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Design By Humans
Published On: Mon, Jan 4th, 2021

Norine Braun: December Falls

Norine Braun
December Falls
(Norine Braun)

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The softly strummed guitar and sweetly layered atmospheric noodling of various wind instruments inform “Solstice (This Day the Sun Stands Still),” the opening track of Norine Braun’s new holiday offering December Falls.

Sly snare and island steel drums’ sound open Braun’s take of “I Saw 3 Ships.” A fun spoken word track by Toby Peter works well also in this perfect cover. The lady gets positively bluesy and delivers one of her better vocals here, on the brilliant “Mistletoe Blues,” Huggybear Leonard’s harp making this one so nasty (in a good way!) while Brent Mah’s tenor sax and Alice Fraser’s piano and harmony vocal make the sad torch song “The Winter After Elvis Died,” a gem.

Things get upbeat and 50’s rave rockin’ on “Poinsettia Pearl,” with Adam Popowitz’s leading kicking ass…his guitar playing, as much as the brilliant drumming of Elliot Polsky, is killer throughout these dozen songs.

The title track relies on another sly laidback beat of Braun’s players and her sing-it-close-to-her-chest vocal. With “Put A Wreathe On It Blues,” Braun once again manages to get nasty (and again, it’s so good) exuding sex for this holiest of holidays…I love it! And she manages a beautiful take on “O Christmas Tree/O Tannenbaum,” as Popowitz’s slide and Polsky’s stomp make this rendition unique.

A rockin’ “Silent Night” ends December Falls. It’s a decent version, featuring some solid harmonies and of course Braun’s band dropping in expertly, but lots of what’s come before it is so damn good, and better than this version of this classic.

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Norine Braun: December Falls