I have a confession to make – I truly love Christmas songs and Christmas albums so it was with total joy that I heard Rachael Sage had released a holidays EP, aptly named Joy. It’s a holidays album because it also encompasses Hanukkah, also being celebrated at the moment.
It’s a tricky thing to bring something new to Christmas music but that is exactly what Sage does with her cover of the classic Joy To The World. Weaving together her proven sounds of folk, pop, and jazz, Sage brings new life to such a joyful song; indeed, my overwhelming emotion when listening (and I can’t stop listening) is joy. Sage’s vocals are crystal clear and she certainly knows how to arrange a song to suit.
Tchatchkes and Latkes is one of Sage’s own songs and is lively and tongue in cheek, originally being written for Rachael’s Joe’s Pub shows. It’s pure, unadulterated fun, definitely passing the ‘have to get up and dance’ test. The second Hanukkah song, Hanukkah in the Village, a favourite with Rachael’s many fans is also beautiful:
Wonderfully evocative, the song takes you all around New York City in three minutes and makes you feel like you’re actually experiencing the holiday season there. If I didn’t want to visit New York at this time of year before, I do now!
The most interesting track on the EP is the Yiddish ballad, and Rachael’s first Yiddish recording, Umru Meine, which debuted earlier this year at Skirball Center For The Performing Arts, where she sang it alongside Tovah Feldshuh, David Hyde Pierce and other Broadway performers as part of a National Yiddish Theatre gala event. This is a cover but again, with Sage’s own arrangement suited to her style and you can feel Sage really connecting to the language.
Joy is available to download here:
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