A Trove of Holiday CDs, From the Merry to the Morose
The impulse to make a holiday album can strike at any point in a performer’s career: as a way to get noticed, a quick follow-through to early success, a diversion between larger efforts, an iconoclastic joke, occasionally even a testament to faith. Familiar songs are reworked, with or without twists, alongside a few new ones. Here, music critics of The New York Times review the year’s most notable new holiday albums.
BLACKMORE’S NIGHT: ‘WINTER’S CAROLS’ (Locomotive). The guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, when in Deep Purple, played the ”Smoke on the Water” riff. But with his band of the last decade, Blackmore’s Night — featuring his wife, Candice Night, as singer — he’s gone into Renaissance music. Not purist style, on period instruments, but mellow folk-pop for the bodice-tightening set. This album, almost all the ”Good King Wenceslas” type of repertory, is straight-down-the-middle comfort music, O fair ladies. Light a candle, meditate on your coat of arms and pop it on. BEN RATLIFF