Blog Critics Magazine Review


Music Review: Blackmore’s Night – Winter Carols
Written by Anna Creech
Published December 07, 2006

In the late 1990s, British rocker Ritchie Blackmore decided he wanted to create a Renaissance rock band. Along with his fiancée, vocalist and songwriter Candice Night, he recruited a band of talented musicians from around the world. The end result is the creatively named Blackmore’s Night, and they have recently released their eighth album, Winter Carols.

The album is a mix of traditional Christmas hymns and carols, with a few other seasonal tunes thrown in. For example, the Hanukkah song “Ma-O-Tzur” makes an appearance, as well as the non-seasonal but still appropriate “Lord of the Dance/Simple Gifts.” I think the instrumental “Winter (Basse Dance)” is a Blackmore’s Night original, along with “Wish You Were Here” and “Christmas Eve.”

“Hark the Herald Angels Sing/Come All Ye Faithful” opens the album with a fairly traditional orchestral production of the first tune and features Night’s dulcet vocals. Blackmore comes in after the first verse and chorus with a classic rock electric guitar solo that leads into the second tune. The rendition of “Come All Ye Faithful” is given more of a classic rock treatment than “Hark,” including plenty of keyboard flourishes and a driving rhythm.

“I Saw Three Ships” drops the classic rock element entirely and is presented in a Renaissance style. Following this is the “Winter (Basse Dance)” instrumental, which is performed on an acoustic guitar with a hint of orchestral strings and flute in the background. The next few songs are given much the same treatment, and it is not until the last few songs that the wailing of an electric guitar is heard again, and even then it’s only there to add a bit of texture to “Wish You Were Here” and lead the song out.

I highly recommend adding Winter Carols to your Christmas music collection. It is a pleasant change from the cheesy grocery store checkout lane selections and mall muzak that consumers are subjected to every year, and it will fit in nicely with your more traditional Christmas albums. I know my copy is going into the five disc shuffle along side albums from Kim Robertson, Kathy Mattea, Amy Grant, Anonymous 4, and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.


Piercing Metal Review


Ritchie Blackmore is now firm and focused on Renaissance and Medieval music and together with his wife, the lovely Candice Night and their merry band of minstrels, brings you a Holiday album unlike any other. “Winter Carols” is an album that takes a number of the classic Christmas standards and blends their basics and warm melodies with their Renaissance flair. The beautiful voice of Candice is complimented by Blackmore’s guitar work along with the flutes, horns, and bagpipes that are often used to majestic success and make songs like “Lord Of the Dance/Simple Gifts” one of the most powerful numbers on the release. Other standout numbers were “I Saw Three Ships” and “Good King Wenceslas” as they hold such a spirited feel and seem a perfect fit under this setting. There are some slower, more vocal and acoustic guitar based numbers like “Ding Dong Merrily On High” and of course the straight guitar instrumentals “Winter” and together the whole album brings an overall warmth on a cold and blustery day. This charming recording is just perfect for those holiday occasions with friends and family as you gather in front of a warm fire and revisit good times of the past while raising your glass to the future. It is different from that which you will experience in the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, but on the whole is a truly enjoyable piece of music that works best for the season.


In The New York Times


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


Review – Metal Exiles

Blackmore’s Night – Winter Carols – Locomotive


Christmas albums are a dime a dozen but when You have a legend such as Ritchie Blackmore performing them, it is a different story. Teamed with his wife Candice Night they have created an excellent piece of old world art that puts the Christmas music squarely back in the 1600’s. Ritchie’s superb playing ability through songs like Winter, We Three Kings and Lord of The Dance will keep his long time fans glued to their speakers. It is always a pleasure to review Blackmore’s Night material as I am never left disappointed and the Christmas material is no exception. To listen to Candice interpret the words to classic Christmas songs is a special gift itself and a pleasure to listen to. Even if you do not like Christmas music this is a must if you are a Blackmore’s Night fan.

Jeffrey Easton