Pointsettia Pearl 2:450:00/2:45
Put A Wreathe On It
"The blues continues and is strongest in the album’s original tracks, with Put A Wreath On It Blues really releasing the energy and natural vibrancy of a blues track. Harmonica wails and guitar is given free rein to go where it pleases, making for one of the best compositions, musically, on the record." Vinyl Chapters
Put A Wreath On It 5:110:00/5:11
Mistletoe Blues 4:220:00/4:22
The Winter After Elvis Died
Solstice (This Day the Sun Stands Still)
DECEMBER FALLS EARLY REVIEWS
Is that actually Christmas around the corner?!? With new COVID restrictions every week making the holiday season less and less conducive to gatherings, it's hard to imagine what the day will look like this year. But the Christmas spirit is indomitable. In one way or another, with stacks of deliveries and zoom call gatherings, we will celebrate like we always have. Christmas is this amazing yardstick of how life has changed and yet our little idiosyncratic traditions remain. Music has and will always be at the core of that.
Vancouver-based blues-rock singer Norine Braun has cooked up a Christmas album during her time in quarantine that offers up several swingin' new holiday-tinged tracks and peppers in her rowdy take on some old chestnuts. The veteran songstress' new tracks frame the season in a new way, shirking the traditional style much in the way rock n roll originally came in and rebranded the idea of Christmas by the likes of Brenda Lee and Elvis Presley. December Falls encapsulates the whole period of transition that comes with the new year, not just the day itself. God knows we're all ready for a transition!
The first track out of the gate 'Solstice (The Day the Sun Stands Still)' waxes about frosting landscapes and cozy rituals over jazz fusion chord changes. Smooth saxophone and a fluttering flute texturize Braun's ode to the shortest day of the year. Braun's Metis ancestry brings a holistic theme to the track appreciating nature's cycles and rejoicing in the coldest season of the year. Like stepping into a warm lodge and downing a couple of rum toddies, the album quickly takes on a tropical feel with Braun's Caribbean take on 'I Saw Three Ships'. Steel drums and half time drums put everyone at ease, ready for a sunny and loose Christmas party.
A whirling organ and trembling guitar score 'Mistletoe Blues'. Snappy slap guitar shoots back and forth with a snarling harmonica. Braun kneads and bends notes putting some funk and feel into the season. 'The Winter After Elvis Died' uses the King's death as a touchstone to echo back to the weird, wild circumstances of Braun's youth when she fell terribly ill. The lyrics are expertly woven with rhymes snaking around and whipping back again. A Clarence Clemons-style sax solo full of bravado and big soul carries out this Broadway-ready tune to the end. Roadhouse blues-rock tells the tale of the notorious 'Poinsettia Pearl', a barroom swinger.
Braun performs classics like 'Blue Christmas', 'O Christmas Tree/Oh Tannenbaum', Silent Night, and newer classic Wham's 'Last Christmas' with her same saucy flare. The title track opens with her a Capella singing to a windy gust, sinking smoothly into a textural, moody rock number with Johnny Marr guitars. Wistful without being too dour. 'Put a Wreath on it Blues' puts that Chicago swing on classic Christmas tropes. Braun's voice verges on a grind to match the railway harmonica.
Braun admirably performs enough Christmas standards to qualify it as a full-fledged Christmas album but the high points of the album are her original tracks. The new takes on the season not only give us new material for the holiday but reinvigorates the genre like songs like 'Santa Claus Wants Some Lovin' or 'Christmas All Over Again' do. This is an irregular Christmas, infuse it with some ballsy, bluesy rock n roll. 4/5 Jon C. Iverson Music-News
There’s such a lovely retro feel to this gorgeous, wintery Christmas album from Canadian artist Norine Braun. I reviewed her album “Through Train Windows” last year, which I loved. She has a beautiful, sultry, soulful voice - bluesy, hopeful and warm. So whatever she sings sounds wonderful, if I’m honest.
This is a brilliant collection of songs, Christmas classics, carols and plenty of really excellent originals too. In fact, my favorite Christmas song is even here, the much forgotten “I Saw Three Ships.” It reminds me so much of Christmas as a kid in England. "Silent Night" as well, all done in Norine’s own inimitable style - soulful, gentle, authentic. Nothing spangly or fake, over done or commercial. Just a great collection of music that would work in any setting…party, dinner, quiet evening with the family, Christmas morning as we tear open the presents!
