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Jay Ungar & Molly Mason Family Band

A Fiddler's Holiday – 2012 (Rounder)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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CDs by Jay Ungar & Molly Mason Family Band

Snowstorm, where the Jay Unger & Molly Mason Family Band is backed by the University of May Washington's Philharmonic Orchestra for a moody, chilly wintertime song, gives the clue that this isn't a predictable holiday set. In fact, with the inclusion of Lights of Chanukah included, it's fair to say this isn't even strictly a Christmas album. Instead, it might be more accurate to term it a seasonal album, instead, especially with the aforementioned Snowstorm, as well as A Rovin' on a winter's Night and The Solstice Set.

The addition of Ashokan Farewell, that haunting melody from Ken Burns' Civil War documentary, certainly shouldn't shout 'Let's party, it's the holidays!' for anyone - at least anyone in their right mind.

However, you've never heard Silent Night until you've experienced this album's closing number, Silent Night Two Step, which uses that familiar melody, but turns it into a kind of Cajun, New Orleans dance number, complete with an orchestra and a prominent tuba part. Play this loud and you might just find yourself dancing to Silent Night for the first time in your life. This may be night music, but it's a long way from being silent. Think of it as music to keep you warm on a cold winter's night.