Smithfield Fair | The Winter Kirk

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Folk: Scottish Traditional World: Celtic Moods: Spiritual
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The Winter Kirk

by Smithfield Fair

The spiritual majesty and passion of Scottish sacred music and the strength of a Highland kirk (church) service, from traditional sources with contemporary drive in an acoustic and vocal setting.
Genre: Folk: Scottish Traditional
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. What Shall I Give Him?
0:55 $0.99
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2. Child In The Manger
3:36 $0.99
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3. Taladh Chriosta
4:25 $0.99
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4. The Lord's My Shepherd
3:53 $0.99
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5. The Apple Tree/Midwinter Awakening
3:35 $0.99
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6. Not In Vain
3:24 $0.99
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7. Abide With Me
3:15 $0.99
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8. Meet It Were To Praise Him
4:59 $0.99
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9. We Three Kings
4:02 $0.99
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10. God of Grace & God of Glory
5:14 $0.99
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11. Be Thou My Vision
2:30 $0.99
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12. Balloo, Lammy
2:37 $0.99
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13. Lord of the Highlands
3:17 $0.99
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14. Deck the Halls
2:15 $0.99
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15. Once in Royal David's City
1:28 $0.99
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16. The Lord's Prayer/What Child Is This
3:13 $0.99
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17. Silent Night
3:33 $0.99
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18. Amazing Grace
1:22 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Smithfield Fair was born in the traditions of Scottish culture and retains links to the small Highland village of their origins.

Yet, as Scots living in America, they have been influenced by a myriad of styles - pop, jazz, spiritual, rock, and classical.

Their music takes the time-honoured songs of the Scottish Highlands and fuses it with intricate harmonies and contemporary driving rhythms.

For an acoustic trio, they have an expansive and powerful sound.

Throughout their 13 years, critics have continually lauded the group for their ability to enfuse traditional material with contemporary freshness, and create new works perfectly companionable to the ancient songs.

They remain an active touring group, returning to Scotland whenever possible.

The Winter Kirk is the group's fifth CD and features a collection of sacred songs and some seasonal works.

Underscoring their strong vocal work is a finely woven accompaniment of guitars, mandolin, accordion, bodhran, percussion, bagpipes, and whistles.

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Reviews


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Dave Soyars, Dirty Linen

Harmonies are exquisite!
Featuring husband, wife and nephew with various and sundry relatives as guests, the Smith family’s religious tribute to the Christmas holiday is an engaging one for Christian or non-Christian alike. Though based mostly on songs of Scottish (and some Welsh) tradition, there is a great amount of diversity within that, from “What Shall I Give Him,” a lyric by Jan Smith based on a Christina Rossetti poem and set to the tune of the traditional “Ash Grove,” to the one secular song, “Deck the Halls,” which they play and sing with as much enthusiasm as the religious material. Three familiar tunes end the CD: a lovely version of “What Child Is This” linked with “The Lord’s Prayer,” spoken with great diction and engaging Scots brogue by Tom Murray Sr., a version of “Silent Night” sung by their 11-year old daughter, and the perhaps inevitable but no less perfect finale, a bagpipe version of “Amazing Grace.” Traditional tunes abound, but the original songs sit comfortably side by side with them in a style influenced by traditional hymns rather than modern gospel or Christian rock, and even the traditional songs are often arranged in a fresh way or set to new tunes or lyrics. The playing, particularly Dudley-Brian Smith’s mandolin playing, is wonderful, and the harmonies are exquisite, particularly on the traditional Scottish folk song “The Apple Tree.”
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Dan Willging, Offbeat Magazine

A beautiful body of work that invites reflection.
Take note – though there are a few Christmas selections, this is hardly a seasonal album. Rather, the focus here is sacred songs normally heard at church services and special occasions such as the Kirking of the Tartans; a family celebration often witnessed at Highland Games festivals. What makes such an introspective subject so viable revolves around how Smithfield Fair rolls it all into one cohesive whole. While there’re Kirking favorites such as “The Apple Tree,” there are also centuries old traditionals such as the soothing “Abide With Me” and the droning “Balloo, Lammy.” In between, there’re a few cool Yules (“Wee Three Kings,” “Deck The Halls”) that are interspersed such that the Christmas theme doesn’t naturally dominate. A sense of Scottish worship also prevails as Scotsman Tom Murray, Sr., cites the “23rd Psalm” and “The Lord’s Prayer” in a Broad Scots with an accent that’s as thick as the murkiest bog. For a mere trio, collectively they play an entire music store’s worth of instruments. The harmony vocals are another strong point, subtle by reassuring, which adds to the reverence of the spiritual selection. The diversely culled material and the widely varying arrangements allow each track to differ significantly from is predecessor, resulting in many a tireless listen. Jan may play her gliding accordion on one track, only to handle lead vocals or interweaving piano lines later. Additionally, the Smith’s 10-year old daughter Margaret adds an angelic presence on “Silent Night” and “Taladh Chriosta,” a haunting hymn from the Hebridean Islands. A beautiful body of work that invites reflection.
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Lynne Remick, Rambles Cultural Arts

The True Spirit of Christmas
Smithfield Fair warms the heart and kindles the spirit in this fabulous collection of Celtic church and Christmas songs. The Winter Kirk, Smithfield Fair's fifth Celtic musical production, results from requests for a recording of songs performed at religious services and events such as the Kirking of the Tartan. This fine selection of Scottish, Irish and Welsh traditional hymns and folk songs sparkle and shine like the lights on a Christmas tree. "Child in a Manger", "We Three Kings," "Deck the Halls," "Silent Night," "Lord of the Highlands," "What Child is This" and "Amazing Grace" represent just a few of the stars on this disc. However, this excellent blend of musical and vocal talent should not be dismissed as a "family sing-along." In The Winter Kirk you will find the true spirit of Christmas -- faith, hope, love and last, but not least, family.
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Lawrence Long, Traditions Magazine, UK

Unusual, fascinating, unexpected.
This is possibly the most unexpected record I have heard. You probably know what you would expect from a record produced in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Cajun, right? Wrong! I suppose - though only after initial surprise - that if Britain is awash with Cajun and zydeco bands, there is no reason why Louisiana should not produce 'A collection of sacred and Scottish seasonal songs.' After all, the Smith family involved in this record are McLaurins of Appin (Argyll) - and they are certainly keeping up their tradition. The singing style is reminiscent of other folk-based families, such as a smaller-scale Rankin Family. This is nevertheless a wide spectrum, varying from a fine rendering, in speech and song, of funeral favorite 'The Lord's My Shepherd' to traditional carols. While some..are instantly recognizable, there are a few surprises, even for those who know Scottish and Christian traditions. 'What Shall I Give Him?' adapts Christina Rosetti to the 'Ash Grove' tune; 'Child in the Manger' goes to a well-known morning hymn tune; and you can also spot other sources including the hymn known here as 'Lord of the Highlands'. I particularly liked 'Abide With Me', a serious rendition at a tempo faster than the usual dirge - after all, it's supposed to be uplifting. Perhaps it would still have been part of the F.A. Cup Final community singing at this speed. This album, though all of a piece, may be felt by some listeners to vary too widely in content to hear at one sitting. It is nevertheless a highly unusual and fascinating record.
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Deborah Berger, Celtic Beat Magazine

A joy to listen to
The music has a magical quality to mesmerize the listener. … a joy to listen to.
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Donna Fitch, SCMA Ceilidh Magazine

Words Fail!
Words nearly fail me to describe the emotion I feel when hearing Jan’s sensational voice…it is just so well done.
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