The shining star of any Eileen Ivers release is her brilliant fiddle playing. She has all the range and sensitivity of a classical soloist, and the energy of the best trad Irish musicians. This new album showcases Ivers’ virtuosity, but more important, her musicianship definitely serves the classic Christmas songs she chose to record. For example, the fiddle is right out front for “Christmas Eve/Oiche Nollag/High Road to Linton (Reels),” but a more dense musical arrangement takes a back seat to some powerful, almost Nick Cave-like vocals on “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.” In “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring,” traditions are beautifully fused as choral singers provide an unusual-sounding backdrop to an Irish twist on Bach. And, of course, you can’t miss with a tender, solo violin version of “O Holy Night.” Ivers’ Irish Christmas is a joyful, welcome gift from a great champion of Celtic music.
Producer: Eileen Ivers. Engineer/mixer: Ben Wittman. Studio: Musical Bridge Studios. Mastering: Fred Kevorkian/Kevorkian Mastering (NYC).