Norine has a real KD Lang quality to her voice, with a little bit of Tracy Thorn from Everything But The Girl. There’s a distinct 80s vibe to this collections, it’s the song choice and also the gorgeous open production, the saxophone, the percussion, the unabashed joy and excellent musicians. Honestly, this is such a great album! I absolutely love it!!! And any time you can listen to “Last Christmas” is a very good day if you ask me and Norine's arrangement is sublime!!</span></p> <p><span class="font_large">Favorite song…”Solstice,” but I also love “I Saw Three Ships” of course! <strong>Samantha Simmonds-Ronceros North Hollywood Arts Distric
Hailing from Vancouver BC Canada, Norine Braun is a longtime artist who has won multiple awards, played in numerous festivals, and performed across various theaters, venues, and even at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games. For this upcoming holiday season, Braun is bringing back the old spirit of Christmas with her record <em>December Falls</em>. Featuring original and traditional songs, it’s an album that brings back the celebratory spirit of the holidays letting us savor the old norm in a year filled with chaos
“Winter is upon us now” declares Braun in the opener “Solstice.” It’s a broodily uplifting song that radiates the comforting hope of wrapping up another year while spending the long dark hours of the night reflecting. Braun takes a more upbeat approach in covering the British classic Xmas song “I Saw Three Ships.” In “Mistletoe Blues,” Braun’s croons bloom over the laidback melody that stretches with seasonal melancholia. The following piece, “The Winter After Elvis Died,” is an original hymn co-written by Braun that brings back 70s pop infused with jazzy elements where the sax evokes the spirit of Clarence Clemons.
“Pointsettia Pearl” is a bluesy rock song with stomping riffs as she waltzes around the decorative origins of the Poinsettia during the holiday season. It’s chic and edgy at the same time. Braun brings back the King again with her cover of 1964 song “Blue Christmas,” where her vocals soar over the country soundscape. The title track of the record “December Falls” is a blend of rock and pop filled with an undeniable sense of longing. The following ballad “Put A Wreath On It” is another original and has the raw, edgy tints of Americana on it where the harmonica interludes add a Spaghetti West vibe to it.
Braun kicks off “O Christmas Tree” with shimmering jingles and electric guitars, yielding a foot-stomping melody that feels perfect for a holiday march anthem. She gives us a bluesier version of the classic “Last Christmas,” where her silvery vocals flourish over the playful chords. “Christmas Bells” is a jazzy carol where the saxophone interludes give an eccentric twist to the son to be classic hit. The final piece “Silent Night” is not what you’ll expect – instead of taking a serene approach, Braun brings an upbeat flair to it with glistening guitar chords that add an unexpected zestful oomph. December Falls is an unconventional holiday album that brings a fresh take on the classic while also giving us new ballads to add to our Christmas playlist.December Falls will be out on December 4 - Aupium Reviews
December Falls has some of Vancouver’s finest musicians on board including: Adam Popowitz returning as producer and playing bass and lead guitar on the album. Elliot Polsky is on percussion and drums, Alice Fraser is on keys and harmony vocals. Huggybear Leonard on blues harp and penny whistle, Toby Peter spoken word, Brent Mah features on tenor sax and Norine plays rhythm guitar and vocals. Mixed and mastered at Rear Window Song and Sound. Thanks to a songwriting #showcasebc grant from CreativeBC that Norine received in response to the COVID pandemic, Norine authored 4 of her 7 original songs that appear in this new album written while in provincial lock down. Thanks for supporting independent artist! </span></p> <p><iframe allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ZvmRA6Jm9JA" width="560">
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Through Train Windows was inspired by Norine Braun’s cross Canada Riding the Rails tour as Artist On Board with partner Alice Fraser. Travelling over 6000 kilometres from Vancouver to Toronto, Ottawa, Quebec City, Montreal and Halifax, Norine absorbed the ever changing vast and beautiful panoramas from the Rocky Mountains to endless prairie sunsets, boreal forests and the Atlantic ocean. With no wifi and time to reflect on nature and the paradoxes of life, Norine met and communed with the diversity of fellow sojourners from all over Canada and around the world. Following the tour, as a Musician in Residence at Banff Centre for the Arts and Creativity, Norine wrote most of these compelling songs in her studio facing Sleeping Buffalo Mountain. So climb aboard, sit back and close your eyes let the rhythm of the train soothe and inspire while conjuring up feelings of nostalgia and dreams.
The multi talented and Juno nominated Adam Popowitz produced this album and also plays bass and lead guitar on the recordings. Adam produced Gone To The Spirits the album behind Norine's nomination for a Western Canadian Music Awards. Drummer Elliot Polsky returns as master percussionist, bluesmeister Huggybear Leonard on blues harp, Queen of the Trills Alice Fraser on elegant keys and saxophonist extraordinare Steve Hilliam who plays with such greats as Colin James and the R&B Allstars graces the album on 4 songs.