christmas tree this year. There’s the gentle “What Child Is This?” Also listen for the mysteriously haunting version of “Silent Night.” The Celtic instrumentation, coupled with the use of a unique instrument called the duduk, helps take these Christmas songs to “another place.” These are high-quality, musically-intriguing arrangements.

Now about the duduk…

Honestly, I had to look up what a duduk was– it’s not common these days. Have you heard of it ’til now? A duduk is an ancient double-reed woodwind flute made of apricot wood. Indigenous to Armenia, the duduk creates a rich, haunting sound. Indeed it does. Musician Arsen Petrosyan does it well on Winzer’s recordings.

Winzer’s goal was to create a holiday album that people would describe as “peaceful and relaxing.” She succeeded. She re-imagines other Christmas classics on Rejoice, including “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” “The First Noel,” “O Come All Ye Faithful,” and “O Come O Come Emmanuel.” All of these songs are a delight to the ears.

Rejoice

Winzer, a North Carolina native, got her start singing in her church choir. As a teen, she received vocal training from Sara Jackson of the Boston Conservatory. Also, she attended the Fine Arts Summer Academy in Nashville. There she ended up singing on stage at the Grand Ole Opry with Country singer Josh Turner. Now, with her debut, Abigail Winzer is ready to start her own solo career as a singer. Finally, check her lovely sound out here so you can be one of the people to say, “I knew her before she was famous!”